Matt Dolan, Founder and CEO of the Global Teaching Project, testified before the Mississippi State Senate at the May 13, 2020 Joint Hearing of the Committee on Education and Committee on Universities and Colleges on Distance Learning. Mr. Dolan and other experts, including Dr. Carey Wright, Mississippi State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Andrea Mayfield, Executive Director of the Mississippi Community College Board, as well as representatives from major area internet service provider including C-Spire and AT&T, were called to testify about how to implement a successful statewide distance curriculum amidst the challenges wrought by COVID-19, with broadband access being the primary obstacle to effective implementation.
“I have witnessed these deficiencies many times at our schools—I have seen classes huddle around a single cell phone to observe a tutoring session, struggle to make sense of a flickering or frozen image, strain to hear fractured audio, or, more often, simply fail to connect. Broadband access is, of course, even worse in the residential areas of the communities we serve, a shortcoming that greatly impedes the academic progress of our students,” said Dolan.
Notwithstanding these challenges, Dolan emphasized that “our experience has emphatically affirmed the premise of our program: there are bright students throughout rural Mississippi who, regardless of their circumstances, have the aptitude and work ethic needed to excel academically if given quality instruction and sufficient academic supports.”