Director of Strategic Initiatives and Communications
February 23, 2011 (Washington, D.C.) – The National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA), a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, recently released the National Broadband Map, (http://www.broadbandmap.gov/) the first searchable map of broadband availability across the country. The findings are particularly relevant for federal and state policymakers and point out that while virtually all schools are connected to the Internet, the speed of connection is woefully inadequate.
According to the press release from the NTIA, …”based on studies by state education technology directors, most schools need a connection of 50 to 100 Mbps per 1,000 students. The data show that two-thirds of surveyed schools subscribe to speeds lower than 25 Mbps, however.”
“Ensuring high-speed broadband access for all students is a critical national issue and foundational to realizing our education reform and improvement goals,“ noted Douglas Levin, Executive Director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), the organization cited in the press release.
“And, high-speed broadband access is particularly important in rural and remote areas where opportunities for a wider variety of courses, especially in science, are fewer. Students everywhere need access to rich educational tools and resources; teachers need access for professional development and to engage in professional learning communities; administrators need high-speed broadband access to conduct online assessments and to access data for effective decision-making. Simply put, without continued and direct investment in broadband and educational technologies, education reformers are asking schools to improve, innovate and compete with one hand tied behind their back.
“We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to ensure that all students have access to the tools and information necessary so that they can graduate fully prepared for college and 21st century careers,” concluded Levin.
About the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA): Founded in 2001, SETDA is the national member association that represents the interests of the educational technology leadership of state and territorial education agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. SETDA members work collectively and in public-private partnerships to ensure that meaningful technology innovations with broad potential for systemic improvements and cost-savings in teaching, learning and leadership are brought to scale. For more information, please visit www.setda.org.