Spent some time today watching Michael Powell, former FCC chairman, talk about web 2.0 tools and their impact on education, medicine, and education. He talked about how broadband is the most important equalizer for the underprivileged. Like education of the 20th Century, the Internet and use of the collaborative tools their in will allow those who master them to play on an equal field with competitors across the globe. He remarked about the difference between rich students and poor students and their achievement. He noted that during the school year, students in low income areas make as much progress as students anywhere else. The difference is that in areas where students are not in poverty, they are engaged when they are not in school. They live in homes where technology is available and is valued. He said that kids in high socio-economic levels are continuing to be learners during the summer months where students in low socio-economic levels are not. The point he made that stuck in my head is that people are willing to pay 18% interest to own a big screen TV, but will not purchase a computer. We need to change our value systems. The rest of the world has caught us. They have longer school years. They have greater broadband availability and more wireless connectivity. I thought it was very ironic when he was finished speaking to the National Black Caucus of State Legislators about technology and Internet tools, they gave him a pen. A PEN! We have a long way to go!