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Press Release

Thursday, December 11, 2014

State School Chiefs Applaud FCC Action to Expand Connectivity

Contact:Melissa McGrathmelissa.mcgrath@ccsso.org202-336-7034

Washington, D.C. (December 11, 2014) - The Council of Chief State School Officers commends the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its action today to advance educational opportunity by modernizing the E-Rate program. 

Since its inception 17 years ago, E-Rate has been an essential vehicle to provide basic Internet connectivity to most U.S. schools and libraries. Through today's action to increase E-Rate resources and promote program efficiencies, the FCC is building on the progress it made earlier this year to increase the access students will have to digital technologies in the classroom.

Specifically, the FCC today approved a $1.5 billion funding increase for public schools as they work to expand broadband and Wi-Fi connectivity.

"States cannot prepare students for the future with a technology infrastructure stuck in the past," said CCSSO Executive Director Chris Minnich.

"Today's FCC action will mean more students have improved access to innovative learning materials and resources," he said. "We look forward to continuing to coordinate with the FCC as states prepare all students to succeed in the 21st century."

State chiefs also applauded Thursday's action.

"Our Future Ready Learning initiatives depend on reliable Internet connection at all of Hawaii public schools," Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said. "Additional resources to ensure broadband access increases the Department's likelihood in getting critical funding for our student learning initiatives that meet the challenges of today's digital world. We are hopeful that the FCC will keep this in mind as it continues to work towards prioritizing available funds to support Wi-Fi in schools."

Tom Torlakson, California Superintendent of Public Instruction, said, "This decision will make a huge difference in California by giving our students better access to technology and allowing them to learn in a 21st century classroom that will help prepare them for college and 21st century careers."

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The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.