Editor's Note (The View From Here)
It's Never Enough
- By Jerry Enderle
- October 1st, 2017
“It’s never enough.” Most of us have thought this, and even voiced it in frustration at some point when we were feeling overwhelmed. But once in a while it is simply a fact.
In mid-September, the EducationSuperHighway, a national non-profit focused on upgrading the Internet access in every public-school classroom in the U.S., released its “2017 State of the States” report. Since they began publishing annual reports in 2014, the number of U.S. students in K-12 public schools who have access to high-speed Internet at school has increased by 5.1 million — to more than 39 million. They also report that 94 percent of school districts nationwide now meet the minimum 100-kilobits-per-second (kbps)-per-student goal set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2014. So, overall, 39.2 million students, 2.6 million teachers, and 74,000 schools are now achieving the minimum connectivity goal that gives students equal access to digital learning opportunities. That sounds pretty good, right?
But, the fact is, it is not enough. Around 6.5 million students are still without access to high-speed Internet — a divide that is particularly wide in the 1,587 rural K-12 schools that don’t yet have the infrastructure necessary to provide this high-speed access, which in other parts of the country has revolutionized the way teachers teach and students learn.
According to Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway, the governors and state leaders across the country have played a crucial role in bringing high-speed learning opportunities to every classroom. In fact, he says that 46 governors have committed to upgrading access in their state’s public schools. Many have taken advantage of nearly $200 million in state matching funds for special construction that can help connect the hardest-to-reach-schools.
As of this report, eight states have successfully connected 100 percent of their schools to high-speed learning opportunities, opening a new chapter for each and every student.
So, in this case, “It’s never enough” may better serve as a mission statement. If we are to accomplish the goal of providing all students in the U.S. with high-speed Internet access by 2020, it is going to take a concerted effort. That is certainly a worthwhile cause.
(You can read the full report at stateofthestates.educationsuperhighway.org.)
This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of School Planning & Management.