While it’s common for a federal agency to switch policy directions after a change in leadership, FCC Chairmain Pai’s decision to rescind a data-based public report on E-rate modernization is a highly unusual decision that – at the very least – looks awful. Indeed, to expunge the public record is clearly a political move.
Posts tagged E-rate
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler announced today that he will step down next month and leave the Commission. From the perspective of K-12 schools, the importance of his contributions to E-rate modernization are hard to overstate. Indeed (and with all due respect to friends and colleagues at the U.S. Department of Education), the adoption of revisions and enhancements to the E-rate under Chairman Wheeler’s tenure may very well be the lasting legacy of the Obama Administration with respect to education. With Wheeler’s departure and based on what we can surmise, the E-rate under a Republican FCC shaped by PEOTUS Trump will likely face a new set of challenges.
What does the Trump Administration mean for educational technology advocates? There is a lot we don’t know, but one thing we can expect is new leadership and a new agenda at the FCC. One issue to watch: efforts to rein in the universal service fee, which could put pressure on E-rate funding and related efforts to close the ‘homework gap.’
Education Week has put together a real cracker of a series on the challenges of ensuring school broadband access in rural communities – and how the FCC’s E-rate is helping to address the situation. For me, it starkly reveals the shortcomings of the Obama Administration’s broadband strategy for rural schools and what’s still left to do.