Ed-Tech Policy

Trump Names Nominees to Fill Empty FCC Seats, With High Stakes for Schools

By Benjamin Herold — June 29, 2017 1 min read
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President Donald J. Trump has nominated Brendan Carr to fill the empty Republican seat on the Federal Communications Commission. Carr is a legal advisor to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and he previously worked as the commission’s general counsel and as a lawyer at a firm representing large telecommunications companies.

Earlier this month, Trump tapped Jessica Rosenworcel to fill the commission’s empty Democratic seat. Rosenworcel served on the FCC from 2012 through January of this year.

Both must be confirmed by the Senate. If approved, they will bring the commission back to full strength, right as it wrestles with a host of hot-button issues. The biggest is net neutrality; the FCC in May approved a notice of proposed rulemaking related to Chairman Pai’s proposal to roll back key regulations approved by the FCC during the administration of President Barack Obama.

“Brendan has a distinguished record of public service, having worked at the agency for over five years,” Pai said in a statement on Carr’s nomination. His “expertise on wireless policy and public safety will be a tremendous asset to the commission. I look forward to working with him in his new role and wish him all the best during the confirmation process.”

This month, Education Week also took a deep look at how the new FCC might bring change to a host of other issues—including online privacy and the E-rate program, which helps schools and libraries pay for telecommunications services—that could have big implications for K-12 schools.

Rosenworcel, who worked as a communications lawyer before joining the FCC, was a strong advocate for universal service programs such as the E-rate and the Lifeline, which helps low-income families pay for phone and broadband service.

She spent much of her last year on the commission championing the cause of closing the “homework gap” faced by students who lack the home internet service necessary to complete online assignments.

Photo: Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel takes her seat before the start of their open hearing and vote on Net Neutrality last year in Washington.--Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP-File

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.