Connected Nation, Funds For Learning Launch “Connect K-12” to Help State, District Leaders Improve School Connectivity

Website, report provide key insights on school internet access across the U.S.

Bowling Green, Ky. (November 19, 2020)–Nonprofit Connected Nation (CN) announced this morning the launch of Connect K-12, a free website that provides internet speed and pricing transparency information to help schools identify broadband solutions and negotiate better deals for services—with the objective of helping schools achieve the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) school bandwidth goal of 1 Mbps per student in every school nationwide. 

The easy-to-use site, which can be found at connectk12.org, was designed to provide useful insights that can lead to informed action and includes a national dashboard that tracks state progress toward meeting the FCC’s goal. It was developed in partnership with Funds For Learning Inc. and carries forward the important work of nonprofit EducationSuperHighway, which sunset in August.

“Improving connectivity at school and in the home has become a national priority as our students and teachers navigate a world that has been so deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Emily Jordan, Vice President, Connect K-12. “Digital teaching and learning can only happen when adequate broadband is available. Connect K-12 will equip state and school district leaders with the powerful intelligence they need to identify better internet pricing and negotiate cost-effective upgrades to meet this demand. This will ultimately empower leaders to ensure digital learning opportunities are available for every student.”

In addition to the Connect K-12 website launch, CN released a report the can found here: connectk12.org/national. It examines the current state of classroom connectivity across the United States. Some highlights include:

  • 47% of districts nationwide are already meeting the 1 Mbps per student goal, representing 15.4 million students, 6,132 school districts
  • 31.9 million students do not yet have access to the bandwidth needed for digital learning to happen in every classroom, every day
  • 67% of students still need access to scalable broadband for digital learning
  • With the data available on Connect K-12, 33% of districts can be upgraded in the 2020-2021 school year, about 4,300 school districts nationwide
  • Prior to the pandemic, 81% of teachers said they “strongly agree” or “agree” they see great value in using digital learning tools
  • During the pandemic, 93% percent of teachers now report providing at least some instruction online
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“The integration of laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets into the learning process has grown at a pace that has far exceeded internet bandwidth growth within America’s schools,” said Brent Legg, CN’s Executive Vice President, Government Affairs. “In response to the pandemic, millions of devices have been purchased to enable learning everywhere, and as in-person classes eventually return, those devices will be connected to school networks and will fuel the need for greater bandwidth. Connect K-12 will provide state and school district leaders with the insights they need to meet that demand head-on so that digital learning can happen in every classroom, every day.”

As part of this work, 44 governors have committed to achieving the FCC’s 1 Mbps per student bandwidth goal in their states—including governors from both highly populated and largely rural states.

“Connection, communication, and collaboration are critical to both innovation and student success,” said Gov. David Ige (D-Hawai’i ). “Hawai’i has long been a leader in broadband access for students, with 100% of our schools having fiber access for many years. I am committed to maximizing our students’ learning opportunities and support the goal of every student having access to 1 megabit per second of bandwidth.”

A commitment from state governors, coupled with support from state legislatures, broadband providers, and state education departments, is needed to provide students and teachers with the internet connectivity they will need for the future.

“Yesterday’s broadband speeds cannot support the rapid innovation that is shaping K-12 education,” said Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Arizona). “Too many students, specifically in our rural areas and in our tribal nations, are missing out. This is why Arizona is working to increase access to reliable, affordable broadband at the level of 1 Mbps per student to harness digital learning in the classroom and gain the skills necessary to succeed in today’s technology-driven economy.”

The new site is now live at connectk12.org today. School district leaders can compare their current internet pricing and speeds with those of nearby districts by simply searching for their district name on the home page. State leaders can see how their state compares with others by accessing the site’s national dashboard, or they can view their own state-specific snapshot by clicking on the state tab at the top of the home page. State snapshots are also available as downloadable PDFs.

Connect K-12 currently reflects school connectivity data for E-rate funding year 2020 and will be updated next year after the close of the funding year 2021 filing window.

Questions about navigating the site or regarding the site’s data may be directed to Emily Jordan at ejordan@connectednation.hatfield.marketing or support@connectk12.org.  

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jessica Denson, Communications Director
Connected Nation
(502) 341-2024

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About Connected Nation: Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.

Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information please visit connectednation.hatfield.marketing and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.

About Funds For Learning: Funds For Learning® is a professional firm specializing in the federal E-rate funding program. Its mission is to provide high-quality consulting and support services for the needs of E-rate program participants, including preparing and submitting paperwork, and helping clients to understand and maintain compliance with E-rate rules and regulations. Proudly serving schools and libraries since 1997. For more information please visit https://www.fundsforlearning.com/.

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