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From Digital Divide to Digital Opportunity: A Strong Record of Working to Close the Digital Divide
A STRONG RECORD OF WORKING TO CLOSE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have worked hard to close the digital divide, and to help create opportunity for more Americans in the Information Age.
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have set a national goal of ensuring that every child is technologically literate. In addition to preparing children for the high-tech workplace of the 21st century, technology can help change the way teachers teach and students learn. Teachers can communicate more frequently with parents, keep up with the latest developments in their field, and exchange lesson plans with their colleagues. Students can conduct research using primary source material, learn the principles of genetics by breeding virtual fruit flies, and learn astronomy by using a professional telescope located 3,000 miles from their classroom.
As a result of the Clinton-Gore educational technology initiative:
The number of classrooms connected to the Internet has increased from 3% in 1994 to 51% in 1998.
The number of schools connected to the Internet has increased from 35% in 1994 to 89% in 1998.
The "e-rate", part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, is providing $2.25 billion in 20% - 90% discounts to connect schools and libraries to the Internet, with the deepest discounts going to the poorest schools that need it most. The e-rate alone has provided Internet access for children in more than 1 million classrooms.
Our total investment in educational technology at the federal level (including the e-rate) has increased from $23 million in 1993 to over $3 billion today.
Grants supported by the Department of Education are training 400,000 new teachers to use technology effectively in the classroom.
In addition, President Clinton and Vice-President Gore have worked to:
Expand access to technology for people with disabilities: President Clinton and Vice President Gore have been strong supporters of efforts to make technology more accessible for people wit disabilities. Recent actions by the Federal Communications Commission will help ensure that telecommunications equipment, such as cellular phones, is designed to be accessible for people with disabilities.
Expand access to technology in under-served communities: In addition to the Community Technology Center program, HUD Sec. Andrew Cuomo has created approximately 500 Neighborhood Network learning centers that bring state of the art technology to publicly-assisted housing across America. HUD's Neighborhood Networks are innovative private/public partnerships that establish computer-based multi-service centers to help people in publicly-assisted housing learn critical computer skills and prepare for 21st century jobs.
Ensure that the Administration makes closing the Digital Divide a top priority. In December, 1999, President Clinton directed members of the Cabinet to take specific actions to address the digital divide: President Clinton is directing members of his Cabinet (Secretaries of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor) to take specific steps to close the Digital Divide, including:
Continuing to measure the nature and extent of the digital divide by examining the importance of income, education, race, gender, geography and age to Americans' access to Information Age tools;
Expanding the network of Community Technology Centers to provide access to technology for those American who can't afford it;
Promoting applications of the Internet that will empower low-income families, such as the ability to start their own business; and
Upgrading the IT skills of workers in low-income communities.