As President Obama mentioned in his State of the Union address, one of the government's goals is to increase the availability of high-speed internet to the masses in school systems and libraries around the world. Apparently, it didn't take too long for his administration to get to work on this noble initiative.
In an article on February 1st in the New York Times, it was reported that Obama's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will double the amount of spending on high-speed internet in schools in 2014. This, in turn, is supposedly going to have a positive impact in the actual access to high-speed and broadband internet within schools across the United States.
In order for the government to get all schools operating faster than the TVG train in France, it's going to cost money. Currently, the government spends about $1 billion dollars on high-speed internet development that goes towards improving existing internet speeds and installing new lines in public schools. This Obama initiative is next on the list as he systematically goes through his 'pen and phone' campaign, as some are calling it.
That is the nickname given to his State of the Union call to Congress threatening to use his pen and his phone, meaning signing executive orders and calling for support to do so, to take unilateral action in order to insure something is accomplished in Washington in 2014 in spite of serious government gridlock in Congress.
Obama's goal is for 99% of US schools to have high-speed internet by 2018; a very ambitious goal. In what began in 1996 as part of the Federal Communications Commission program, Obama's most recent claims were actually in part initiated back in 2011 when Obama pushed to have 98% of the country covered by the internet in an $18 billion dollar plan. This is the next logical step for someone with a 'pen and a phone.'
Obama's goal seems even more ambitious considering that 80% of schools currently have internet access that is limited by speed or by location, residing only in offices or computer labs that are not available to all students.
According to Obama's Chief of Staff, the private sector is also lining up for an opportunity to support this initiative, stating that they want students to be able to "compete in this economy."
This plan, when complete, will broaden the ability of millions of students to utilize the internet and maximize its full potential while at school.
Many students at our schools come from "less-than-optimal socioeconomic backgrounds that may present unique opportunities for the right high school teacher to make a difference in their lives." We may as well give those teachers, and students, the tools to give them the best chance at success.