Half of US Classrooms Wired

More than half (51 percent) of the instructional rooms in US schools had Internet access in 1998, according to a survey released by the US Department of Education.

Instructional rooms include classrooms, computer or other labs, libraries, and media centers. The Clinton administration has set a goal of having every classroom in the nation wired by the year 2000.

The results of the latest survey show a nearly two-fold increase from 1997, when 27 percent of the instructional rooms were wired for Internet access. In 1994, only 3 percent of classrooms were connected to the Net.

The percentage of US schools with Internet access increased from 78 percent in 1997 to 89 percent in 1998, and more than doubled from the 35 percent in 1994, according to the report Internet Access in Public Schools and Classrooms. The 1998 survey also showed that high-poverty and smaller schools were as likely to have Internet access as low-poverty and larger schools. In 1997, 63 percent of the poorest schools were connected, and 88 percent of large schools.

Schools in the Northeast had a lower proportion of rooms (39 percent) connected to the Internet, the survey found. The Central region had the best proportion at 61 percent.

The remaining problem isn’t the classrooms, but the teachers. Only 20 percent of the teachers surveyed in 1998 said they felt “very well prepared” to use modern technology in schools.

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