Articles tagged with schools

School boards encourage FCC to modernize E-rate program

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel issued the following statement on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Public Notice on the Wireline Competition Bureau Seeks Focused Comment on E-rate Modernization to modernize the E-rate program and increase the quality and speed of Internet connectivity in our nation’s schools.

For nearly twenty years, NSBA has supported the goals of the E-rate program to increase Internet connectivity and provide digital learning opportunities to underserved students, schools and libraries. NSBA also is steadfast in its support for the ConnectED initiative and Broadband deployment in education, so that students are prepared to be competitive and successful in the global marketplace.

To assure that these goals can be met, NSBA renews its call for the FCC to address the funding needs of schools and libraries. Other than inflationary adjustments authorized in 2010, there has been no increase in the $2.25 billion cap on E-rate resources since the program’s inception in 1996, and demand has consistently been much higher than the available funding. The current demand is $4.9 billion.

Modernization of E-rate is essential to increasing the quality and speed of Internet connectivity and to close technology gaps that remain, and NSBA will carefully consider the FCC proposal to explore a new future for the program. However, NSBA cautions against redirecting static resources without regard to the impact on the beneficiaries of the E-rate program – high-need students, schools and libraries.

E-rate has been successful largely because it allows school boards and other district and school leaders to make decisions based on their students’ and local communities’ needs. The Public Notice acknowledges NSBA’s position that local decision making has been one of the hallmarks of the E-rate program. Any changes to the E-rate program should not undermine innovation by local school districts through mandates and should maximize local flexibility.

Alexis Rice|March 6th, 2014|Categories: Educational Technology, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs|Tags: , , , , , |

School boards welcome improvement of federal E-Rate program for schools

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) applauds recent initiatives to strengthen the E-Rate program, including the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) approved today by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The NPRM represents the most comprehensive call for modernization of the School and Libraries Universal Service Support mechanism (E-Rate) program since it was enacted in 1996, and calls for comments on all aspects of the program, including funding and resources, equitable distribution of funds, shifting prioritizes to increase access to high speed broadband, increasing cost effectiveness and transparency, and streamlining administration of the program.

The NPRM caps off a week that included a hearing on E-Rate modernization in the Senate Commerce Committee, and a plan proposed by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai.

“E-Rate is a vital source of assistance for high-need schools in maintaining Internet connectivity, enhancing digital learning opportunities and helping school districts set and meet 21st Century technology goals,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “NSBA welcomes this opportunity to energize the process of updating E-Rate and meeting the needs of students and schools. To assure that E-Rate is successful, it is important to provide adequate resources to schools. Requests for assistance by high need schools and libraries are more than double the current resources in the E-rate program.”

Gentzel continued, “NSBA supports efforts to ensure efficient operation and integrity of E-Rate, increase the quality and speed of connectivity in our nation’s schools, and address the technology gaps that remain.”

The Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, commonly known as E-Rate, is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the FCC, and provides discounts to assist most schools and libraries in the U.S. to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. Since 1998, the first year of E-Rate, the percent of public school instructional classrooms with Internet access has climbed from 51 percent to 94 percent, helped to a great extent by E-Rate.

In Funding Year 2012, E-Rate provided $2.2 billion in discounts for Internet access, telecommunications, internal connections and basic maintenance to more than 36,000 high-need school, school district, library and consortia applicants.

In June 2013, NSBA praised President Barack Obama’s new initiative, ConnectED, to connect 99 percent of America’s students to the Internet through high-speed broadband and high-speed wireless within 5 years. Obama’s plan called on the FCC to modernize and leverage its existing E-Rate program to meet that goal and to get Internet connectivity and educational technology into classrooms, and into the hands of teachers trained on its advantages.

Alexis Rice|July 19th, 2013|Categories: Educational Technology|Tags: , , , |

School boards pleased with Obama’s plan to improve schools’ Internet access

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) praised President Barack Obama’s new initiative, ConnectED, to connect 99 percent of America’s students to the Internet through high-speed broadband and high-speed wireless within 5 years.

“Broadband has an important role to play in education, from digital learning resources to professional development for teachers, remote instruction, and data-driven decision-making,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “Increasing high speed Internet connectivity is vital to provide 21st century skills and prepare students and communities to be competitive in a global economy.”

Obama’s plan calls on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to modernize and leverage its existing E-Rate program to meet that goal and to get Internet connectivity and educational technology into classrooms, and into the hands of teachers trained on its advantages.

“To assure that ConnectED is successful, it is important to provide adequate resources to schools,” added Gentzel. “Requests for assistance by high need schools and libraries are more than double the current resources in the E-rate program.”

Gentzel concluded, “High speed Internet connectivity is vital for bringing new learning opportunities in rural areas. We must increase the quality and speed of connectivity in all our nation’s schools and address the technology gaps that remain.”

Alexis Rice|June 6th, 2013|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Educational Technology, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , , , |

Principals’ impact is greatest at struggling schools, Center for Public Education report says

Principals are second only to teachers in their impact on students, and this impact is greatest at elementary schools and at high-poverty, high-minority schools, according to The Principal Perspective, a new report from the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Center for Public Education (Center).

However, the report suggests that the very schools that need high-quality principals the most – those same high-poverty, high-minority schools — have a more difficult time finding them, with experienced principals typically moving after a few years to easier-to-manage schools. According to one study of a large urban district, a principal’s second or third school typically enrolled 89 percent fewer poor and minority students than their first one.

“Research clearly shows that principals are a key ingredient in the performance of their school, especially if that school enrolls a large number of low-performing and/or poor and minority students,” said Jim Hull, senior policy analyst at the Center. “Unfortunately, challenging schools are more likely to be led by less experienced and less effective principals even though principals have a greater impact on these schools than on less advantaged schools.”

Principal turnover adversely affects all schools, the report said. But this impact is greatest at the most challenging schools, the report said.

“In these schools, the new principal is more likely to have less experience and be less effective than a new principal at a less challenging school, often resulting in a longer, more pronounced slowdown of achievement gains,” the report said.

Among the qualities that the report says characterize effective principals are: having more than three years of overall experience and at least three years’ experience at that school; having a clear sense of instructional goals; and having shared leadership responsibilities, rather than simply delegating paperwork.

Because of the important role that principals play and the impact they have on learning, school board members need to ask many questions about how they are hired, managed, and evaluated, the report said.

“A school principal is now more than a head disciplinarian or a glorified schedule-maker. The principal of today’s school is a leader,” Hull notes. “While teachers may have the primary influence on student achievement, individual teachers cannot do it alone. An effective principal is needed to maximize teachers’ impact as well as the school’s effectiveness as a whole. School boards, educators and policymakers who focus on supporting the principal’s role as instructional leader will be supporting what’s best for students as well.”

The report is available on the Center’s website. Additionally, check out more of Hull’s analysis on principle effectiveness on the Center’s The EDifier blog.

Lawrence Hardy|April 11th, 2012|Categories: Center for Public Education, Student Achievement, Teachers, Urban Schools|Tags: , , , , , |
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