E-rate programs–successes and failures

nbruce writes “Grab a USAToday (June 9) for some reasonably in-depth stories about the government’s funding, beginning with the “Gore-tax” back in 1996, to wire schools for the internet. Alaska is the poster child for funds well used and Puerto Rico is the example of pouring money into a hole in the water.

We all pay for this ($2.25 billion a year) through phone taxes, and about 90% of classrooms are now wired. Lawmakers and investigators say the program is riddled with “waste, mismanagement and fraud.”

There seems to be enough blame to go around–greedy schools, greedy vendors, bad oversight by Congress, poor record keeping, no competitive bidding, no safe guards against waste, and extremely complicated application process. It comes as no surprise that the “solution” is a larger bureaucracy and more paperwork. I read it in paper, but here is a link to the full page story on 1A.