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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

With or Without You: Opportunity for All

President Obama's plan to advance the country, with or without Congress approval, is again, picking up momentum. At least in the area of education.

The president's plan to have all of America connected to the internet isn't a new idea, but the news that more and more companies share his vision is worth reporting.  

After meeting with executives and CEOs of major US companies last week to talk about job growth, executives are now committing to provide resources in computer systems and internet connectivity for students.

In a statement from the White House, companies like Microsoft, AT&T, and Apple, along with several other well-branded US companies are all in.

"American companies are answering the President’s challenge to “dig deep” in support of ConnectED to enrich K-12 education, expand opportunities for students, and train, a 21st century workforce," writes the White House.
Participation and commitments from US companies include:
o   Apple. The company pledged $100 million in iPads, MacBooks, and other products along with content and professional development tools to enrich learning in disadvantaged schools.
o   AT&T has pledged over $100 million to provide middle-school students free Internet connectivity for educational devices over their wireless network for three years. 
o   Autodesk pledged to expand the company’s “Design the Future” program to be available to every secondary school in the country – offering for free over $250 million in value.

o   Microsoft  (recently naming it's new CEO) committed to launch a substantial affordability program open to all U.S. public schools by deeply discounting the price of its Windows operating system, which will substantially bring down the cost of Windows-based devices.
o   O’Reilly Media has partnered with Safari Books Online to make over $100 million in educational content and tools available, for free, to every school in America.
o   Sprint has committed to offer free wireless service for up to 50,000 low-income high school students over the next four years, valued at $100 million.

o   Verizon has announced a multi-year program to support the ConnectED vision through up to $100 million in cash and in-kind commitments.

Today, fewer than 30% of schools have the broadband they need to teach using today’s technology; under ConnectED, 99% of American students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2017.

The White House says, "These announcements will help realize next-generation connectivity to 99% of American students within five years, and begin this transformation of American classrooms immediately."

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