OCRE President Discusses E-Rate Modernization, Urges State Policymakers to Focus on Rural Education

 

For Immediate Release
Contact: Hillary Crowder, 703-351-2086, hcrowder@ntca.org

Arlington, Va., (August 27, 2014)—Broadband plays a critical role in the education of students and the professional development of teachers and community members in rural areas across the nation, said Robert Mahaffey, president of the Organizations Concerned About Rural Education (OCRE), in a new episode of “Broadband Beat With Shirley Bloomfield.”

In the interview with Bloomfield, Mahaffey talked about the FCC’s July rulemakings on E-Rate modernization. Mahaffey applauded the FCC on its vote and is looking to be very engaged in the testing phase of the order. He expressed concerns about modernization funding beyond what was identified for years one and two of the FCC’s five-year plan.

“What are we going to do in the out-years in this five-year plan?” said Mahaffey. “We need to look at funding sources and we need to look at how we can make sure that the supports are in place … as schools and districts apply for these funds and utilize them in the most effective way—the most cost-effective way.”

Mahaffey also discussed the biannual research report, “Why Rural Matters.” The study indicated there is a critical need for policymakers at the state level to focus on rural education, students and schools. While rural schools are facing an increase in student enrollment, the report found that poverty is on the rise and the amount each school spends on instructional materials for students is dwindling.

“Rural kids have been invisible when we have these policy discussions, and we are dedicated to making sure there is a spotlight on these children—that they have the best education that they can possibly have and that they deserve,” said Mahaffey who described the rural telecom industry as “indispensible in making that happen.”

“Broadband Beat With Shirley Bloomfield” is a video series by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association featuring interviews between NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield and policy, telecom and technology leaders working to drive the rural broadband industry forward.

This episode and the full interview are available online. For more information about the video series, visit www.ntca.org/broadbandbeat or the NTCA YouTube channel.

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NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use. Visit us at www.ntca.org.