Ask Arne: Connecting All Schools to High Speed Internet

“In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools?” –President Obama, June 6, 2013

Last month, President Obama and Secretary Duncan traveled to Mooresville, North Carolina to announced ConnectED, an initiative to connect almost all schools to high-speed Internet. Following the announcement, Secretary Duncan spells out the vision in a blog post titled “Empowering Learners in the 21st Century.”

It’s a major move that doesn’t require Congress. Over 50 national education organizations have co-signed this letter of support for the ConnectED vision.

I recently sat down with Secretary Duncan to pick his brain on ConnectED and his ideas about digital learning. (Spoiler alert: He likes Mooresville’s plan for phasing out buying physical textbooks, and reallocating those resources for technology-related investments.)

Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

Dan Brown is a Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education for the 2012-13 school year. 


  1. We are 12-15 miles outside of Portland OR, and we do not have access to fiber optics! Our school’s only option is T-1 lines, which are just a step up from dial up. At best 20 kids can use the internet at once. We could continue to add T-1 lines, but they are terribly expensive and as you add them you must add additional equipment which is not cheap. Our students are at a disadvantage with access to the internet, simply based on where there school is located. I would love to see equity in access for all students while at school.

  2. Mr. Brown. “20% of schools have access to broadband.” I do not believe is a crorrct number.

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