As Maine goes, so goes the nation. Or at least we can hope so. Since this is an election year, I thought this might get your attention. The State of Maine, under Governor Angus King (now Senator) was one of the first States to require that computers be made part of public schools’ educational teaching and learning resources. See Maine Learning Technology Initiative began in 2002. Now nearly fifteen years later, many education and community activists are advocating for a broader initiative that would connect a a wider variety of Mainers across the State. Connecting institutions like libraries and parks is key to Intenet access for people with nowhere else to turn.
As recently reported in a national study, many low-income household are “smart-phone” dependent, making them more likely to suspend or cancel service because of financial problems. “And smartphones are less than ideal when it comes to filling out job applications or writing cover letters.” So the promise of connectivity for all Americans must be expanded to include more public institutions beyond our schools. Many of our citizens have nowhere else to turn.
Our public “anchor” institutions are the key. “Immediate action” by the Federal Communicatioms Commissiom and advocacy by other allied governmental and non-governmental organizations are the keys. This action remains long overdue.