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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

ACTE Signs on to Letter Showing Support for ConnectED

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July 3, 2013

ACTE Signs on to Letter Showing Support for ConnectED

By: Robert LaBounty

ACTE, along with various other organizations, recently sent out a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voicing support for the Obama Administration’s new ConnectED initiative. They expressed concern about the 20 percent of students who graduate late or drop out entirely and the need to decrease that number in order to keep America competitive in the global marketplace. The plans would help to expand the school systems current internet capabilities, bringing student learning into the digital age. 

President Obama’s plan calls for a revamped internet network which would provide 99 percent of America’s students with high-speed broadband and wireless internet connections within five years. This would be achieved through a modernization and expansion of the existing e-Rate program; the current program that allows schools to receive discounted rates on telecommunications services and internet connections. Mignon L. Clyburn, the acting chair of the FCC, has been supportive of the president’s plan and has begun to put out a proposal that would include expanding  broadband to 99 percent of schools as well as additional changes to administrative oversight in order to ensure that funds are spent wisely.

The ConnectED initiative would provide the necessary teacher training to ensure that all educators in America are up to date on the technological demands students will face. Fast internet connections and technology savvy teachers will allow private businesses to market their newest educational innovations and applications to consortia of schools to purchase in bulk for greater savings. This would serve to increase competition between companies furthering the benefits schools could receive through the  initiative.

One of the ConnectED initiative’s biggest benefits is the impact that it would have on rural schools. Students living in these rural areas would no longer be restricted by the limits of their school districts. They would have access to everything the internet has to offer, creating more engaging classes and providing new learning resources.  A remodeled technological infrastructure would provide both rural and urban students with the opportunities they need to succeed. 

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