DAILY INSIGHT: Help revamp e-Rate

Steven M. Baule, CIO Advisor

A recent survey of educational IT directors spoke to the pain points for educational technology. One of the biggest issues continues to be funding. Only 17% of district IT directors feel that their budget is sufficient to meet their annual goals. This at the same time that districts are putting a great deal of money into 1:1 devices, online learning and we are all preparing for the forthcoming online Common Core State Standards testing in most states.

With only 17% of districts able to adequately fund their technology infrastructure, where are we headed? For those of us who grew up in the pre-Internet age, we remember the push for Channel One, which provided free televisions in every room as long as the students watched a couple of "appropriate" commercials every day. Are we headed towards something similar, where districts will have to accept some type of advertising simply to pay for sufficient infrastructure in order to support students and teachers with adequate technology and bandwidth?

Currently, there is a great deal of talk about providing new direction for e-Rate and revamping the process. Make sure you and your district have a voice in this process. It is important that the small, suburban, and rural districts are heard at the table as well as the large urban districts. For more information about the proposed changes see EdWeek, the Washington Post, and CoSN's site. CoSN also has a survey to collect data regarding the potential changes,

It is important to share your concerns, ideas and/or support to the FCC and your elected representatives. Make sure your superintendent and Board of Education are aware of your concerns as well.

Steven M. Baule is superintendent of North Boone CUSD 200 in Poplar Grove, IL. He has written several books on aspects of library and technology management and planning. Follow North Boone on Twitter @NBCUSD200.