National Coalition of Nineteen Education and Library Organizations Urges FCC to Increase E-Rate Funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

National Educators Encourage Agency to Modernize and Retain Equity of Access

Alexandria, Virginia (May 27, 2014) – Nineteen national education and library organizations sent a joint letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and O’Rielly, voicing their continued support for efforts to strengthen and modernize the E-Rate program, especially increasing the program’s annual funding cap. The education groups are drawn from the Education and Library Networks Coalition (EdLiNC), the leading advocacy coalition seeking to expand the use of educational technologies in schools and libraries, and three additional groups. EdLiNC issued the following statement today following the release of the letter:

“We are committed to improving E-Rate in a sustainable manner to ensure that this important program continues to provide our nation’s schools and libraries with the connectivity they need to ensure maximum impact on student learning. However, our schools and libraries should not have to wait for an increase in the program’s inadequate annual funding cap. We urge the FCC, which oversees E-Rate and is engaged in modernizing the program, to act now.

“EdLiNC, representing 14,000 public school districts, 100,000 public schools, 31,000 private schools and more than 16,400 public libraries, focused its message on two key concepts:

  • The need for a permanent, sustainable increase in funding for the E-Rate program; and
  • The critical nature of ensuring equitable access to support for internal connections for all applicants.

“In our letter, we called upon the FCC to take up the funding question in its first order on E-Rate. The coalition believes if the Commission is serious about ensuring that all schools and libraries have sufficient high-capacity bandwidth – to make use of digital tools, content, services and assessments – it cannot wait until some indeterminate future date for additional E-Rate support. We urge the Commission to fashion an E-Rate order that addresses the need for more funds immediately along with measured structural changes.’

“E-Rate represents the single-largest source of education technology funding for our nation’s schools and libraries, and the students and communities they serve. In just a few months, a new school year will be upon us. As we try to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, it is critical that we enhance and expand digital-based learning, especially in our most challenged schools and libraries.

“EdLiNC will continue to work with the FCC to modernize the E-Rate program.”

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EdLiNC is comprised of the following organizations:

AASA, The School Superintendents Association
American Federation of Teachers
American Library Association
Association of Education Service Agencies
Consortium for School Networking
International Society for Technology in Education
National Association of Elementary School Principals
National Association of Federally Impacted Schools
National Association of Independent Schools
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Catholic Educational Association
National Education Association
National Rural Education Association
National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition
National School Boards Association
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Additional Signatories:

Learning First Alliance
Organizations Concerned with Rural Education
Rural School and Community Trust

For more information, media only:

Jodie Pozo-Olano, International Society for Technology in Education, 804-986-6911, jpozoolano@iste.org

James Minichello, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, jminichello@aasa.org, 703-774-6953

Jon Bernstein, Cochair, EdLiNC, 202-263-2572, jbernstein@jbernsteinstrategy.com