Former Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Michael J. Copps was awarded the Consortium for School Networking’s annual Award for Excellence in Public Service, headlining recipients at an awards luncheon here in Washington at the Consortium for School Networking’s annual conference.
Harold Rowe, the chief technology officer of the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in suburban Houston, won CoSN’s Withrow CTO award. The Katy Independent School District, also just outside Houston, won the CoSN Team Award in part for their transition to a district-wide bring your own device technology model.
Copps served as a commissioner for the FCC for 10 years before resigning effective at the end of 2011. He was one of the most outspoken advocates for the FCC’s E-Rate program, which since midway through the Clinton administration has helped subsidize internet connectivity-related purchases at schools and libraries nationwide.
“To me, it’s my favorite government program,” said Copps, speaking at his award acceptance. “I’ve said that again and again and again.”
But while Copps indicated his continuing support for the program, noting his desire to see the $2.25 billion program’s funding increased, he said what happens at the grassroots level is more important for the future of educational technology than any government program. He implored conference-goers to spread that message.
“I think that’s as important a thing as you will do,” Copps said. “I’ve been in this town for over 40 years now. And I’ve always been convinced that, while you can have some change from the top down, the real systemic change, the good stuff, comes from the ground up.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.