From: Geoff Haines-Stiles <>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 1996 23:08:32 -0800 (PST)

Dear Discuss-lfm, and Advocates,

I hope this does not seem off-target. There are some stats about use of
computers and the world of work that seem interesting, and perhaps will
make your administration look more favorably on what you are doing. This
posting comes from a Benton Foundation list that is discussing the value
of an e-rate, and has veered into "is just providing technology enough, or
do we need to do more?" Of course, the online aspect of PTK/LFM puts the
content first, but the attempt to make user-friendly Guides, video and
online experiences, and integrate all of them, does seem to me to ateempt
to do two things:

1) generate positive examples and experiences which show new telecomms.
are not just fads and gimmicks, but work... and

2) use content to drive the process, rather than "in principle" adoptions
of new technologies. 

OK, now back to worrying about funding for LFA 2 and how to integrate Red
Rover, Red Rover into LFM program 2. But your thoughts, please.


Geoff Haines-Stiles
Project Director, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE and the LIVE FROM specials
vox: 973.656.9403 fax: 973.656.9813 mobile: 908.305.7061
"electronic field trips to scientific frontiers"
Real Science, Real Scientists, Real Locations, Real Time

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 11:13:10 -0500
From: "Patricia F. Lewis" <>
Subject: Re: Universal service -- Mark & Kevin

Kevin said:
>> No doubt many schools -- urban, suburban and rural -- face problems that
>> appear more pressing than connecting kids to the Internet. But the Clinton
>> Administration and the 104th Congress recognized some long-term trends re:
>> employment and technological literacy. The workforce of the not-too-distant
>> future will have to be able to use information tools.
>> At a time we as a country re-negotiated the compact with telecommunications
>> providers, we gained a payoff so that these tools can become affordable in
>> schools and libraries. These proposed discounts are part of a solution.
>> Continued commitment to these community institutions is another part of the
>> solution.

Mark said:
>Simply saying that there is a long term trend towards increased 
>reliance on off-site electronic information doesn't mean that it is 
>reasonable for the federal government to tell schools that they can 
>have $X as long as they spend it on IS.
>I have probably not been very clear on my point.  It do not believe 
>that utility regulators are in the best position to know how much 
>schools should spend on IS versus anything else.  Schools are.  If 
>the White House and the Congress believe that they know 
>something that the schools and parents do not, then the governmental 
>leaders should provide the information rather than take charge of 
>school budgets.  Leadership can be provided without control.
>BTW, you are correct that the discounts were part of a deal.  However,
>telecom providers won't fund the payoff.  Customers will.

I'm saying:

Look at universal service as a small part of the grand scheme of things.  It
is true that the number of jobs requiring computer skills is growing and
these jobs pay higher wages (sorry if the spacing on these charts does not

	1984	1989	1993
work	24.6	36.8	45.8

Complete data is available on the Census Bureau Web Site at
Family Income	% of workers using computers
Less than $10,000	18.3
$10,000 - 14,999	23.7
$15,000 - 19,999	31.7
$20,000 - 24,999	36.0
$25,000 - 34,999	42.8
$35,000 - 49,999	50.6
$50,000 - 74,999	61.5
$75,000 and over	67.0

(I had to extrapolate on this one b/c I can't find an actual wage site yet)

Complete data is available on the Census Bureau Web Site at

Okay, that said, where should childen learn these job skills?  I believe
that children should learn these skills in school.  BUT, there are currently
great disparities in school access (see Table 1 of the Dept of Ed's
"Advanced Telecom in the US Pub Elementary and Secondary Schools) as well as
overall school and educational quality.  Just read a book like Savage
Inequalities and you'll see what I mean.

I know customers, inccl myself, will pay more because or this.  But how much
do I pay because people can't find make a living wage now?  I'd rather pay
my money to educate a child than to pay welfare.  

Concerning letting the schools decide, there ARE administrators, teachers,
and parents who do NOT believe that computers/internet in the classroom can
make a difference.  Also, yes, there are MAJOR structural problems in our
schools that need to be fixed.  But to say that all those things need to be
fixed before offering computers is a little like telling Cinderelaa there is
just one more chore for her to do before going to the ball.  It will never
happen.  There will always be something deemed more important to the
immediate future.  I think computers are A PART -- not a silver bullet -- of
solving this problem.  I am not saying "build it and they will come."  Of
course there is training and ongoing funding and support that needs to
happen as well.  

Plus, there is something not measurable by social science that I think
computers contribute to.  In reading Savage Inequlaities, the children at
the low (very low!) income schools expressed a hopelessness that no one
cared about them.  When they visited the more wealthy schools for sports
games, theyc ould SEE the disparities.  From my anecdotal readings of
children who have been given access to computers, it makes them feel like
someone cares about them -- like they are worth spending the money on.  It's
not the ONLY way, it is A way.  So many schools, just by their appearance,
tell the children attending them that they don't matter.
Anyway, I guess I'm done. 


  Patricia Figliola Lewis
  University of Florida	                    
  PhD Student, Telecom Policy & Law