SHLB, CoSN, SETDA and ALA Oppose the Eyes on the Board Act
May 14, 2024


 

For Immediate Release

MEDIA CONTACTS:

For SHLB: Saskya Cabral, scabral@shlb.org

For CoSN: Makenzie Carlin, mcarlin@fratelli.com

For SETDA: Jonathan Yang, jyang@setda.org

For ALA: Megan Janicki, mjanicki@alawash.org

 

SHLB, CoSN, SETDA and ALA Oppose the Eyes on the Board Act

 

Washington, D.C. (May 14, 2024)—Today, the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), and the American Library Association (ALA) sent a letter to Chairwoman Cantwell, Ranking Member Cruz and the other Members of the Senate Commerce Committee to oppose the Eyes on the Board Act section of the Kids Off Social Media Act (KOSMA).  

The “Eyes on the Board Act” (which is included as Section 2 of KOSMA) mandates that schools must restrict access to social media platforms on any services, devices, and networks supported by E-rate subsidies. Noncompliance with these regulations could result in schools being ineligible for E-Rate funding. 

The education community has expressed strong reservations about this requirement, emphasizing the critical nature of E-Rate funds in bridging the digital divide and advocating for educational autonomy:

“We appreciate efforts to protect children from social media risks, but using the E-rate program to enforce these policies could harm students and education,” said John Windhausen SHLB’s Executive Director. “Federal policymakers should not dictate to local school districts about how social media should or should not be used to meet the needs of their students.  It’s not fair that schools should have to risk losing their E-rate funding because of vague legislative language subject to uncertain interpretation by federal bureaucrats.  Let local officials tailor their social media guidelines to the needs of their communities.” 

"While we share the sponsors' concerns about protecting children from social media's potential harms, using the E-rate to force schools to police students' social media use is misguided and burdensome, especially for under-resourced districts,” said Keith R. Krueger, CEO of COSN. “Local communities, not the federal government, are best positioned to set appropriate technology use policies for their schools."

"As state leaders working to advance the use of technology to support teaching and learning, SETDA members are deeply concerned about the proposed Eyes on the Board Act. We strongly believe that decisions about social media use in schools should remain in the hands of local educators and administrators who understand the unique needs of their communities,” said Julia Fallon, Executive Director of SETDA. 

“So far, the swiftest way to bridge the digital divide has been empowering community anchor institutions like libraries and schools to connect their own residents, and they need local control to do that. More restrictions on E-rate from the federal government means more barriers to connectivity, needlessly widening digital gaps,” said ALA President Emily Drabinski. “We need to keep our eyes on the prize – a reliable broadband connection for students to learn and fully participate in the digital world.”

Read the full letter here.

 

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About SHLB:

The SHLB Coalition is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) public interest organization that supports open, affordable, high-quality broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. The SHLB Coalition is based in Washington, D.C. and has a diverse membership of commercial and non-commercial organizations from across the United States. To learn more, visit www.shlb.org.

 



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