Report Shows Schools, Libraries Rely on E-Rate Subsidies

Report Shows Schools, Libraries Rely on E-Rate Subsidies
By Ronald Roach

WASHINGTON

With schools and public libraries facing the toughest budget cuts in years, E-Rate (education rate) support for basic telecommunications services, Internet access and networking is essential, according to a new report from the Education and Library Networks Coalition (EdLiNC).
In EdLiNC’s third edition report, “E-Rate: A Vision of Opportunity and Innovation,” leaders from communities, libraries and schools around the country share results of how support from the E-Rate program has brought new resources, opportunities and experiences to thousands of students, teachers, parents and community members. The report documents how the E-Rate program has helped transform America’s schools and libraries into 21st century institutions, but it also demonstrates how the E-Rate is providing much-needed support to schools and communities in today’s economy.
For example, in rural Alaska, the Kuspuk and Lower Kuskokwin school districts regard the E-Rate as integral to implementing the No Child Left Behind Act because it enables them to meet the teacher quality mandates through online professional development.
“Technology is bringing remote Eskimo villages into the 21st Century,” says Ted Berry, technology director for the Lower Kuskokwin school district.
Berry notes that E-Rate discounts have facilitated standards-based teaching by allowing school administrators and teachers to maintain districtwide student achievement records.
Interviewees also reported that E-Rate support is not just about meeting new mandates or expanding existing services; it is also about providing support to sustain necessary services. For example, the technology budget for Louisiana’s libraries was reduced due to the state’s funding shortfall and E-Rate support will allow the state to leverage resources necessary to maintain key databases.
EdLiNC’s “E-Rate: A Vision of Opportunity and Innovation” also provides an updated state-by-state listing of E-Rate discounts allocated over the past five years. The report can be accessed at .



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