President Obama visited Mooresville Middle School in North Carolina Thursday and delivered a speech that focused on technology, Internet access and the importance of education tin making America secure and prosperous.
The centerpiece of the speech was ConnectEd, a program that seeks to improve the high speed Internet connections at schools and libraries and aims to get 99 percent of classrooms connected to high speed broadband within 5 years.
While we applaud the idea of the program, it is merely a start and does not address the true nature of the technology gap in today’s America. With Latino high school dropout rates topping 40% (over 70% if they’re learning English), just connecting classrooms doesn’t even come close to addressing the underlying issue. The program should look to connect homes as well as schools.
The real heart of the issue is the view that high speed Internet access is a luxury. In point of fact, it is a part of the infrastructure of a modern country just like electricity, running water, and phone lines. In countries like South Korea, where high speed Internet access is universally available to all citizens, their educational system is well ahead of ours and their economy less volatile.
While nobody will argue the sheer size of our country presents challenges in attaining 100% access to high speed broadband for our citizens, we would suggest that it is a far better place to spend money than on misguided immigration policies, border patrols, and exorbitant military spending.
We applaud the president’s intent, but strongly suggest he open his eyes to the bigger issue and address it with the same sense of purpose.
Picture by pennstatenews