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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release July 30, 1999
STATEMENT BY THE VICE PRESIDENT
The E-rate program is part of the Administration's effort to connect
every classroom and library, giving every child access to the
information superhighway. It helps provides America's schools and
libraries with discounts of 20 to 90 percent on telecommunications
services, internal connections and Internet access -- with the deepest
discounts going to the poorest urban and rural schools.
Although this program enjoys broad support from telecommunications
companies, one company questioned whether the Federal Communication
Commission had the authority to provide funding for internal wiring that
connects classrooms to the Internet.
Today the Fifth Circuit Court upheld the structure of the E-rate program
including coverage for Internet access and connections to the classroom
and upheld the FCC's authority to target discount levels to the schools
and libraries with greatest needs.
E-RATE STATEMENT BY THE VICE PRESIDENT
I applaud the decision today by the Fifth Circuit Court to uphold the
E-rate program. This decision is a victory for America, a victory for
our schools and libraries, and a victory for the future of all American
As a nation, I think it should be our collective goal to see to it that
every classroom and library is connected to the Internet, ensuring that
the opportunities of the Information Age belong to all our children.
For the very first time in our history, it is now possible for a child
in the most isolated inner-city neighborhood or rural community to have
access to the same world of knowledge at the same instant as the child
in the most affluent suburb. Research shows that technology can be a
powerful tool for teaching and learning, and is boosting student test
scores, improving attendance, enhancing professional development for
teachers and increasing parental involvement in education.
But until every child has a computer in the classroom and a teacher
well-trained to help, until every student has the skills to tap the
enormous resources of the Internet, until every high-tech company can
find skilled workers to fill its high-wage jobs, America will miss the
full promise of the Information Age.