White Papers

Broadband and Rural Education

An Examination of the Challenges, Opportunities, and Support Structures that Impact Broadband and Rural Education

Categorized Under: Community Development



In this white paper, ICF International experts Dr. Caitlin Howley, Kellie Kim, and Stephen Kane address how broadband can help connect teachers to students, parents, and free educational resources. Improving and expanding access to educational opportunities for all students has long been a goal for policy makers, educators, and parents. In recent years, the U.S. Federal government has emphasized the importance of broadband communications technology as a means for achieving this goal. Broadband helps schools share classes, curricula, and other resources.

The United States has made great strides toward connecting its educational infrastructure to high-speed Internet, but recent research shows that rural schools and communities have insufficient broadband coverage when compared with their nonrural counterparts. Inadequate connections for rural schools will become a growing problem for America if steps are not taken now—one fourth of all U.S. students attend a rural school and, in recent years, rural enrollment growth has outpaced growth in all other school locales. Without adequate high-speed Internet infrastructure, rural schools and the students they serve will be left behind.

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Authored By

  • Caitlin Howley

    Senior ManagerICF International

    Caitlin Howley has nearly 20 years of experience leading education research and program evaluation studies and providing technical assistance to educators. Located in ICF's Charleston, West Virginia office, she serves as associate director of the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC) and conducts research for the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Mid-Atlantic and  K–12 and college programs for at-risk student populations across the Appalachian region. Dr. Howley also provides technical assistance to education leaders and practitioners via the Reform Support Network. In earlier capacities, Howley directed evaluation for the Appalachia Eisenhower Regional Consortium for Mathematics and Science Education, provided evaluation services to the Region IV Comprehensive Center, and served as a Research and Evaluation Specialist with the Appalachia Regional Education Laboratory.

    Dr. Howley has a Ph.D in Sociology from Temple University, and she has received awards from the National Rural Education Association and the American Educational Research Association.

Insight Details

Published: Jun 1, 2012
Authors: ,

Kellie Kim

Source: ICF International

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