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Discover All About E-Rate, Edtech Policy and Funding: What You Must Know

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 114 (Nutter Theater)

Listen and learn: Ed talk
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Former Chief Technology Officer
Formerly with Calcasieu Parish Sch Bd
ISTE Certified Educator
Retired CTO Calcasieu Parish Public Schools Louisiana. ISTE Certified Educator, longtime transformational technology innovation integration expert, led technology infusion into curriculum districts, states, internationally. Teacher-principal-library-media specialist-CTO, assistant professor. Accomplished grantwriter/trainer-reviewer National Science Foundation. Founding member ISTE-NETS,ISTE-Standards Accreditation Committee. Deeply involved infusing technology-standards-based instruction. First teacher inducted National Teachers' Hall of Fame. U.S. Education Department Technical Writing Team National EDtech Plan, nationally recognized consultant/speaker/educator, FCC appointed USAC board, Sought-after EDtech speaker, presented published nationally/internationally. ISTE Public Policy Advocate Award, ISTE MakingItHappenAward, CoSN past Chair
Bernstein Strategy Group
The president and founder of Bernstein Strategy Group, Jon Bernstein has worked on education and telecommunications issues since 1995. Currently, Jon serves as the Co-chair of the Education & Libraries Networks Coalition and the Homework Gap Big Tent Coalition, and as Executive Director of the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training. Prior to launching BSG in 2005, Jon worked at Leslie Harris & Associates, the Federal Communications Commission, the National Education Association, The Lightspan Partnership, and for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). He received his JD from the Northwestern University School of Law and his BA from Colgate University.
Funds For Learning
John Harrington is the Chief Executive Officer of Funds For Learning, a leading E-rate consulting firm. Since 1997, Mr. Harrington and his firm have helped schools and libraries apply for $3.5 billion in E-rate funding. Funds For Learning has supported E-rate applicants in all 50 states, and currently serves 4.9 million students at 11,000 sites across America. Mr. Harrington also volunteers on several education-related Boards.

Session description

Join seasoned E-Rate and edtech policy gurus to learn how E-Rate, homework gap, ESSER funding and cybersecurity affect you, your district, school or company. This interactive session will empower attendees with the knowledge to properly plan for federal and state policy developments and advocate for change.

Purpose & objective

The central aim of this presentation is to provide participants with a detailed overview of the status of key federal policy and funding programs relevant to school and home connectivity, cybersecurity, and professional learning focused on online instruction. By providing participants with a solid foundation of policy knowledge through expert presentations and the opportunity to ask questions, we endeavor to arm them with the knowledge necessary to advocate locally and nationally for improved edtech policies and increased edtech funding.
We plan to cover the following key topics/objectives:
*Detailed overview of the E-Rate Program, including the updated Category 2 budget system
*Discuss the Efforts to Address the Homework Gap
*Discuss Cybersecurity Issues and Possible Solutions
*Discuss Funding Opportunities for Professional Learning in Online Instruction
*Discuss New Federal Funding Opportunities and Efforts

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The outline for this session is as follows:
Opening remarks (“state of the state”) intro from each presenter (3-5 minute per presenter)
Expert discussions on each of the following topics: (10 minutes each)
*Homework Gap
*Funding for professional development supporting online learning and new Federal funding
Each discussion topic will include key data points, followed by expert discussion and Q&A from audience members (10 minutes of active audience engagement)

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Supporting research

Homework Gap:
Chandra, S., Chang, A., Day, L., Fazlullah, A., Liu, J., et al. (2020). Closing the K–12 Digital Divide in the Age of Distance Learning. Common Sense Media and Boston Consulting Group.
Alliance for Excellent Education, National Indian Education Association, National Urban League, and UnidosUS. (2020). Students of Color Caught in the Homework Gap. Author.
Klein, Alyson. (2020) Cyber Attacks on Schools Tripled in 2019, Report Finds.
Newman, Lily Hay. (2020) Schools Already Struggled With Cybersecurity. Then Came Covid-19.
E-rate, et al:
Funds for Learning. (2020) E-rate Trends Report.
Key stats:
*98% of E-rate applicants desire support for cybersecurity (pg20)
*95% of E-rate applicants describe the E-rate funding process as vital to their school district’s Internet needs. (pg15)
*90% of E-rate applicants describe insufficient home Internet access (“homework gap”) as a significant issue in their community.

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Session specifications

Educational policy
Grade level:
Skill level:
Chief technology officers/superintendents/school board members, Principals/head teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Attendee devices:
Devices useful
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
none needed
ISTE Standards:
For Education Leaders:
Equity and Citizenship Advocate
  • Ensure all students have access to the technology and connectivity necessary to participate in authentic and engaging learning opportunities.
Systems Designer
  • Ensure that resources for supporting the effective use of technology for learning are sufficient and scalable to meet future demand.
For Educators:
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.