2017 Archived Policy Alerts

Check here for past EdTech policy news! 

Trump FCC Stops Lifeline Broadband Program to Low-Income Families - Blow to Homework Gap 

Official CoSN Statement 

Acting FCC Chairman Ajit Pai correctly identified America’s digital divide as one of the “most significant” issues we face. 

Despite this important acknowledgement, the FCC made the puzzling, detrimental action, under Chairman Pai’s leadership, to cut off the Lifeline program's support for expanding broadband access to low-income American households.

On behalf of the more than 800 school districts and the 13 million students served by CoSN, we are deeply concerned with this action and its impact on low-income students. Without this access, many students across America will fall behind their peers and not be able to take full advantage of the learning opportunities that are critical to 21st century success. All students in America, regardless of their economic status, deserve more – not less – access to digital learning.

CoSN stands firm in our steadfast commitment to better connect all learners at home and in school. Our nation’s leaders need to take steps to close, not increase, the digital divide in communities nationwide.

We also urge the FCC to reverse its decision to rescind the recent “E-rate Modernization Progress Report.” Promoting public transparency about the program’s impact is critical to its long-term success.  

Betsy DeVos confirmed by Senate with Vice President Mike Pence casting tie-breaking vote. [more]
 
Federal Communications Commission and E-rate 
President Trump nominated Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai to serve as the next chairman.
 
DeVos Nomination for Secretary of Education Approved
The Senate HELP Committee voted along party lines to approve Betsy DeVos’ nomination to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education. The nomination now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
 
Changes to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), including accountability regulations, have been put on hold by the Trump administration.
 
Seven Democratic senators released a proposal for infrastructure improvement, including $75 billion to repair and rebuild public schools. The Co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus asked President Trump to support deployment of high speed reliable broadband for all as part of any infrastructure initiative.
 
Congressional Outlook
The Senate HELP Committee and House Education and the Workforce will focus their 2017 work on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act and the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (CTE Act). 
 
Statement on President Trump's FY18 Budget Proposal 
The Trump Administration published a blueprint of the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request asking for a significant decrease ($9 billion or 13 percent) in the U.S. Department of Education’s budget. The document does not provide details on every program, and there is no mention of ESSA Title IV, Part A — the flexible block grant program that provides districts with funding for educational technology. The full budget is not expected to be released until April or May.
 
CEO Keith Krueger issued the following statement
 
"CoSN opposes the Trump Administration's irresponsible and shortsighted proposal to cut the Department of Education budget by $9 billion. Growing the nation's economy depends on investing in our students and teachers over the long run — not short-changing them, as the proposal would do. We urge the Administration and our nation’s leaders to make this critical investment in any spending plan."