Why E-rate expansion is a must for our schools

With some districts and schools still struggling to meet bandwidth needs, keeping E-rate strong is more vital than ever

e-rate-broadbandAs a former school superintendent, and as the current head of the School Superintendents Association (AASA), I know firsthand that staying ahead of the curve when it comes to high technology isn’t easy. The digital concept is so important for our schools today. That’s why especially pleased when, recently, the Federal Communications Commission and the Universal Service and Administrative Company extended a crucial filing deadline related to the high-speed internet program in schools and libraries, commonly known as E-Rate.

The extension provides school districts, particularly rural districts, time to submit applications to secure funding and ultimately increase connectivity in their communities (the new deadline is April 16). Since its inception, the AASA has advocated for the E-rate program and the critical role it plays when it comes to the rapid and dramatic expansion of school and library connectivity.

Currently, we are working with superintendents around the nation to ensure they have the proper planning and professional development in place to provide our students with digital learning.

As the roles of connectivity and technology within our schools continue to evolve, modernizing the E-rate program is a huge priority for us. In December, the program took a bold step forward when the FCC voted to raise the E-rate funding cap by $1.5 billion. An investment of this magnitude has a huge benefit for children, teachers and, ultimately, American competitiveness. It’s significant and represents strong, sound policy. What’s more, it demonstrates the FCC’s ongoing commitment to the core values of the E-rate program, including access to 21st century learning opportunities, equity and supporting—in a sustainable way—the E-rate program’s transition from mere connectivity to sufficient capacity.

Next page: How AASA is making a difference

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