In his May 5, 2013 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, “FCC priority should be faster bandwidth,” Blair Levin contends the FCC should focus on increasing available Internet bandwidth in U.S. communities. He compares available access speeds and prices in United States cities to Japan, which is leaps and bounds faster and cheaper.
Levin is correct to argue the United States government needs to adopt policies to promote faster broadband access. The FCC and other government agencies also need to pay attention to continuing policies of draconian content filtering in many public schools, however, which sadly remain opaque or hidden to most community constituents besides students and teachers. While some school districts have adopted more balanced approaches to content filtering in the past several years, allowing teachers to bypass content filters and allowing greater student access to websites for interactive publishing, we still have a long way to go. The FCC and other government agencies could do a lot of good by promoting research and amplifying research that highlights these restrictive content filtering policies in some schools.
As educators and advocates for blended learning in our schools, we need to find ways in upcoming months to highlight the digital divide that continues between school and business Internet access in the United States. Many school districts and school leaders continue to resist the imperative to help learners of all ages become responsible publishers online. As more educators work to Map Media to the Common Core in the years ahead, hopefully these dynamics can constructively change without intervention from the federal government.
If you are an academic researcher or someone interested in research to promote improvement in schools, consider researching the need for balanced filtering in education.