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Federal Communications Commission
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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).

March 27, 1997


On Tuesday, FCC Chairman Reed Hundt challenged leaders in the technology industry attending the PC Forum to take the lead in putting the Net in every classroom.

Hundt said "everyone in the PC business knows they want their own children to have access to computers on networks and so they should want that for all children." He said that there was continual debate in the PC industry about the "controlling metaphor" for the Net, but that he would settle for the simile "like." He said that putting the Net in every classroom was "like we really tried to equalize opportunities, like we really believe that we're all in this together, like we really want everyone to have a chance to get a better job than their parents, like building a fairer world for all is something we would all really enjoy." Hundt further stated that "Michael Crichton's negative vision of technology is to education what "Jurassic Park" is to the issue of cloning -- a well told story but false."

Hundt said that we have learned from the scientific revolution that "everything that can be invented will be and money will be made doing it. What is really up for grabs in technology is whether we use it to build a successful society." He stated that we "need to invest in the idea of getting the Internet in every classroom" across the country to prove we could use technology to extend opportunity to all. He specifically stated that by the year 2000, 60% of all new jobs will require working with computers, and that for business reasons alone we ought to give all children the skills necessary to get these jobs.

Hundt stressed that the Internet would promote curriculum reform. He stated that with the right tools and training, teachers will be able to use the Internet to its fullest potential. Hundt further stated that teachers do not need to be computer experts to integrate the Internet into the course curriculum and that to say otherwise would be the same as saying "you cannot create a web site until you've attended a graphic arts school."

Hundt told the gathering, which included CEOs of computer companies and Internet service providers, that great opportunities also present great challenges. Hundt pointed out that action is underway. He said while 65% of public schools have access to the Internet, only 14% of classrooms have connections to the Internet -- 86% do not. Hundt further stated that computer assisted instruction results in a 30% increase in student performance in reading, math and science.

Hundt said that all comments on the FCC's classroom connection proceeding, which is part of pending access reform access@fcc.gov or isp@fcc.gov and universal service dockets fccinfo@fcc.gov were welcome.

-- FCC --