[ Text Version | WordPerfect Version ]

fcclogo NEWS

Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

January 15, 1998


FCC Chairman William E. Kennard told Newark, NJ, elementary school children today, "The computers that you have in your school now, and the connection you have to the Internet, are the building blocks of your future successes. They are also the way our country's telecommunications system can bring us together as a nation - building communities to keep America connected."

He told fourth and fifth graders at Newark's 13th Avenue Elementary School, "I don't have a crystal ball, but I know this -- things are changing quickly. Many of the jobs that will be available to you when you graduate from school haven't been invented yet. But those jobs are going to require you to have the kind of familiarity with computers and the Internet that you are getting here." He added, "You are lucky. Many schools in this country don't even have one classroom with Internet access. As head of the Federal Communications Commission, I am working hard to ensure that every school child in this country has the same opportunities you do and that we bring modern communications technology to every classroom."

The 13th Avenue Elementary School is wired for Internet access.

Chairman Kennard's school visit underscored his commitment to ensuring that the children of America, rich and poor, rural and urban, are prepared for the jobs of the Information Age. He noted that "within two years, 60% of the jobs available will require information technology skills. High tech jobs pay on average 73% more in wages than non- high tech jobs. And the three fastest growing occupations in America -- which are also high- paying -- are computer related: computer scientists, computer engineers, and systems analysts."

Commenting on his visit, Chairman Kennard said, "There already is a troubling gap in our country between information haves and have-nots. Only 14% of classrooms are connected to the internet -- in lower income areas, only 7%. Although 75% of suburban schools have Internet access at least to one place in the schools, only 61% of rural schools and 53% of schools in low income areas do. Sixty-seven percent of urban and suburban libraries offer Internet access, whereas only 49% of rural libraries do."

Chairman Kennard said that he is committed to doing everything he can to equip school children with the skills they will need to compete in the Information Age economy.