Earlier this month, Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation awarding $25 million to more than 100 local education authorities for technology infrastructure improvements at Georgia schools. This disbursement marks Round 2 of an initiative started in the third quarter of 2014. Schools in Georgia that received money from the initial Connections for Classrooms grant were eligible to receive these additional funds in order to capitalize on the expansion of a similar federal program.
Connections for Classrooms is a joint effort of several state agencies to ensure that classrooms have the capability to access opportunities for digital and blended learning.
The program indicates that state officials are taking a long view of the role education can play in innovation in our communities. Deal said, “In order to succeed in the 21st century job market, our students must master 21st century skills. With these funds in place, our schools are closer than ever to attaining the necessary technology infrastructure and to better preparing Georgia’s students for life outside the classroom.”
Dalton City Schools, which received funding from both rounds, used the money to improve their firewall and upgrade routers and wiring. Howard Langford, director of technology and telecommunications, said this update to the infrastructure marked “a significant, drastic improvement in quality of service.”
The Foundation for Excellence in Education recently released its fourth-annual Digital Learning Report Card which indicated that access to quality instruction via technology is on the upward swing. Only five states received an “F,” down from 14, and 25 states saw their overall scores improve. Fifty new digital learning laws were passed in 2014.
— Jason Russell (@JRussellMI) May 1, 2015
Florida and Utah were the only states to receive an “A” ranking, but Southeastern states Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina were each awarded a “B” grade. Texas also received a grade of B.
Georgia’s Connections for Classrooms effort addresses “Delivery,” one of the 10 elements of high quality digital learning, as the metrics include that all schools need to have high-speed broadband Internet access. Schools that did not receive funding through either of the first two rounds of the program will be able to apply for grants in July of this year.