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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