E-rate/Schools and Libraries Program
The sudden shift to remote learning has exposed cracks in today's digital teaching strategies, as parents and teachers struggle with the challenges of recreating the classroom experience online. Demand for ed tech services has surged, as has interest in training for teachers to work online. To prepare for the fall, school districts should vet and limit which products they use, says Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.
The Universal Service Administrative Company’s estimate of demand for the Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism discounts (also known as the E-rate) for Funding Year (FY) 2020 is $2.91 billion, of which $1.74 billion is for Category 1 services (mainly broadband internet access service) and $1.17 billion is for Category 2 services (mainly internal connections).
On April 30, the SHLB Coalition partnered with CoSN, Funds For Learning, and SETDA to share the funding and policy actions necessary to connect students, teachers, and library patrons. Schools have either closed or shifted to online learning to mitigate further spread of COVID-19. According to analysis from Funds For Learning, at least 7.15 million U.S. households are unable to show up for class because they lack broadband access at home.
This report examines the ability of K-12 students in California to engage in distance learning based on the availability of an internet-connected computer at home.
On March 19, 2020, Sens Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to urge the FCC to take action to ensure that all K-12 students in Minnesota have access to high-speed internet so they can continue their education while schools are closed in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Senators Plan to Introduce Legislation to Direct $4 Billion in E-Rate Funds to Close Growing Learning Gap in Coronavirus Pandemic
Sens Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) announced that they plan to increase their request in upcoming legislation aimed at ensuring all K-12 students have adequate home internet connectivity and devices during the coronavirus pandemic. The senators previously announced their intention to introduce the Senate companion to legislation, the Emergency Educational Connections Act, recently introduced by Rep Grace Meng (D-NY) in the House.
Off‐Campus Internet Connectivity Needs of K‐12 School Students and Public Library Patrons in the United States During COVID‐19 Pandemic
A report that summarizes the need to connect millions of K‐12 students to the Internet from their home because they lack adequate internet access. These students cannot attend school, submit homework, or take tests online. An estimated $7.5 billion is required to provide these students with a secure and reliable network connection and connected learning device. Funds For Learning estimates that a total of $5.25 billion in E-rate discounts would be required, and the remaining $2.29 billion would be paid by schools and libraries with funding from other sources.
The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition believes the “Emergency Educational Connections Act of 2020” (H.R. 6563), introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), is extremely important to help students engage in online learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation will provide $2 billion in emergency supplemental funding for the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program to fund broadband connections and devices for the millions of students that do not have broadband at home.
Confronting the unprecedented challenge of lengthy school closures because of coronavirus, the nation’s roughly 13,000 public school districts are scrambling to cope. Almost no district was truly ready to plunge into remote learning full time and with no end in sight. There is no one-size-fits-all remedy and no must-have suite of digital learning tools. Leaders have largely had to find their own way, spurring a hodgepodge of local innovations.