Clinton’s Tech Agenda Would Bring Broadband, STEM Focus

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has announced a technology and innovation agenda that would ensure that all homes in the United States have access to affordable, high-speed internet.

The announcement is one that could have a significant influence on education, as more classrooms are requiring students to use technology in order to complete their homework.

“The Democratic candidate … sets an ambitious goal to bring affordable, high-speed internet service to all U.S. households by the end of her first term, citing the success of the White House’s efforts on this front over the past seven years, and pledges to back internet freedom efforts worldwide,” says Politico Magazine.

The Obama administration has worked to get Internet access to low-income households for the last seven years, with the most recent effort being a public-private collaboration introduced last year called ConnectHome.

Clinton said she plans to continue the efforts made in this area with the goal of all Americans having broadband access by 2020.

In addition, Clinton plans to support the training of 50,000 computer science teachers to take place over the next 10 years.  By doing so, she would like to see all students in the US gain exposure to computer science prior to graduation.

She would also like to offer incentives to students who enter certain fields like technology and computer science.  Students who enter the tech industry would be given the option to defer their student loans without interest for up to three years.  Meanwhile, graduates who create their own tech startup would have the opportunity to have their student loan debt completely forgiven.

Clinton said her administration would offer loan forgiveness of up to $17,500 after five years of serving underprivileged communities or launching businesses that “provide measurable social impact and benefit.”

She added that federal financial aid would be extended to programs such as “nanodegrees, accelerated learning programs for computer coding, career and technical training, certificates for ‘specializations,’ and online learning.”  The Clinton campaign has pledged to invest $10 billion in these types of programs and introduce incentives for universities to accept them as credit toward graduation.

The focus of the agenda is on closing the talent gap that currently exists between students who are educated in computer science and the number of jobs available in that field.  Clinton said she would continue the “Computer Science Education for All” initiative introduced by President Obama, and said she would also launch a new series of grants that would double the investment made by the federal government in computer science in public schools.

The agenda would also place billions in grants for tech-driven job training as well as education for minorities.  In addition, Clinton plans to fast-track green cards for students from other countries studying STEM in the US, writes Monica Nickelsburg for GeekWire.

While no word has been given concerning how much this agenda would cost, and no budget has been proposed, The Washington Times reports that Clinton plans to make the agenda her top priority for the first 100 days in office if elected.  She is the first candidate to announce a technology agenda for this election.

Kristin Decarr

Kristin Decarr

Kristin Decarr

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