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Broadband, Budget and Coding - July Advocacy Update

June 30, 2017

Legislative Update for CUE Members - June 2017 | more leg updates

Prepared by John Cradler, CUE Legislative and Policy Consultant

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Trump’s rural broadband initiative contradicts many of his statements curtailing the Internet and current actions being threatened by the FCC

 

President Donald Trump said he plans to propose an expansion of broadband access to remote areas as part of an ambitious infrastructure bill.  "I will be including a provision in our infrastructure proposal — $1 trillion proposal, you'll be seeing it very shortly — to promote and foster, enhance broadband access for rural America," he said. "We will rebuild rural America.” Trump said limited broadband is keeping farmers from using the latest agricultural technology, like big data tools, that track crop growth and soil conditions or online livestock auctions. The White House did not offer any details as to how such an expansion might be implemented or how much of a budget he would allot for it. The FCC previously instituted Lifeline, E-Rate, and net neutrality in an attempt to address what Trump is now referring to. However, Trump has been instrumental in blocking Internet expansion in a variety of ways through his FCC appointments.

The FCC has been taking action that contradicts these recent pronouncements by the President.  In a reversal of his predecessor's policy in February, FCC Chairman Pai blocked nine companies from offering discounted service to low-income areas through the agency's Lifeline program, which was originally created to subsidize phone service in 1985. The next month, he delegated oversight of the program to state governments in a move that opponents say could hand more power to telecoms and cable companies to kill competition. He is threatening to make E-Rate into a block grant which would reduce the possibility of targeting rural and underserved schools, and repealing net neutrality which allows companies to differentially charge for services according to their potential for profit.

For more details on the Trump broadband initiative go to this site.

 

California budget funds expansion of K-12 computer science instruction

 

Standards Development: The 2017-18 California budget includes funding to expand K-12 student access to computer science coursework and instruction. Computer Science includes computational thinking and problem solving. The State Board of Education is considering approving 21 individuals recommended for appointment by the Instructional Quality Commission to serve on the California Computer Science Standards Advisory Committee (CCSAC). This new committee will schedule meetings beginning this fall to develop a vision and definition for computer science, distinguishing it from computer literacy, educational technology, digital citizenship, and information technology. The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed state computer science standards two 60-day review periods in the spring of 2018.

 

Implementation Process: A second related initiative is the approval of AB 99 – the creation of a California Computer Science Strategic Implementation Advisory Panel to begin work on or before March 1, 2018. The panel will develop recommendations related to effective and equitable implementation of computer science in K-12. Panel membership will include positions appointed by the Governor, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Senate Rules Committee, and the Assembly Speaker’s office. AB 99 stipulates that recommendations for a computer science strategic implementation plan be submitted to the Superintendent, State Board, and Legislature on or before January 15, 2019.

 

Geoff Belleau, the CDE Educational Technology Consultant, will discuss the computer standards at the Fall CUE Conference.

 

For more details on the California Computer Science Instruction initiative visit this site.