Rating the E-rate

Education Week has a nice Story on how the E-rate is working for us folks in the US. The say the program earns praise for overall effort, but lower marks for implementation.

\"The main theme I hear from educators and librarians is that this program has made possible the use of technology that otherwise would have been years away in classrooms,\" says Kate L. Moore, the president of the Schools and Libraries Division of the Washington-based Universal Service Administrative Co., or USAC, the nonprofit agency that manages the program for the Federal Communications Commission. \"It is allowing these organizations to leapfrog into the realm of advanced technology and learning.\"

MOre from EdWeek


But if the E- rate is now speeding many schools toward new technologies for learning, it\'s been a difficult journey for the nerve-racked passengers: the school officials who have had to learn the program\'s intricate rules, react to a seemingly inexplicable series of changes on the fly, and then wait, and wait some more, for crucial decisions to be made.

Even ardent supporters bemoan the persistent problems in the program.

E-rate is now speeding many schools toward new technologies for learning, but it\'s been a difficult journey for the nerve-racked passengers.

\"I would certainly like it to be less cumbersome in its process,\" says Helen Soulé, the director of technology for the Mississippi Department of Education. \"And this year, it has not been able to cover as much of [schools\'] internal connections—I hate that, because I think that is important.\"
\"My sense is there\'s a bunch of stuff going wrong this year,\" says Jeff Ogden, an official at Merit Network Inc. in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a moderator of an online forum that enables local school administrators to compare notes on navigating the E-rate\'s arcane process. Merit is a nonprofit corporation, governed by Michigan\'s publicly supported universities, that promotes computer networking

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