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Schoolhouse Beat

For rural schools, digital connectivity can require resourcefulness and patience

Even where high-speed broadband exists, rural districts can lack the means to buy the technology that relies on that quality Internet connection, according to a story by the Atlantic and the Hechinger Report. Other common barriers include the need for teacher training, building re-wiring, computers and other basic resources.  

For example, in Garrett County, Md., more than $1.2 million in federal and state grants were available to update technology, but only about $119,200 was spent on actual computers for classrooms. About $471,600 was spent on infrastructure, about $391,500 was spent on the technology needed to administer tests and about $278,000 was used for computers for teachers.

The district made that decision because it didn’t have the infrastructure to support a more expanded use of computers, so it devoted more funds to improving the infrastructure first.

“There are so many competing priorities in places like that with limited funding,” Lillian M. Lowery, the Maryland state superintendent of schools, told the Atlantic. “We need to make a case and find partnerships.”

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