How deep is the dirt surrounding school technology purchasing, and how far spread? Those are questions that no one seems yet able--or willing--to answer. But a parade of federal investigations is making the effort, especially when it comes to troubles with the eRate.

In recent years, the eRate--the $2.25 billion-a-year federal program that since 1998 has subsidized the purchase of telecommunications equipment and services for schools and libraries--has come under intense scrutiny. Several reports have found fault with the program, which is managed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and administered by the nonprofit...

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