AASA Applauds President Obama, FCC on Proposals to Improve Technology in Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
James Minichello
703-875-0723
703-774-6953 (cell)
jminichello@aasa.org

Alexandria, Va. – Feb. 7, 2014 – Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement today in response to President Obama’s call to use existing E-Rate funds to improve Internet connectivity for schools and libraries. This statement is also in response to steps taken by the Federal Communications Commission to modernize E-Rate by changing how the program’s applications and funds are processed.

“AASA applauds these proposals by the President and the FCC because they show bold leadership in an area critical to education: technology and digital learning. We urge the administration and the FCC to take additional steps to ensure permanent funding to E-Rate by raising the program’s funding cap.

“The infusion of $2 billion of existing but unused current E-Rate dollars is an important first step in a comprehensive approach to modernizing the program. The focus of the Obama Administration’s energy in this critical area comes at an important time. These early steps—by the White House and FCC—are just the first steps in a process that brings both long-term programmatic changes and a permanent funding increase.

“According to AASA research, education technology and related infrastructure and professional development were areas that were hardest hit during the recession and through the damaging cuts of sequestration. These delays in investments occurred when superintendents and the school systems they served were faced with unprecedented demand for technology and connectivity, including devices, virtual learning and online testing.

“E-Rate currently represents the sole source of dedicated federal education technology funding and played a pivotal role in transforming classrooms across the nation, providing basic Internet connectivity to millions of students over its 18-year history. Demand for the program more than doubles the available supply, meaning this hugely successful program has unmet potential to further ensure that all students aren’t just merely connected—but they’re connected to the truly transformative power of technology in learning.”

Read Dan’s blog, “Steps to Modernize E-Rate and Improve Technology in Education.”

The following statement is from Noelle Ellerson,
AASA Associate Executive Director, Policy and Advocacy

“AASA stands ready to work with both the White House and the FCC to modernize the E-Rate program. We are absolutely committed to the belief that serious efforts along these lines will be two-fold—focused on programmatic and structural changes as well as permanently increasing the program’s funding level. Programmatic changes without funding will derail the long-term success of the program. Funding without policy changes is a lost opportunity and poor investment. The two go hand-in-hand.”

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About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 10,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org. Follow AASA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AASApage. Information on AASA Children’s Programs on Twitter @AASATotalChild.