A group called FASTERArkansas — Fast Access for Students, Teachers & Economic Results– is a committee of business leaders, nonprofits and school superintendents who are asking the public to pressure legislators to reconsider a State Law (Act 1050) which extended the Telecommunications Regulatory Reform Act of 1997. This law included “education institutions” in its wording which prohibited the state from giving broadband services to public schools.
A Quality Digital Learning Study Committee reported in May that the state’s department of education was never asked how this would impact schools. Because it was a telecom regulatory bill, it never passed through the Education Committee.
Given the onset of PARCC testing, which is online and requires competent and quick Internet access, the state’s move forward with adequate access does not parallel the school’ sand the student’s needs. Given the legislature’s approval of the accountability load on the shoulders of teachers and principals to ensure students perform well on testing, the politics of broadband access need to consider education.
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