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The Trump administration announced it wants Jessica Rosenworcel, an outspoken advocate for digital equity, back as FCC Commissioner.
Ryan Johnston is a contributing writer for Scoop News Group, parent of EdScoop....
Jessica Rosenworcel has once again been nominated for FCC Commissioner, this time by President Donald Trump, according to a statement released by the White House earlier today.
Rosenworcel, who served as FCC Commission during the Obama administration from 2012 to 2016, has been outspoken in her commitment to broadband access for all K-12 students and in her efforts to close the “homework gap” that continues to hinder students who lack internet access at home. Rosenworcel also led efforts to modernize the FCC’s lifeline program, a program previously used to provide landline and cell service to low-income families, to include broadband.
Rosenworcel, a Democrat, was re-nominated by Obama in January of 2017 to serve another term, after Senate lawmakers failed to extend her term before Congress adjourned at the end of last year. Conventional thought in Washington at the time was that President Trump would accept the pre-inaugural nomination and pair Rosenworcel with a Republican to lead the agency, according to a report in recode, which first reported the news.
Trump, however, inexplicably withdrew Rosenworcel’s nomination on February 28, raising questions as to which side of the aisle her replacement would come from.
News that Trump intended to nominate her after all to return to the Federal Communications Commission came with the support of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who praised Rosenworcel's work.
"She has a distinguished record of public service, including the four-and-a-half years we worked together at this agency, and I look forward to working with her once again to advance the public interest,” Pai said in a prepared statement.
Rosenworcel played a significant role during her first term as FCC Commissioner in supporting an update to the E-rate program, which provides support for internet access to schools across America. That effort led to what became known as E-Rate 2.0, which increased funding support for expanding bandwidth at the nation's schools and libraries, simplified the application process for subsidizing networking investments and increased efficiency in spending for the program.
She also publicly supported the Digital Learning Equity Act in 2015, a piece of legislation that would have enabled low-income families and students to access critical education technology through the construction of broadband infrastructure in community centers, libraries and non-profits.