Repeal of Net Neutrality- What Could it Mean for Urban Education?
Net Neutrality is an Act made in Obama’s presidential term that prevents internet service providers from charging different prices for different platforms, on the premise that that internet service providers are public facilities. This means Internet Service Providers do not reserve the right to charge extra money for any sites on the internet or speed of the internet. On December 14th, 2017, The Federal Communications Commissions, or FCC, voted to repeal Net Neutrality. According to the Washington Post poll, around 80% of United States of America supports Net Neutrality, and the repealing of this Act is going to have a major impact everywhere. But what exactly will this mean for education?
Needless to say, the internet is a key part of modern-day education everywhere. Over the past ten years, technology has become a crucial learning tool for educators and students everywhere. Many different schools provide laptops, have online assignments, digital grade books, and much more. Students who do not have internet access at home make use of school wifi for homework and out of school needs. The internet is the primary source for research and information for school projects. There are many online tutorial videos that can help students reinforce and better understand the subject matter they are already in class. High school students have opportunities online to take advanced courses and even college level classes.
If Net Neutrality can potentially allow the Internet Service Providers to charge schools much more for high-speed internet access, this can put all of these online resources in jeopardy. In the majority of public schools, budgets are already extremely strained, and having to pay extra for internet will take a major toll on the budget. Schools that cannot pay for high-speed internet will experience much slower speeds, which can affect how kids learn. Many educators in public schools have spoken up against the repeal of Net Neutrality, and have spoken about how it could have an extremely negative impact. One 5th grade teacher in Virginia named Molly Fuller stated, "We're trying to teach them those real-world skills," she says. Repealing the current regulations, she says, "it's going to really hinder their ability to learn." Although we do not yet know what the costs of the internet could be, many people are worried about what could happen next.