Virginia to take part in school Internet project

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Associated Press & 13News Now

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 3 at 6:09 PM

RICHMOND (AP) — Virginia is merging onto the education superhighway.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announce the state's participation in the Internet access project The EducationSuperHighway on Tuesday.

Right now, 72 percent of schools in the United States have internet connections that are either out of date, slow or non-existent.

Participation in this program would essentially bring internet to schools without any and improve technological capabilities for schools that aren’t up-to-speed with current technology.

The EducationSuperHighway is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization dedicating to improving Internet access in the schools. It selected Virginia in April for a pilot project to help school divisions lower the cost of high-speed Internet access and increase digital learning opportunities.

“Ensuring that all Virginia communities have equal and affordable access to broadband technology is a critical component in developing a 21st Century Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe.

President of the Norfolk Federation of Teachers Thomas Calhoun says public schools can't afford to update technology as-needed, so students often have to use their phones to get information.

He said this program can only help schools throughout Hampton Roads improve their quality of education.

"If you don't have the technology, the children are the ones that suffer,” Calhoun said.

School divisions will be reporting detailed information on Internet access and broadband pricing by the end of August. Then ESH will analyze the data and produce a comprehensive report in early 2015 for all school divisions.

“Every student in Virginia deserves access to high-quality digital content,” Secretary of Education Anne Holton said. “Our strategy for closing achievement gaps must include a concerted effort at both the state and local levels to make sure that slow connection speeds and inadequate networks don’t bar the way.”

 

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