Without high-speed access to global information and services, distance education, cutting edge medical services and the marketable visibility of Web presence, remote communities
cannot thrive. These communities will continue to experience the economic and social attrition inevitable when connectivity with a wider world remains absent.
To reach the goal of sufficient broadband access for enhanced K-12 teaching and learning, OSPI recommends the minimum bandwidth targets recently updated by the State Educational Technology Director’s Association (SETDA):
Internet Service Provider Recommendations
2017-18 School Year Targets
2020-21 School Year Targets
Small School District (fewer than 1,000 students)
At least 1.5 Mbps per user (Minimum 100 Mbps for district)
At least 4.3 Mbps per user (Minimum 300 Mbps for district)
Medium School District (1,000-9,999 students)
At least 1.0 Gbps per 1,000 users
At least 3.0 Gbps per 1,000 users
Large School District (more than 10,000 students)
At least 0.7 Gbps per 1,000 users
At least 2.0 Gbps per 1,000 users
Five Powerful Reasons for Broadband Connectivity Across Washington State
- Students connect with native and foreign language speakers to expand language skills. Language proficiency is the first step to academic enrichment and achievement.
- Student data needs the transport capacity of broadband. Current, high
quality data informs the way teachers and principals shape educational
programming. Learning that meets the needs of all students can mean the
difference between a life lost to illiteracy and transience, and a life of
equality and high expectations for success.
- Off-site special education services and training reach teachers and kids in multiple online formats.
- Recruitment and retention of AP instructors and highly qualified math and science teachers becomes possible. Schools eliminate the limits of on-site programs and professional development.
- Educational outreach that connects families and community to school life is not bound by immediate proximity. Parents, guardians and community members can take an active role in education.
High-speed broadband connectivity is a way to bring the latest and best instructional and assessment practices to thousands of students who must grow up to compete in a 21st century society.
Online content delivers a multi-modal way to extend the teacher. The immediacy of Web presence possible through video conference, email dialogue and interactive webinar introduces different perspectives on life and culture. These learning experiences achieve relevancy— the struggles, limits and potentials of problem solving in the real world move theory into practice for young learners.
Washington’s progressive move to online testing demands broadband-level connectivity. Powerful online assessments systems return test scores quickly and provide greater diagnostic information about student strengths and weaknesses. Slow, unreliable connectivity at the classroom level prevents this important state initiative from moving forward.
Broadband builds equity into the learning environment. Broadband will make it possible to reach and teach every student. Online learning is fast becoming a fundamental modality for K-12 education but it depends on high-speed connection and enough bandwidth to handle many concurrent users.
In Washington, thousands of students are penalized for where they live. Typically, areas with low population densities, towns located a distance from a major transportation corridor and communities in mountainous and heavily forested terrain are least and last served by the reach and power of broadband. Without this lifeline to a larger world, kids face limits on scholarship, achievement and personal growth.