Principals’ Associations Encouraged by Plan to Modernize E-rate

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NAESP and NASSP urge investment to improve the program and meet demand.

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We are encouraged by Chairman Wheeler’s remarks and applaud the investments made by the private sector and the administration to improve connectivity and broadband speed for the nation’s schools and libraries.

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) are encouraged by remarks made this morning by Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), signaling that the commission will work to improve the federal E-Rate program and make it easier for schools and libraries to access connectivity and digital resources that are necessary to improve teaching and learning in the 21st Century.

His remarks follow an announcement made yesterday by President Obama that a host of high-tech companies have pledged $750 million in devices, content, services, and new teacher and principal professional development to increase digital learning opportunities. The additional funding for education technology is a major win for the Administration’s ConnectED initiative to connect 99 percent of students to “next-generation connectivity” in five years.

“We are very pleased to hear that E-Rate modernization is moving forward, and that President Obama will include funding in his FY 2015 budget proposal for professional development for teachers and school leaders as they transition to digital learning and high-speed connectivity,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, Executive Director of NASSP. “School leaders rely on E-Rate funding to meet the technology needs of schools, especially as the transition is made to online assessments,” she added.

Chairman Wheeler noted actions the FCC will undertake over the coming year to modernize the federal program, including focusing on high-speed connectivity to every school and library, updating how the FCC manages the program by streamlining the overall application process to make it easier and faster for schools and libraries to apply for and receive funds, and ensuring sufficient resources are made available to meet any modernization goals beginning with a $2 billion investment. The Chairman stated that an assessment will be made before a permanent increase in the fundamental structural of E-Rate, and a notice will be issued later this spring to put any changes in place by 2015.

“We are encouraged by Chairman Wheeler’s remarks and applaud the investments made by the private sector and the administration to improve connectivity and broadband speed for the nation’s schools and libraries,” said Gail Connelly, Executive Director of NAESP. “However, we hope the Chairman and Commission members make a serious attempt to not only improve inefficiencies, but increase E-Rate funding to meet current school and library needs, which is an estimated $5 billion,” said Connelly.

NAESP and NASSP are advocating to improve the program quality and overall processes as a part of E-Rate modernization by streamlining the application process, increasing connectivity consistent with reaching all schools and libraries in need, and increasing the program’s investment to meet the current demand.

NASSP is the leading organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders from across the United States and more than 45 countries around the world. The association provides research-based professional development and resources, networking, and advocacy to build the capacity of middle level and high school leaders to continually improve student performance. Reflecting its longstanding commitment to student leadership development as well, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils.

Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle school principals in the United States and internationally. NAESP supports principals as the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning through policy development, advocacy, professional development programs, and resources for effective instructional leadership. NAESP advances the profession on behalf of all principals, providing specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. Key focus areas include pre-K-3 education, school safety, technology and digital learning, and capacity-building educator evaluation. For more information about NAESP, please visit

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