What do the Interstate Highway System and Technology Infrastructure in Schools Have in Common?
November 16, 2013 02:06 pm
In Bob Wise’s latest column in the Huffington Post, he argues that the interstate highway system and technology infrastructure in schools have a thing or two in common. Namely, they’re both in need of an upgrade. As Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, sits in stand-still traffic on Labor Day weekend, he remembers back to the mid-1990s, when both infrastructures – technology and roads – went through dramatic overhauls.
In 1996, Congress granted the Federal Communications Commission authority to oversee a program called E-Rate that would provide discounted internet services to schools and libraries. At the same time, major roadways underwent an overhaul to improve efficiency to meet increased demands. As Wise notes so well, “While both the interstate highway system and technology access in schools underwent major transformations in the 1990s and neither fully meet current demand, major strides have been made to upgrade the former, while the latter is stuck in a previous century.”
Thankfully, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently considering ways to expand and modernize the E-rate program — the federal government’s program for connecting the nation’s schools and libraries to the Internet — and is accepting public comments about how to do so. The proposed changes to the E-rate program are not only the first since the E-rate’s inception in 1996, they are the best chance the nation has to provide faster Internet connections to the nation’s classrooms, schools, and libraries. With only one week left until comments are due to the FCC on September 16, everyone should take the time to visit www.99in5.org and urge the FCC to modernize and expand this critical program.
Continue reading about Wise’s stalled Labor Day weekend drive and how it relates to a critical time for technology upgrades in schools on the Huffington Post.