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  (Source: montgomeryschoolsmd.org)
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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