Tuesday, October 24, 2017 11:34 am
Verbatim: Partnership to improve high-speed connectivity at schools
The Journal Gazette
The Indiana Department of Education issued this news release today:
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick and Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced a new partnership to give all Hoosier students access to the tools and resources needed for digital learning — with high-speed internet in every classroom. The state is partnering with EducationSuperHighway, the nation’s leading non-profit focused on upgrading internet access in every public school classroom in America, at no cost to taxpayers.
“To be ready for the jobs of the future, today’s students need the exposure and opportunity provided by quality digital learning experiences,” Gov. Holcomb said. “This partnership is the latest in our state’s ongoing commitment to extend and improve internet connectivity for every Indiana school.”
Already, 98 percent of school districts are meeting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) minimum recommended bandwidth per student to support digital learning. This is a tremendous accomplishment, but leaves nearly 38,500 Hoosier students without the bandwidth they need to take advantage of technology in the classroom. Furthermore, 30 Indiana schools still need high-speed fiber connections, 88 percent of school districts are not meeting national benchmarks for affordable broadband, and there is more than $47 million remaining in federal E-rate funding to improve Wi-Fi in Indiana schools.
“Providing easy and available online access in Indiana schools is vital to the success of our students,” said Dr. Jennifer McCormick. “When students have the right tools, learning is easier and more expansive. I am grateful for this partnership and how it will help prepare our students for life beyond high school.”
EducationSuperHighway will work with the Indiana Department of Education and local school districts to determine need — whether that’s fiber infrastructure, greater and more affordable bandwidth, or Wi-Fi upgrades. From there, the non-profit will work with school districts to help them achieve three goals: affordable broadband; wall-to-wall Wi-Fi capable of supporting 1:1 digital learning; and infrastructure to deliver at least 100 kilobits per second per student — with the ability to make regular increases that keep pace with demand and technology advances.
Additionally, this partnership will help the state best utilize the $2 million allocated in the state budget to support school internet connectivity and leverage these funds to secure more FCC E-rate match dollars to connect schools to fiber at low or no cost to schools.
“I commend Governor Holcomb and Superintendent McCormick for the progress Indiana has made in connecting its public school students and applaud their commitment to finishing the job,” said Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway. “We’re looking forward to working with state leaders, school districts, and service providers across the state to ensure that every Hoosier student has equal access to high-speed connectivity and the educational opportunity that it allows.”
EducationSuperHighway will remain engaged with IDOE and K-12 schools until all goals are achieved statewide.