Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer released a report yesterday claiming that 75 percent of New York City’s public schools have Internet connections that operate at 10 megabits or less. Schools’ broadband speeds must be 100 times that by 2020, according to the Obama administration’s National Broadband Plan. Of the schools with the slowest speeds, the majority are clustered in, you guessed it, some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
Stringer’s report details the embarrassingly slow speeds students at the city’s public schools have to contend with when using Facebook or beefing on Twitter during passing period.
But it also plunges a knife into the Department of Education’s heart, laying the blame for the slow Internet squarely on their shoulders.
DOE shot back at the report, pointing out that they throttle Internet connection speeds, because running at maximum capacity is inefficient.
A DOE spokesperson told the Daily News that “they knowingly put out a document which drew inaccurate conclusions.”
An unremarkable finding of the report: Schools with the slowest Internet tend to be found in poorer neighborhoods, with the South Bronx and Brooklyn’s eastern edge with the worst showing.
The city has already burned $738 million in the last four years trying to update connection speeds across the school system, which has had some success. But exactly none of the city’s schools has Internet as fast as is called for by Federal government guidelines, which handicaps the city’s ability to institute emerging technologies in classrooms like e-books and new media curricular supplements.
If you’re the sort who’s titillated by policy white papers (I know I am), below is a copy of the report in full.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 21, 2013