The QDLS study paints a dire picture for the future of our children and economy. It finds:
- Our state ranks near the bottom in high-speed Internet access and digital learning.
- Lack of access to affordable high-speed Internet means many children are not receiving the 21st century education they will need to succeed in the future or compete with students from across the country.
- Some school districts are paying up to 300% more for Internet access than others.
Urgency—Why We Need It Now
Bottom line: Arkansas schools need better access to Internet content, video and courses now, and many schools in the state do not have the capacity to meet those challenges.
Without it, Arkansas will lose millions of dollars in future economic development and job opportunities to other states, while Arkansas taxpayers will continue to foot the bill for exorbitant high-speed Internet costs.
Today’s report also shows a clear path forward.
Arkansas already has a taxpayer-funded infrastructure (ARE-ON) in place that could provide K-12 schools with the access to high-speed Internet it needs, but is currently blocked by law from using it.
Of the 42 states that have such an Internet infrastructure that is connected to Internet2, Arkansas is the only state that prohibits K-12 schools from using it. This makes no sense. It’s time to change the law.
Outcomes & Benefits
Update the law to allow K-12 schools access to existing taxpayer funded high-speed Internet infrastructure will:
- Ensure our children receive a 21st century education
- Create a more educated workforce and bring more jobs to the state
- Save school districts money that could be used for other investments
- Save taxpayers money who are footing the bill for exorbitant Internet prices