-----Original Message-----
From: TechInfo [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Arthur
Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2000 11:08 AM
To: TechInfo
Subject: TechInfoEd/Telecom Reports


This morning, a statement released by FCC Chair William E. Kennard and
Commissioner Gloria Tristani said:

"We are pleased to announce that funding commitments for the third year of
the Schools and Libraries Universal Service Program known as the E-Rate will
begin this week.  This year's program will be funded at $2.25 billion the
full amount allowed under the Commission's rules.

The E-Rate is a cornerstone of the Commission's efforts to bridge the
Digital Divide. From America's largest urban areas to its most rural and
insular regions, the E-Rate is delivering telecommunications services to
schools, libraries and communities nationwide.  For example, over the first
two funding years of the program, the Detroit Public School District where
some of its students in learn in 19th Century, coal heated buildings
received nearly $40 million in E-Rate discounts to allow its 175,000
students to gain access to the Internet.  Also, the Kuspuk School District
in Aniak, Alaska, which is only accessible by air, used the over $400,000 in
discounted funding it received to wire all of its school buildings and
connect its 425 mostly Eskimo students to the Internet. Through the E-Rate
program, we have brought to life the promise of universal access to modern
communications services at the nation's schools and libraries regardless of
their wealth or geography.

Recent statistics indicate that the E-Rate is making the grade: 63% of
public school classrooms had Internet access in 1999, a 12% rise in Internet
connectivity since 1998.  Last year, 82% of the Nation's public schools and
over half of the public libraries received discounted services under the
program, with more than 53,000 urban schools and more than 25,000 rural
schools receiving E-Rate support.  This year's applications for discounts
show high demand for the program: it received over 36,000 applications
totaling $4.7 billion in discount requests.

While we are unable to fulfill all applicant requests this year, we are
certain that Year Three of the E-Rate will build on the program's
extraordinarily successful legacy and continue toward our goal of connecting
every classroom to the Internet in a way that meets the needs of the future.
The first wave of funding commitment letters, which will be mailed this
week, commits approximately $185.6 million in support to public and private
schools and libraries nationwide. Other funding waves, committing the
remaining funds, will follow each week."


This week, the Schools and Libraries Division will send out its first wave
of funding commitment letters for year 3.  This will involve around 7,400
letters.  Approximately 6,000 applicants requesting discounts for internal
connections and who qualify for discounts below 81 percent will be notified
that sufficient funds will not be available this year.  Applicants
qualifying for discounts from 81 percent to 89 percent will have to wait for
subsequent funding notices.  Notices are expected to go out on a weekly


More than twenty Senators and House Members, all of whom happen to be
Democrats, are backing bills aimed at supporting technology in education.
The Information Technology Act of 2000 (S. 2347), introduced by Sen. Kent
Conrad (N.D.), would "provide grants to partnerships to establish and carry
out information technology training programs and to provide incentives for
educators to obtain information technology certification and for other
purposes." The bill would authorize the U.S. Secretary of Education "to make
grants to appropriate organizations, to assist the organizations in awarding
bonuses to teachers who achieve information technology certification.

A second initiative (H.R. 3897 and S. 2229) would significantly increase
resources of two existing school technology programs through an amendment to
the National Digital Empowerment Act (S. 2229).  Introduced by Senator
barbara Mikulski and other, the bill is designed to "enable every child in
America to cross the digital divide by ensuring that all children have
access to technology and technology education," and "ensure that every child
is computer literate by the time the child finishes 8th grade, regardless of
the child's race, ethnicity, gender, income, geography, or disability.  The
authorization would double the resources of the Preparing Tomorrow's Teacher
to Use Technology program, which trains future K-12 teachers to use
technology in the classroom, from $75 million to $150 million.

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