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[ba-ohs-talk] Hyperscope Launch Plan & The Digital Promise Project: A Digital Gift to the Nation

I found and read an interesting article published in the Carnegie
Reporter (Fall 2001) posted on EECS bulletin boards at UC Berkeley that
let me to:    (01)

The Digital Promise Project
c/o The Century Foundation
41 East 70th St.
New York, NY 10021
Tel: (212) 535-4441
Fax: (212) 535-7534
E-mail: < digitalpromise@tcf.org >    (02)

Using part of the proceeds derived from the sale of wireless frequencies
in the electromagnetic spectrum to underwrite the development of new
content is long overdue and is an idea whose time has certainly come.
< http://www.digitalpromise.org/events.asp >    (03)

Why A Digital Gift to the Nation ?    (04)

          "Some of the people we’ve talked to in government
          bring up this same argument. Why do you need a
          public trust fund when the marketplace is already so
          focused on the digital world and the Internet? Our
          answer is, well, why do you need public libraries in
          this country when we already have bookstores? And
          why do we need public parks if we’ve got country
          clubs? Why do we need public hospitals if we’ve got
          private medical institutions? We’re talking about
          the same thing: the need for a public response to a
          public need, particularly in this time of great
          technological change and development. That’s the
          debate we have to have, as a nation: do we leave the
          chance creation of “public good” solely in the hands
          of the private sector or do we, proactively,
          identify what needs to be done and put a system in
          place to see that those needs are met—not only in a
          timely fashion but with creativity, with innovation,
          and with sufficient resources to ensure that every
          citizen is given access to the enrichment that new
          technologies can bring to life and learning? It’s
          our hope that when you talk to legislators on this
          level—confront them with the history of the
          Northwest Ordinance and the Morrill Act and the G.I.
          Bill—they’ll say to themselves, You know, that’s
          right. None of the benefits that were a direct
          result of those initiatives would have come about if
          there wasn’t a commitment on the part of the
          government to the public sphere. The Digital
          Investment Opportunity Trust is designed to do for
          education, in its broadest sense, what the National
          Science Foundation does for science, the National
          Institutes of Health do for medical research, and
          what ARPA (now known as the Defense Advanced
          Research Projects Agency, or DARPA) does for
          >    (05)

The organizations funding the Digital Promise Project are:
< http://www.digitalpromise.org/funders.asp >    (06)

Carnegie Corporation of New York
The Century Foundation
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Open Society Institute    (07)

-Tom Kalil, Special Assistant to the Chancellor of the University of
California at Berkeley    (08)

Tom Kalil examines the opportunities and challenges of an organization
such as the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust (DO IT) must become.
< http://www.digitalpromise.org/potential.asp >    (09)

Summary of New America Foundation Forum on DO IT, held April 26, 2002,
in Washington DC.    (010)

          "Because the airwaves are owned equally by all
          Americans, revenue from spectrum auctions and fees
          could be earmarked for reinvestment in new public
          assets for the digital era-including quality
          children's programming, educational innovation,
          digitizing our cultural inheritance, and expanding
          our civic discourse. A spectrum trust could help to
          fulfill the public interest obligations of
          broadcasters and other commercial spectrum users. A
          proposal to accomplish these ends, the Digital
          Opportunity Investment Trust (DO IT) follows in the
          footsteps of historic government reinvestments such
          as the Morrill Act, which established land-grant
          colleges (including many of today's leading research
          universities), and the G.I. Bill, both of which
          benefited all Americans by expanding access to
          higher education."
          < http://www.digitalpromise.org/april26summary.asp >    (011)

The Digital Promise Report can be downloaded  .pdf files
< http://www.digitalpromise.org/report.asp >    (012)

Endorsement Letter for CEOs    (013)

          An Open Letter to America’s Leaders:    (014)

          "As the CEOs of leading high-tech companies, we are
          writing to express our strong support for expanding
          our Nation’s investment in innovative digital
          content to support education and life-long learning.
          Although the United States has made major strides in
          connecting schools, libraries and community centers
          to the Internet, we have not yet made a significant
          investment in cutting-edge content that will truly
          transform learning.    (015)

          A recent proposal authored by Lawrence K. Grossman
          and Newton N. Minow for a “Digital Opportunities
          Investment Trust” would address this urgent need.
          Under this proposal, the revenues from spectrum
          auctions would be set aside to create the Digital
          Opportunities Investment Trust, which would be under
          the auspices of the National Science Foundation. The
          Trust would support partnerships between
          educational, cultural and civic organizations aimed
          at expanding the universe of knowledge accessible to
          every American, and fostering innovative uses of
          emerging digital technologies.    (016)

          Imagine if:    (017)

             * Students were able to more intuitively
               understand difficult concepts in calculus and
               physics, using software that effectively takes
               advantage of simulation and information
               visualization;    (018)

             * Every state had an active program to share its
               culture and history online, by digitizing
               manuscripts, photographs, recordings and
               three-dimensional objects from
               museums,libraries, archives, and historical
               societies; and    (019)

             * The 20 percent of adults who currently read at
               the 5 th grade level or below had access to a
               sophisticated “reading tutor” that understands
               human speech, recognizes common mistakes, and
               adapts to individual learning styles.    (020)

          These are just a few of the possibilities that might be
          created by this proposal. We are also convinced that it would
          serve as a catalyst for additional investment from the private
          sector, given the priority that our companies are placing on
          building a world-class workforce.    (021)

          Throughout our Nation’s history, we have made bold investments
          to ensure an educated citizenry. The Land Grant Colleges Act
          of 1862 created the world’s preeminent system of public higher
          education, and the GI Bill of 1944 profoundly expanded
          educational opportunities for more than 20 million men and
          women who fought in World War II. As we enter the 21 st
          century, the time is right to make a similar commitment to
          ensuring that all Americans benefit from the Information Age.
          We look forward to working with a broad alliance of people and
          institutions to implement this important initiative."
          < http://www.digitalpromise.org/supporting_groups.asp >    (022)

What You Can Do To Help
Sample letter of endorsement for the Digital Promise to your Senator or
<  http://www.digitalpromise.org/SampleCongressionalletter.doc >    (023)

Dear Senator ____________    (024)

I want to bring your attention to an important new educational
initiative.  In their book, A Digital Gift to the Nation, former NBC
News and PBS president Larry Grossman and former FCC Chairman Newton N.
Minow propose that the federal government establish an independent
educational trust fund, financed by revenue from auctions of the
publicly-owned electromagnetic spectrum.  It follows the farsighted
precedent of the Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862, which provided revenue
from publicly-owned land to finance public higher education.    (025)

The Trust would stimulate innovative ideas and models designed to
enhance learning, broaden knowledge, encourage an informed citizenry,
bring the contents of the nation’s libraries, museums, universities and
schools into the digital age, and help these institutions teach the
skills and disciplines needed in an information-based economy. Creation
of this fund could help transform education, training and learning in
this country.    (026)

They call this Trust the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust (DO IT).
I applaud their initiative and urge you and your staff to investigate
these proposals and agree to join us in making DO IT a reality.  More
information is available on their website www.digitalpromise.org.    (027)

I welcome your comments and am happy to answer any questions you might
have.    (028)

Sincerely,    (029)