Over the past several months, ISTE has been leading the way in developing recommendations to modernize and
increase funding for the E-Rate program, and
we’ve engaged ISTE members’ help. We listened
to your recommendations about how to improve
the program and have incorporated your ideas
and suggestions in our comments to the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC). In the fall,
we also submitted hundreds of ISTE members’ E-Rate comments to the FCC and highlighted your
E-Rate stories in ISTE’s comments and blog posts.
All the while, ISTE continues to advocate directly
to the FCC and the Obama administration to provide high-speed broadband to all U.S. students.
I know that for many ISTE members, E-Rate
is a new term. But regardless of how familiar you
are with the program, you are likely well aware
that a school’s network is vital to delivering
high-quality digital learning. Fast and reliable
networks are necessary for student collaboration
and communication, blended learning, data-driven decision making, parent communication,
and so much more. Because educators, students,
and parents now expect a more seamless digital
learning environment, we must upgrade our
school and district networks to meet these new
The E-Rate program has not received a significant funding increase since it was established in
1996. Think about the changes in your school’s
internet access and broadband needs over the
past 18 years. Has much changed? I’m sure
that your answer to this question is a resound-
ing “Yes!” The E-Rate program helps to fund
the upgrades necessary to keep pace with these
changes, and that is why it is so important for
our students’ future success.
ISTE filed its initial comments ( goo.gl/
9ad0Ux) with the FCC as a member of the
Education and Library Networks Coalition
(EdLINC), an organization composed of 16 leading public and private education associations as
well as the American Library Association. The
comments focused on nine key areas that were
informed by ISTE members’ input:
1. The E-Rate program is extremely successful.
2. E-Rate’s funding is inadequate to meet
current and future demand.
3. We support establishing national bandwidth goals.
4. Connectivity metrics are the only appropriate way to measure E-Rate’s success.
5. There is no need to change E-Rate’s
definition of educational purposes.
6. We have deep concerns about instituting
a per-pupil formula.
7. We support streamlining the application
process and making E-Rate more efficient.
8. Districtwide E-Rate applications should
be supported but not mandated.
9. The ramifications of eliminating priority
distinctions could be harmful.
ISTE will continue sharing the latest information on E-Rate and highlighting our members’
work in support of the program on the ISTE
Connects blog ( blog.iste.org/category/advocacy-2).
Please take a minute to read these posts, share
them with your networks, and respond to their
requests for action. Remember: Together our
Here We Come!
By Hilary Goldmann
Hilary Goldmann, ISTE’s
senior government affairs
officer, has 20 years of
experience in public
policy and advocacy.
Her column appears in
every other issue of L&L.