FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2017
Gov. Edwards Announces Initiative to Increase Broadband Connectivity in the Classroom
450,000 K-12 Students in Louisiana Now Have Access to High-Speed Internet
BATON ROUGE – Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a plan to upgrade the high-speed Internet connectivity for the remaining 164,000 students in K-12 public schools by launching the Louisiana K-12 Connect & Learn Initiative – a partnership between the Governor’s Office, Louisiana Department of Education, Louisiana School Boards Association, Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, and EducationSuperHighway, the leading non-profit focused on upgrading the Internet access in America’s K-12 public schools.
Louisiana continues to make extraordinary progress in upgrading the Internet access in every classroom, according to data released by national non-profit EducationSuperHighway in its “2017 State of the States” report. Eighty-eight percent of school districts are meeting the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recommended minimum connectivity required for students to take advantage of digital learning. This is up from 79 percent in 2016 and 67 percent in 2015. Furthermore, 99 percent of schools in Louisiana have scalable, high-speed fiber connections.
The annual report, which highlights the status of broadband connectivity in the nation’s K-12 public schools, also finds that an additional 146,000 Louisiana students have gained access to high-speed bandwidth since 2015.
“We have an obligation to provide our children with every possible educational tool they might need to succeed in the workforce of tomorrow,” said Gov. Edwards. “If we expect them to compete for 21st century jobs, then we must provide our children with a high-quality, 21st century education, which most certainly includes access to broadband and the digital opportunities that come with it.”
The new initiative is designed to build on the progress made by school districts across the state to ensure every school has a scalable fiber connection, affordable high-speed broadband, and robust Wi-Fi in every classroom. The initiative will provide school districts with technical assistance, procurement support, tools, and resources to help them plan their network upgrades and maximize the federal funds available to them. The ultimate goal is to connect every public school classroom and ensure Louisiana’s students have the high-speed broadband connections they need to take advantage of a 21st century digital education.
“Governors across the country have demonstrated an amazing commitment to connecting their state’s students” said Evan Marwell, CEO at EducationSuperHighway. “We commend the work of the school districts and the education community for the progress so far and applaud the leadership of Governor Edwards to close the digital divide for good.”
To read more on Louisiana’s progress, visit the 2017 State of the States report at http://stateofthestates.educationsuperhighway.org/.
EducationSuperHighway is the leading non-profit focused on upgrading the Internet access in every public school classroom in America. We catalyze federal and state action on K-12 broadband initiatives and are currently working with governors in 23 states covering more than 22 million students. As a non-profit, our tools and services are offered free of charge.
EducationSuperHighway is funded by national philanthropic organizations including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and our mission is supported by America’s leading CEOs.