BIPARTISAN LEAD COMMISSION COMMENDS EDUCATIONSUPERHIGHWAY FOR ITS NEW REPORT ON E-RATE SPENDING AND HIGH-SPEED INTERNET ACCESS

APRIL 14, 2014 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – The bipartisan Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission praised EducationSuperHighway for its recently released analysis of E-Rate spending that offers key insights for modernizing and expanding the program to provide schools and libraries with high-speed broadband in five years.

The following statement can be attributed to the LEAD Commission:

“We commend EducationSuperHighway for its extensive analysis of E-Rate spending, the state of America’s K-12 broadband infrastructure, and the disparity between wealthy school districts and less affluent districts’ access to high-speed Internet.  The report illustrates the urgency of improving, modernizing and expanding the E-Rate program to achieve our goal of providing 99 percent of students across the country with high-speed broadband within the next five years.”

“The study provides critical data for evaluating the most cost effective options that provide students nationwide — regardless of zip code — with access to high-speed broadband integral to ensuring that every child has the tools needed to compete in an increasingly digital and global economy.”

According to the analysis, 40 million students currently do not have adequate access to high-speed broadband. Moreover, while America’s wealthiest districts are twice as likely to meet the current ConnectED connectivity goals, most financially challenged schools are 30 percent less likely to meet the current goals. The research also reveals that rural schools are twice as likely to be without access to high-speed fiber networks.

“We are proud to be a part of the growing momentum for an E-Rate overhaul, which has been supported by business executives and also bipartisan government leaders at all levels. The LEAD Commission looks forward to working with policymakers, educators and business leaders to implement needed reforms.”

The analysis was led by EducationSuperHighway, over an eight month period in which they collected, coded, and analyzed over $350 million in 2013 E-rate funding requests from 1,044 school districts in 45 states representing over 11,000 schools and 6 million students.

About LEAD Commission

Answering a challenge from the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Education, the Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission was established to determine how technology can help transform education in America. The Commission is co-chaired by Lee Bollinger (President of Columbia University), Jim Coulter (Co-Founder of TPG Capital), Margaret Spellings (Former Secretary of Education) and Jim Steyer (Founder and CEO of Common Sense Media).