Editor’s note: While this is a Montana article, we are facing the same issue in Idaho.

Rural internet access has long been a priority for education advocacy groups. There’s been incremental progress and some victories; but it was one of so many issues in federal and state policy spheres, like a line of birds perched on a wire fence.

With the new coronavirus forcing sweeping school closures — Montana is out until at least April 10 — and abrupt orders to shift to remote learning, the status of internet access for teachers and students has come home to roost.

First, the good news, because this seems like a good-news-first time.

Major strides have been made in ensuring that schools have high speed internet, whether in Billings or Baker. A 2019 report declared the “classroom connectivity gap” closed, with 99% of schools now connected to high speed internet.

Read Full Article