Partnership Seeks 'Vital' School Broadband

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McCormick joined Governor Eric Holcomb for today's announcement. McCormick joined Governor Eric Holcomb for today's announcement.

Indiana has launched a partnership with a national nonprofit aimed at bringing high-speed Internet to every classroom in the state. Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick says nearly 40,000 students are currently not connected, which is "not acceptable in this day and age." She says EducationSuperHighway will work with the Indiana Department of Education and local schools to determine how to increase digital access and capacity with available state and federal funds.

During an interview with Inside INdiana Business, McCormick said, with ILEARN testing and other mandates coming up, there is "no longer a choice" about connecting students.

McCormick says the hope is to get those goals achieved by the 2018-2019 academic year, when ILEARN is set to become the new statewide standardized test. She says when students have digital access, "learning is easier and more expansive."

State leaders say the partnership with EducationSuperHighway comes at no cost to taxpayers. The organization will help schools identify needs, such as fiber infrastructure improvements, greater and more affordable bandwidth or Wi-Fi upgrades. It will then work with districts to achieve the goals of wall-to-wall Wi-Fi and infrastructure to deliver at least 100 kilobits per second per student.

The collaboration will also focus on how to best use $2 million set aside in the state budget to support internet connectivity for schools and attract more FCC e-rate match dollars to provide fiber connectivity for schools. The state says there is more than $47 million in federal E-rate funding to upgrade Wi-Fi in Indiana schools.

EducationSuperHIghway says the partnership with IDOE and Indiana schools will continue until all goals are achieved statewide.

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