Net Neutrality

For me, it is simple to identify the worst part of being a high school student. It is not having to worry about GPAs, SATs, or any other acronym that comes with the modern high school experience. The worst part of being in high school is being young. Our opinions are often invalidated due to our youth. Any opinion on the Trump administration, national policies, elections, is ignored. Older generations tend to forget that we see the effects of national policies more clearly than they do. Whether it be the effects the rhetoric used in the past election cycle or the ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, high school students feel what the effects of national events in our everyday lives.

When it comes to the Federal Communication Commissions (FCC) dismantling of net neutrality, students will feel the affects of this much worse than any other groups. On Thursday, when net neutrality rules were repealed, three main things happened. Blocking websites, throttling the speeds of websites, and paid prioritization all became legal. The dismantlement of  Obama-era rules prohibiting blocking and throttling internet speeds will not affect schools as much as paid prioritization will. In the long term, the ending of the ban on paid prioritization could be detrimental to the K-12 education system.

At the heart of paid prioritization comes the ability for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to start offering pay-to-play deals. The fast lane of internet speeds could and will become dominated by large companies and people who have the ability to pay. This is where the public school system comes into play. In Colorado, one of the main problems our education system faces, stems from a lack of funding. Over 55% of Colorado school districts have to operate on a four day week, just to save money. Schools that can not stay open for a five day week will surely not be able to pay to have their schools receive faster internet speeds from their ISP. A modern day classroom though, relies on the internet. NPR cited a specific example of a school in Chattanooga that had students use an online resource from the University of Southern California. The University of Southern California placed a high definition camera on its scanning electron microscope which the students can control on a website and use to do experiments. This website and innovative classroom idea relies on “fast lane” internet speed. Now that schools may have to pay for “fast lane” speed means educational experiences like this one will start to disappear for these schools. The internet allows even the most secluded schools in Colorado to have the same classroom experience as schools within the Boulder Valley School District.

Of course, Ajit Pai was not thinking of the affects of the end of these regulations will have on the education system. This new deregulation of a national policy will create waves that will disrupt the K-12 education system. As a student, we will feel these waves reflect in our high school experience. Young students voices are as invalidated constantly; I hope that those on Capitol Hill creating these policies, will listen to our voices in the future.MLA Citations

“F.C.C. Repeals Net Neutrality Rules.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Dec. 2017, mobile.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/technology/net-neutrality-repeal-vote.html.

Figueroa, Ariana. “How A Deregulated Internet Could Hurt America's Classrooms.” NPR, NPR, 13 Dec. 2017, www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/12/13/570262813/how-a-deregulated-inte...could-hurt-america-s-classrooms.

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