The Education Library Networks Coalition—which includes the American Library Association and the International Society for Technology in Education—is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to double the funding for E-rate, according to EdLiNC’s co-chair Jon Bernstein. The coalition also asks that the E-rate program offer more “scalable” goals for local entities, with limited national mandates.
The American Library Association on Monday asked the Federal Communications Commission to accelerate the goals of E-rate, the program that provides discounted Internet access and telecommunications services to U.S. schools and libraries. ALA’s statement specifically calls for faster deployment of high-capacity broadband and new strategic investments in infrastructure, as well as program changes to save costs and streamline the process so that more schools and libraries can participate in the program.
Linda Lord, Maine’s state librarian, represented the nation’s 16,400 public libraries Wednesday in her call to Congress to provide a “proactive vision for meeting the educational and learning needs of our communities for the next 15 years and beyond.” Her testimony—at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation—also detailed the success of the E-rate program in helping serve more than 30 million people every week.
The White House’s announcement last week of the ConnectEd initiative, President Obama’s urging of the FCC to overhaul the E-Rate program, is only the first step in what must be a larger, committed effort to fully fund technology in our nation’s schools and libraries, the International Society for Technology in Education says.
The White House’s announcement Thursday that it is urging the FCC to overhaul E-Rate—the program that provides discounted Internet access and telecommunications services to U.S. schools and libraries—is an important and nearly unprecedented step forward in closing the digital divide, the American Library Association tells SLJ.