Neighborhood schools in the slow lane

In a prominent op-ed in the June 17 New York Times, Ford Foundation President Luis A. Ubiñas called attention to the deplorable state of broadband in many of our nation’s low-income neighborhood schools.

It’s not that there is no Internet, he said. Rather, “Children who go to school in poor neighborhoods are connected to the Web at speeds so slow as to render most educational Web sites unusable. The exploding world of free online courses from great academies is closed to those who lack a digital pathway.”

The remedy is to make high-speed Internet robust, universal and essential. “... any conversation on national infrastructure,” Ubiñas said, “must put broadband as a priority alongside aviation, bridges, energy, highways, ports, rail and water.”

As he concluded, “Our future depends on the ability of every American to participate fully in our digital economy and democracy.”

Ubiñas is echoing two recent pronouncements by government officials that Speed Matters reported. In one, U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wrote, “...in the world we live in broadband capacity is not a luxury. It is a necessity for our next generation to compete.” The following day, President Obama called for ConnectED, a program “that would bring high-speed Internet connections to 99 percent of America’s students,” and which the president “is calling on the FCC to do within five years.”

Speed Matters congratulates Luis Ubiñas for adding the power and financial clout of the Ford Foundation behind this essential goal.

Our Schools, Cut Off From the Web (NY Times, Jun. 17, 2013)

Time to bring high-speed broadband into our schools (Speed Matters, Jun. 7, 2013)

Obama: Let there be broadband
(Speed Matters, Jun. 7, 2013)