Virtually all U.S. public schools are connected to the Internet, a recent federal report concludes.
In the fall of last year, 99 percent of public schools had Internet access, compared with 35 percent in 1994, according to the study issued last month by the National Center for Education Statistics. Eight-seven percent of instructional rooms in public schools had Internet access last year, compared with a mere 3 percent in 1994, the first year that the NCES began collecting such data.
The federal government has played a significant role in boosting access to the Web through the E-rate program, which provides schools with discounts on Internet access.
John Bailey, the director of the Department of Education’s office of educational technology, said Internet access is an important goal, but not the only one.
“For these connections to truly make a difference, teachers must be trained, and students must have access to quality educational content,” he said in a press release.
The study found a vast improvement in the ratio of students to instructional computers with Internet access. In 1998, the first year that ratio was measured, it was 12.1-to-1, but by last year it had decreased to 5.4-to-1.