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|March 15, 1999|
STATEMENT OF FCC CHAIRMAN WILLIAM E. KENNARD ON THE OCCASION OF HIS VISIT TO THE VINE STREET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN LOS ANGELES IN SUPPORT OF THE "E-RATE" PROGRAM
Wiring schools to the Internet so that kids can learn the skills that they will need to excel
in the Information Age is a team effort that runs from Vine Street Elementary all the way to the
President Clinton and Vice President Gore had the vision that the Internet and its opportunities should reach beyond the suburbs and business districts and reach all Americans, no matter where they live.
In Congress, we are so fortunate that you have sent us Xavier Becerra. He's a leader among leaders, and a passionate fighter for making sure that the wonders of tomorrow reach schools like Vine Elementary. I am happy that he invited me here back to my hometown, and I'm happy to call him a friend.
Here in Los Angeles, we are lucky to have a Superintendent like Ruben Zacarias, whose commitment to the children of this city is unshakable.
And we are lucky to have a principal like Edwina Fields who has done a marvelous job working with her teachers and parents to incorporate computers and the Internet into the curriculum.
This month ended the first year of e-rate funding, and the results have been extraordinary.
We have given $1.6 billion in discounts to over 80,000 schools, wiring over half the classrooms in the nation.
California has received $206 million; Los Angeles has received $23 million in e-rate money.
But these numbers don't become real until you come to a place like Vine Elementary, a school built at the beginning of this century, which is now beginning transformed by the technologies of the next century. A transformation seeded by $268,000 in e-rate money.
By wiring the classrooms of this school, we are linking these kids into the opportunities and jobs of tomorrow. No matter what you want to do, you need to be able to work with computers, to be comfortable with this technology, to process information in these ways. And through the e-rate program, we are preparing our children for this future.
The challenge we have now is to build on this success.
Schools need to get their applications in, and we have to get e-rate money out so that we can wire all the schools in this nation by the millennium.