In Collaboration with Benenson Strategy Group, LEAD Commission Finds Majority of Voters Support Putting High-Speed Internet Access in Schools and are Willing to Pay

Feb. 4, 2014 - WASHINGTON, D.C. – The bipartisan Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission today released poll results that found that voters gave the state of technology in America’s schools a mediocre “C”-grade. Perhaps reflecting their belief that our schools are not doing enough to prepare a next generation of innovators, both parents and non-parents support putting high-speed Internet access in all American public schools within the next five years and proved willing to pay for this.  

Across the political spectrum, the findings indicate that the overwhelming majority of voters – over 80 percent — are very concerned about the lack of access to basic resources and technology in public schools and the consequences of such unpreparedness as students seek to compete on a global scale. To that end, 6 in 10 voters, and 65 percent of parents, believe allowing teachers to incorporate technology to teach students the skills needed for 21st century jobs is a very important reason to expand broadband access. Strong majorities – 86 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans – support expanding broadband access even when told the program will be paid for by a temporary fee on cell phone users of roughly $4.00 a year for three years.

The complete poll findings can be viewed here.

“We understand that all American students and teachers need resources to compete in the 21st century,” said LEAD Commissioner and Co-Founder of TPG Capital Jim Coulter. “Building high speed Internet access in all American public schools offers students the keys to succeed – regardless of zip code. The LEAD Commission remains committed to the administration’s efforts to strengthen the critical infrastructure that is required to shape a successful digital learning system for our students and country.”

Yesterday the FCC announced it would double the proportion of E-Rate funds by $2 billion a year in its devotion to high-speed Internet access. And today at a White House event around this same commitment, President Obama announced that “several private American companies” will commit over a half billion dollars to help expand schools' Internet access.

“We are pleased to see the public shares our concern and support for increasing access to technology in classrooms,” said LEAD Commissioner and Founder and CEO of Common Sense Media Jim Steyer. “Technology access is not just an education issue; it is a global economic issue. We agree that more must be done to allow American teachers and students to remain globally competitive.” 

Led by Benenson Strategy Group, the nationwide poll was conducted via telephone with 800 voters from January 6-9, 2014. The margin of error was +/- 3.5 for the entire sample and +/- 6.9 for parents at the 95 percent confidence interval.

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).