America’s schools need an upgrade. We must leverage technology to transform education and prepare our youth for the knowledge economy. Last summer, President Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to modernize the E-rate program to connect 99% of America’s students to high-speed broadband and ubiquitous Wi-Fi. Today, America’s CEOs call on you to ensure that the funding is available to upgrade K-12 school Internet infrastructure for digital learning.
Today, America’s CEOs call on [the FCC] to ensure that the funding is available to upgrade K-12 school Internet infrastructure for digital learning.
Scarcely a business exists today that has not been transformed by the Internet. It has changed how we create and deliver our products, find our customers, and service their needs. The Internet has also altered the very nature of work and the skills individuals need to be competitive in the knowledge economy. If a business does not embrace technology and the Internet, that business will be unable to compete in the global economy. Likewise, if our schools do not embrace technology and the Internet, our children will be unable to compete in the global economy.
America’s businesses need a workforce that is prepared for the knowledge economy. We need schools that teach our students the 21st century skills that are the foundation of a competitive workforce and whose graduates are college and career ready. In an era of scarce resources and increasing complexity in the classroom, digital learning represents our country’s best hope to transform its K-12 education system to meet these goals. America cannot afford to stand by while our competitors around the world invest in the future of education and a workforce that is superior to our own.
We need schools that teach our students the 21st century skills that are the foundation of a competitive workforce and whose graduates are college and career ready.
The foundation of digital learning is robust Internet infrastructure. Unfortunately, 72% of our schools and more than 40 million students do not have access to the connectivity and equipment they need.1 To ensure that every student has an equal opportunity to participate in the knowledge economy, we must connect our schools to fiber and deploy ubiquitous wireless networks to all of our classrooms.
The E-rate program has the resources to make this investment. The FCC must act boldly to modernize the E-rate program to provide the capital needed to upgrade our K-12 broadband connectivity and Wi-Fi infrastructure within the next five years. The FCC must also ensure that E-rate funding is spent effectively. In this era of scarce resources the FCC should focus E-rate spending on upgrading America’s K-12 Internet infrastructure and help schools dramatically lower the cost of bandwidth. This can be accomplished by using E-rate funds to provide the capital investment to connect our school districts to high-speed fiber networks. This is a financially sound investment that will lower bandwidth costs, enable investments in Wi-Fi upgrades, and generate tremendous returns for both our students and the American taxpayer.
The FCC must act boldly to modernize the E-rate program to provide the capital needed to upgrade our K-12 broadband connectivity and Wi-Fi infrastructure within the next five years.
We are grateful for the FCC’s attention to this critical issue and stand ready to help achieve this important mission for America’s future.
Cc: Commissioner Clyburn, Commissioner O’Rielly, Commissioner Pai, and Commissioner Rosenworcel
1 Source: EducationSuperHighway National SchoolSpeedTest, 2013