This year’s E-rate cycle may be over, but in order to be well prepared for the next one, now is the time to start the connectivity conversation with your school district. In today’s classrooms, high-speed internet is no longer an option; it has become a necessity.

Digital learning helps students grasp concepts more fully, and not having access to the wealth of information found in online videos, apps, and curriculum puts these students at an immediate disadvantage to their connected peers. As schools increasingly turn to digital learning, all classrooms must have reliable, fast internet connections in order to prepare students sufficiently for future challenges like college and the job market.

While dramatic progress has been made in closing the connectivity gap in our public schools, there are still 6.5 million K-12 students who lack access to high-speed classroom internet, leaving them unprepared or underprepared for the world’s digital expectations.

School districts play a key role in continuing to bridge that gap, which is why planning for greater connectivity is so crucial.

3 tips for jumpstarting your district’s connectivity discussion

So how can school districts begin these connectivity conversations? Here are three questions to help start the discussions:

1. What deals have internet providers offered other school districts in your area?
Understanding your district’s broadband costs is important, whether you’re inquiring for your own reference or to convince colleagues of the importance of a network upgrade. You can find that comparative district pricing on Compare & Connect K-12, a first-of-its kind free online tool that offers unprecedented transparency into nationwide school district broadband and bandwidth-pricing data. You may find that your pricing is comparable to similarly sized districts in your area. If it is higher, however, it may be time to search for a new provider or negotiate with your current one.

(Next page: More tips for jumpstarting the connectivity discussion)

About the Author:

Evan Marxwell is a serial entrepreneur, having started companies over the last 25 years in the telecom, software, hedge fund, and consumer retailing industries. Marxwell founded the non-profit EducationSuperHighway in 2012. In its first three years, the organization helped shape President Obama’s ConnectED initiative and served as a catalyst for modernization of the Federal Communications Commission’s $3.9 billion E-rate program, earning Marxwell the 2015 Visionary of the Year award from the San Francisco Chronicle.


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