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Connecting Kids and Teachers in the New Digital Age

Crucial federal program puts broadband in classrooms.

Common Sense Kids Action recently filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission, urging it to maintain current efforts to bring high-quality broadband to classrooms and libraries.

E-rate, a federal program that enjoys bipartisan support, assists schools and libraries across the country in obtaining high-speed broadband and quality wireless networks. In the last few years, the program expanded its reach to bring Wi-Fi to schools, including those in rural areas where 40 percent of homes do not have access to high-speed broadband. This initiative has been a major success, with 88 percent of schools now connected.

Common Sense's recently released Zero to Eight report revealed that kids are more connected than ever, especially with mobile devices: 98 percent of kids age 8 and under live in a home with a mobile device, 42 percent own their own tablet device, and the amount of time kids spend on their mobile devices has tripled since 2011. And home isn't the only place where mobile use is growing. Teachers are also logging on at school: 73 percent of educators report using mobile devices to help their students learn.

The rising popularity of digital devices in the classroom raises the stakes for kids in schools that are still unable to enjoy the full benefits of the E-rate initiative. Despite a widespread interest in one-to-one digital learning, only 81 percent of superintendents, CTOs, and other district leaders report that their district's Wi-Fi could handle one wireless device per student. Common Sense Kids Action is committed to supporting robust federal efforts to bring access to the kids and classrooms that are still left behind.

Kelsey Kober
Policy Associate