Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Digital Literacy Corps moving in next door

The monthly Washington Update from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) informs us that the FCC Chairman has decided not to use the E-Rate to fund the Digital Literacy Corps.  Back in October, the Chairman seemed to be planning to fund it from the E-Rate, but the pushback from E-Rate stakeholders has apparently made him rethink that.

Good news for the E-Rate, which is already short on funds (and getting shorter).  And Lifeline is the catchy name for the Universal Service Fund Low Income Program, which is not capped, so the change will not be taking funding away from anyone.

Of course, I have to look for the downside.  I don't imagine this Digital Literacy Corps will cost much, but whatever the cost is, it will increase the size of the USF, which means increasing the contribution from service providers, which means higher prices on everyone's bills, which means more political opposition to the USF.  Not a big concern, but I've been worrying since Obama took office that mission creep in the USF will put the squeeze on the E-Rate.  Now it seems that a direct squeeze on the E-Rate was avoided only because of advocacy by organizations like CoSN, and we're still looking at an indirect squeeze.

And as I've said before the Digital Literacy Corps is not really necessary.  Libraries are already running digital literacy classes, as are many school districts.  But if they want to give the existing effort a catchy name, I'm OK with that.  Let's not spend too much money on it, though, OK?

No comments:

Post a Comment