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June 7, 2013

Obama Calls for High Speed Broadband at U.S. Schools

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President Obama wants to put faster broadband and high-speed wireless internet connections in nearly every school in the country. By doing so, he hopes to promote learning in the digital age and keep the U.S. competitive with other countries. This new plan, entitled ConnectED, could cost several billion dollars, but administration officials say the benefits could be even larger.

To help promote the benefits of ConnectEd, the president visited a middle school in Mooresville, N.C. this week where every student from high school to kindergarten has access to computers and teachers use laptops to teach and interact with their students. Since the use of technology has been brought to the Mooresville classrooms in 2008, the district’s graduation rate has jumped ten percent, from 80 percent to above 90 percent.

Most school districts across the country already have a broadband internet connection, but many are too slow for teachers to stream video or use online education tools. The administration hopes that by promoting greater access to the internet, the president’s new program will help “transform teaching and learning in this country.”

To reduce the cost, President Obama has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to improve a program that is already in place, the E-Rate program. The E-Rate program was created in 1996 to help schools cover the cost of technology.


“I think I’m learning a lot more in fourth grade, because, if we have to have a question, it’s easier to get it from the computer than the dictionary.” –Mooresville Middle School Student

Warm up questions

1. What is the internet?

2. What helps you learn the most?

3. How might the internet be used as a classroom tool?

Discussion questions

1. Do you think that giving students faster internet connections is an important goal? Why or why not?

2. How do you use the internet to complete school assignments? How will this change as you get older?

3. What might be some negative aspects to bringing more technology into the classroom?

— Compiled by Becky Gaskill for NewsHour Extra

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