Beebe touts another broadband study | Arkansas Blog

Monday, August 11, 2014

Beebe touts another broadband study

Posted By on Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Gov. Mike Beebe announced today another study of broadband service to public schools.

He said the Education Department has partnered with a national nonprofit, EducationSuperHighway, and already completed the first phase of a study of "digital learning readiness" and K-12 broadband spending. From his news release:

.. "Providing our schools with high-speed broadband connections is critical to preparing our students for the modern economy," Governor Beebe said. "With the leadership of the Arkansas Department of Education, the General Assembly, our school districts and service providers, we can give our children the resources they need to compete and succeed."

By transitioning $15 million currently being spent annually on outdated copper networks and leveraging it with federal funds to build a high-speed fiber network, according to EducationSuperHighway, Arkansas can become the first state in the country to meet the national ConnectED goal of linking every student to high-speed broadband.

EducationSuperHighway selected Arkansas as one of two pilot partner states to collaborate on an in-depth project to improve broadband access and lower costs for public schools.

The news release didn't address the continuing legal issue: A 2011 state law that prohibits the state from getting into the broadband business. This has been mostly seen as an impediment to hooking up to an existing statewide broadband network that serves colleges. But it could also hamper individual state efforts apart from hooking to that particular network.

The debate has been marked by differences between various parties on the sufficiency of existing broadband services provided by private telecom companies. The telecom companies say they can provide the service and that the state has improved in recent years.

Last week, the Legislative Council approved another study of its own, a followup to one approved in July. The first study was to determine the cost of providing every Arkansas student with adequate Internet. The second is to insure that figures produce apples-to-apples comparisons of all school districts.

The EducationSuperHighway study is separate from the legislature's effort. It is being done at no cost to the state, a spokesman for Beebe said. The organization is supported by a number of foundations.

At a news conference today, speakers said Arkansas is spending most of its school money for broadband on an outdated copper wire delivery system when it should be using fiber-optic service. The existing Arkansas school computer network is too expensive and out of date, they said. The existing service is provided through the Arkansas Department of Information Services, a bone of some political contention. Some politicians blame DIS for the law change that hampers creation of a new computer network. Beebe himself is reportedly of that belief. Today, he promised a full audit of DIS.

Speaking of children and education, some recent surveys:

* Ranked Arkansas 44th in the country in a ranking of the best and worst school systems.

* Arkansas also ranked in the bottom tier of states as a place to raise children, according to the Annie Casey Foundation.

* And then a Wallet Hub survey ranked Arkansas as the 48th worst state to be a disadvantaged child.

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • More on how highways were used to wipe out "blight" of non-white neighborhoods

    Vox, a news website that concerns itself with energy and other issues, has a fine piece, including before and after images, on the history of the U.S. interstate system and why roads were built through the middle of cities (unless people of influence stopped them — see Manhattan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.)
    • Mar 22, 2016
  • Rep. Mary Bentley's website now supports gay rights

    Somebody has cybersquatted on Republican Rep. Mary Bentley's website, replacing her messaging with a call for equal rights for LGBTQ people.
    • Jul 18, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

  • Guest Playlist: Flap Jones of "Not Necessarily Nashville" schools us on real country music

    "Not Necessarily Nashville," which airs on KUAR-FM 89.1 every Saturday, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., celebrates three decades of the "best of the rest of country music" Saturday, October 21 at the White Water Tavern with Brad Williams of The Salty Dogs & The Creek Rocks, and we asked host Flap Jones to curate a playlist for us ahead of that anniversary celebration.
  • Discussion: State killing of the mentally ill

    The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and others will have a forum on mental illness and the death penalty at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Bowen School of Law's Friday Courtroom.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation