Funds For Learning Makes Case for E-rate Reform Action

Funds For Learning® briefed the media this week on President Obama’s ConnectED initiative and the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent E-rate Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). John D. Harrington, CEO of Funds For Learning, and Dr. Sheryl Abshire, CTO of Calcasieu Parish Public Schools, analyzed projected costs associated with ConnectED and explained how a modernized E-rate program is essential for schools’ success.

Through the ConnectED initiative, Mr. Obama aims to connect 99 percent of U.S. students to high-speed broadband Internet access within five years. Shortly after ConnectEd was announced, the FCC released an NPRM, which is the first step in updating the federal E-rate funding program. Although Internet and telecom funding requests have tripled, the E-rate program has not seen significant updates in more than 15 years. Under the current program, 47 percent of schools expect to lose E-rate support for Internet in 2014, increasing to 71 percent in 2015. In a 2012 survey of E-rate applicants conducted by Funds For Learning, 90 percent of respondents indicated their schools were not “ready for tomorrow.”

For more information about E-rate reform, click here. Public comments on the NPRM are due to the FCC by September 16.