Policies to help MN schools connect

Thanks to Ann Higgins for passing on news from the Daily Session. Apparently, Rep. Denise Dittrich out of Champlin requested funds from House K-12 Education Finance Division to fiber optic infrastructure to all schools in the state “to give students a global education.”

Rep Dittrich said about half the schools in the state do not have a high-speed Internet connection. According to the Session Daily, policy may be standing in the way of her request…

However, a 1994 legal opinion may stand in the way of the project moving forward. At that time it was determined that this type of project does not fall under the criteria for state bonding. Dittrich said her request is a bold step in a new direction and called the legal opinion outdated.

This may be an opportunity to test the waters for changing policy to promote broadband deployment – as suggested in the Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force Recommendations. I don’t think they addressed this policy specifically in the recommendations – but the report does call for greater collaboration and I think/hope ithe recommendations will get policy makers to rethink old policies. I don’t know much about Rep Dittrich’s plan – but it sounds as if it would promote better collaboration among schools. I would be interested in knowing more about the doors those connections to the schools could open in the various communities served by the schools.

This entry was posted in education, Funding, MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

1 thought on “Policies to help MN schools connect

  1. Access to the internet is equivalent to access to public libraries, with the added benefit that a great deal of commerce and communications can be conducted (without one being “shusshed!”). Extending broadband services across the state, particularly in rural areas should be given a very high priority as a public service. Doing so will only help build a stronger citizenry and a stronger economy. The initial cost is an investment with very little, if any, downside.

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