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The ConnectED initiative will provide high-speed broadband and stable Wi-Fi networks, which will be no less than 100Mbps with a target of 1Gbps

The White House is looking to expand and strengthen broadband in K-12 schools across the U.S. in hopes of bringing a greater learning environment to 99 percent of American students. 

The White House announced the ConnectED initiative today, which aims to upgrade connectivity, train teachers and offer new hardware/software for digital learning. 

The ConnectED initiative will provide high-speed broadband and stable Wi-Fi networks, which will be no less than 100Mbps with a target of 1Gbps. 

To make this happen, the White House said it will call on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to update the E-Rate program, which gives 20 to 90 percent discounts to institutions that meet certain standards. In a 2012 FCC report, it was found that 80 percent of E-Rate recipients didn't receive the broadband they needed, with 78 percent saying they required more bandwidth.

The White House will also used ConnectED to bring broadband to rural communities. 

Aside from upgraded connectivity, teachers will be trained in technology so that students are benefitting from the tools provided. Teachers will also receive new digital education tools that will allow for interactive demonstrations, collaboration with other educators, immediate feedback to students and more. 

Teachers and students can't access the Internet without proper hardware, so ConnectED will also build on private sector innovation by providing Internet-connected, educational devices to students and teachers. It will also invest in educational software, including apps. 

"For the better part of the 20th century the United States led the world in educational achievement and attainment," said the White House. "Through the federal E-Rate program, we pioneered connecting schools to the internet. But the United States is now falling behind, squandering that early lead. Many of our leading competitors are moving forward with aggressive investments in digital learning and technology education. In South Korea, all schools are connected to the internet with high-speed connections, all teachers are trained in digital learning, and printed textbooks will be phased out by 2016. The durability of American competitiveness will be tied to our ability to produce graduates with the skills the economy demands."

Source: The White House

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RE: Just another waste of money
By BRB29 on 6/7/2013 9:19:37 AM , Rating: 2
When the school is shut down due to power failure, it has nothing to do with the internet or computers. They send people home because it is unsafe due to poor visibility and hardly any ventilation. If it is in the summer or winter then you have even worse problems.

Power issues are extremely rare. Even the schools in the ghetto only have power issues maybe 1-3 days out of the entire year. It's usually only for an hour or less.

RE: Just another waste of money
By CaedenV on 6/7/2013 2:24:26 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you for bringing this up. School closings due to power loss have nothing to do with computers and everything to do with things like ADA, and modern construction methods which rely on at least some power in order to maintain decent temperatures in buildings. Also, it typically has to be an outage expected to last more than 2 hours before they have to close, and this goes for most government facilities, not just schools.

But when was the last time there was a sustained power outage in an area that was not coupled with massive destruction which would cause school closures anyways? Sure, the US power grid is getting old and in need of some updating, but it is still quite robust. A few years ago we had some hurricane remnants blow through my area. It caused all sorts of destruction because things are not built for such high winds out here, but even still schools and other high priority areas had power back within a week while some residential areas were without power for up to 5 weeks.
At my own home we lost power for ~2 hours because we are right on a main line... but internet was down for a month. Never realized just how much I rely on the web for just about everything from work to entertainment until then.

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