Rural schools are often charged outrageous rates for lousy Internet service, an ongoing equity challenge that has drawn increasing attention from Washington.
Correspondent John Tulenko visited the Calhoun County school district, which was paying $9,275 in monthly bills for the slowest Internet service in all of Mississippi. For years, the district’s 2,500 students haven’t been able to do Internet research in school. Computerized state testing last year was a disaster. And the district long ago gave up on buying the new digital technologies that are transforming schools just an hour away.
But all that could be about to change, thanks to the Federal Communications Commission’s recent overhaul of the E-rate program. Education Week talks with students, educators, and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to gauge whether billions of new federal dollars and new rule changes to the program can finally help bring affordable high-speed Internet access to America’s rural schools.
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