Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Provision threatens Internet access in schools

At a time when Internet access is becoming so important in our lives and the future lives of our students, the Republicans who control the Wisconsin State Legislature have advanced a measure that threatens Internet access for public schools and other institutions.

According to State Superintendent Tony Evers, three-quarters of our public schools get Internet access through WiscNet - a not-for-profit network service under the auspices of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A provision inserted into the state budget by the Joint Finance Committee will likely make it impossible for WiscNet to continue offering Internet access, driving up the cost to school districts if they are forced to use other Internet providers. The provision will also cost the state millions in federal funding.

Evers says this provision will impact Wisconsin’s public libraries, public and private schools, the university system, and technical colleges.

"We all know the critical importance of having access to high-speed, affordable Internet access to educating our children and providing online information resources to the public via our libraries," Evers said. "We need to make absolutely certain that our schools and libraries have such access, especially in rural areas."

If you live in Wisconsin, please email your legislators by going to www.weac.org/cyberlobby and tell them how important education is to our state and how critical it is to maintain affordable Internet access in our schools and libraries.

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