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State Leadership and the E-rate Program

This week I had the pleasure of attending the State Education Technology Director’s Association (SETDA) Leadership Conference in Arlington, Va. The conference brought together state education technology leaders to discuss the many issues facing integrating technology into classroom learning. Unfortunately, there are many policy issues, budgetary constraints and regulatory, and technological challenges that these state leaders face. However, SETDA and its membership have taken the lead in tackling these important issues and are shaping how our children learn in a 21st century classroom.

The FCC released an E-rate reform NPRM and received more than 800 comments on how the program should be reformed, simplified, streamlined and made more equitable. While stakeholders would like to see the E-rate cap increased substantially, I again want to thank SETDA for its recognition that increasing the cap is simply not enough. The association filed comments  and supports the idea of providing a budget or cap to each applicant in order to make funds more equitable. SETDA stated that “…the institution of reasonable applicant funding caps could better target scarce federal dollars…” It recognizes other federal and state programs that target the K-12 community provide a limit on how much funding each applicant can access in order to make limited state and federal resources benefit the greatest amount of schools and students. There is no reason the E-rate program should continue providing a blank check to school districts when one institution can request more than 25 percent of the allotted funding cap.

I could not agree more with SETDA, and Funds For Learning presented a formula to the FCC to institute such a system. The proposal would further protect small and rural schools and provide the K-12 community greater flexibility in choosing how funds can be leveraged. If you would like to learn more about how to submit comments in support, please contact The reply comment deadline is November 8, 2013.



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