AASA Supports ISTE #RaiseTheERateCap Campaign

 Permanent link   All Posts

The FCC is expected to release its final order (the proposed changes for the E-Rate program, which would be voted on July 11 and could impact the 2014-15 school year) tomorrow. The modernization of E-Rate is a priority for AASA, and we (along with ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education) are concerned with how little attention the FCC seems to be giving to the very critical need of raising the E-Rate funding cap.

As we've written before, E-Rate is a long-running successful program. Efforts to modernize are past-due and must remain focused on ensuring that limited E-Rate dollars are allocated to the neediest of districts and that the programmatic changes to the program are sustainable. AASA has long advocated for a two-fold approach to modernization: programmatic changes and a raising of the E-Rate funding cap.

At this point, E-Rate beneficiaries are using 1998 E-Rate dollars to meet 2014 eduction connectivity needs. I can think of no other area in the educational arena that has been more transformed in the last 16 years than education technology. From the demand for connectivity and ever-increasing number of devices in schools to the infusion of technology into all aspects of teaching, learning and professional development, E-Rate played a critical role in supporting the expanded connectivity needs. The current reality is one where the virtually unchanged funding levels mean schools and libraries are meeting 2014 demands with 1998 dollars.

Back to the point: programmatic/structural changes without a permanent raising of the cap threatens to derail the E-Rate program, undermining nearly two decades of growth and success by putting the program on an unsustainable path. Conversely, a funding increase without programmatic changes is a poor investment and a missed opportunity.

To the extent that discussions with the FCC have yet to demonstrate a commitment to a permanent increase in resources to support the significant programmatic changes they propose, our friends at ISTE have launched a #RaiseTheERateCap social media campaign, an AASA is proud to support and participate in the campaign.

From the ISTE Blog: Launching #RaiseTheErateCap

After a year of gathering public input and performing its own research and analysis about E-Rate, it looks like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may take action on E-Rate modernization this summer. Unfortunately, we understand that the FCC is planning to make only structural changes to the program without increasing the amount of funding available. For all of us who rely so heavily on E-Rate support, we simply cannot stand silently. We must speak out loudly now and tell the FCC that E-Rate modernization must begin with more funding.

Starting today (June 19), ISTE is launching a new campaign. We encourage all #ISTE members, educators, parents and students across the country to tweet directly to @FCC using this new hashtag #RaiseTheErateCap and tell the FCC how important broadband and digital learning is for your students.

ISTE and ISTE members have been leading voices in the E-Rate modernization process every step of the way. This FCC order is a critically important next step, and ISTE and its members must continue to make our voices heard. Below are some sample tweets. However, we encourage you to create and tweet your own. Make sure to use #RaiseTheErateCap and share this hashtag with your colleagues.

  • @FCC I’m an educator #RaiseTheErateCap
  • @FCC I’m a student and I need high speed broadband #RaiseTheErateCap
  • @FCC #Erate keeps our students connected #RaiseTheErateCap
  • @FCC Our students can’t wait #RaiseTheErateCap before school year 2014-15
  • @FCC #Erate has been essentially level funded since 1998, costs for schools have increased. #RaiseTheErateCap
  • @FCC Broadband keeps students competitive #RaiseTheErateCap before school year 2014-15
  • @FCC I’m a parent. I expect a 21st century learning environment for my child #RaiseTheErateCap

At ISTE 2014 we will be circulating a petition urging the FCC to increase funding for the E-Rate program. If you are attending ISTE 2014, please stop by the ISTE Advocacy Network Booth Building B, Level 4, near room A410 to sign the E-Rate petition.


Leave a comment
Name *
Email *