ISTE Encourages Educators to Speak Up on E-rate

10/2/2013 12:00:00 AM

Fifteen Days Remain to Share E-Rate Success Stories With Federal Communications Commission

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Oct. 2, 2013 – For the next 15 days, educators will have a rare opportunity to directly impact decisions about E-rate policy in Washington, D.C. It’s an unconventional prospect given the budget impasse, which caused the government to shut down yesterday.

Due to this unfortunate turn of events, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) electronic filing system will be unavailable until normal government operations resume. To assist educators who want to file comments about the E-rate before the October 16 deadline, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) has created a simple and easy-to-complete, online form. Educators can send their comments and ISTE will assist them in making their filings when the government reopens.

“So many of our members have great stories to share about how the E-rate has supported the advancement of learning and teaching in their classrooms and we don’t want to let the budget battle curtail their opportunity to be heard,” said ISTE CEO Brian Lewis. “We’re encouraging all of our members to share their stories with the FCC and provide further evidence about the success of the program.”

ISTE has contributed to a filing submitted by EdLiNC, a broad coalition of education organizations. These comments showcase the widespread positive effects of the E-rate program. For example, Ryan Imbriale, executive director, Digital Learning for Baltimore County Public Schools, shared how the program has allowed the district to install a system-wide network for hosting “a full digital curriculum platform that all teachers, students and administrators access with reliability constantly.”

“The key points here are reliability and constancy. In today’s interconnected world, when you’re not connected, you’re falling behind,” commented Lewis.

Another example from the EdLiNC filing came from Calcasieu Parish Public Schools in Lake Charles, La., which has used E-rate support to build a network to unite its 5,000 employees, more than 33,000 students in 59 schools and 17 offices in diverse and rural communities. The district’s network is its backbone and enables to the delivery of online testing, which is essential for the Common Core State Standards, as well as internet, network storage, VOIP, video security systems and wireless access points for BYOD and 1:1 technology initiatives.

Calcasieu’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Sheryl Abshire, told the FCC, “Without E-rate, we might never have recovered from Hurricane Rita and could not have expanded our network to serve the district’s learning and technology needs.”

ISTE’s Lewis continued, “In each of these instances, local leaders made decisions about what their communities needed and, empowered by the E-rate, the result has been improved learning environments for students and better connected and more secure networks across districts.”

Educators interested in sharing their stories about the ways E-rate has improved teaching and learning in their classes or districts should visit: https://www.iste.org/about-iste/advocacy/e-rate.

About ISTE

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) is the premier membership association for educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world. Home to ISTE’s conference and expo and the widely adopted ISTE Standards for learning, teaching and leading in the digital age, the association represents more than 100,000 professionals worldwide. For more information, visit iste.org. Follow ISTE on Twitter #ISTEConnects.

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