To the Editor:
The White House calls it ConnectED, a clever name for a critical initiative (“Obama Plan Champions E-Rate Fixes,” June 12, 2013). Unveiled by President Barack Obama in June, ConnectED aims to connect 99 percent of America’s students with high-speed Internet within five years.
Not quite a moon shot, but still a challenge. Why connect students to high-speed Internet? Not because it is easy, but because it’s necessary.
According to the White House, fewer than 20 percent of America’s schools have adequate Internet connections. With cash-strapped districts scrutinizing every budget item, broadband rarely makes the cut.
Given how important the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are to the future of our country’s economic well-being, ensuring every student is able to benefit from a high-speed Internet connection must be a national priority.
As part of President Obama’s directive, not only must the Federal Communications Commission modernize and scale up existing programs to provide broadband access to schools, but businesses and local governments also must do their part to help hit the 99 percent mark.
To be successful, the program needs massive investment. Not just in dollars—although that’s necessary—but in focus and energy.
Today’s technology—innovative displays, remote learning, and mobile applications available on laptops and tablets—is revolutionizing education. Students need access to that technology.
President Obama has fired the starter pistol. Now it’s time for all of us to invest time and resources into making it happen.
Chief Executive Officer
On Campus Media
Los Angeles, Calif.
A version of this article appeared in the August 07, 2013 edition of Education Week as High-Speed Internet in Schools ‘Must Be a National Priority’