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Cable in Today's Classrooms Readies Students For Tomorrow

The Opinion-page article, ''schools@telecom.bill,'' Aug. 14, suggested that only by legislation would America's students gain access to technology. It totally overlooked the fact that the cable television industry is already providing - at no cost - well over 80 percent of all students in the United States with their first ride on the information superhighway.

The cable industry's nonprofit Cable in the Classroom initiative enables more than 70,000 public and private K-12 schools to give students access to the first level of technology that could ultimately deliver interactive distance learning and the Internet, among other teaching resources.

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Since 1989, the cable television industry has spent over $350 million to provide more than 500 hours each month of educational, commercial-free programming at no cost to the schools. Cable networks such as CNN, Discovery, A&E, C-SPAN, Nickelodeon, BET, and Bravo provide quality educational programming for students.

Additionally, local cable systems around the country provide teacher- training programs so educators can learn how to use this new technology to best suit their students' needs. When schools are ready to go to the next level of technology, the cable industry is ready and willing to help them do so in a cost-effective way.

Access to technology does indeed break down barriers equalizing educational opportunities between wealthy and poorer school districts.

Cable in the Classroom programming can electronically transport students around the world, backward in time, to the moon, and under the sea in an era when schools often cannot afford field trips of any sort.

Gifted and challenged students work together on common projects, brought together by a medium that bridges different achievement levels.

This is a critical time for education. The cable industry is not waiting around to be told by the federal government to do something. We are acting now to help prepare students for jobs in the 21st century

Dr. Bobbi Kamil Alexandria, Va.

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Executive director

Cable in the Classroom

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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