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Half of public schools are connected

Nearly half the nation's public schools have access to the Internet, up from 35 percent a year ago, according to a survey released by the Education Department on Friday.

Nearly half the nation's public schools have access to the Internet, up from 35 percent a year ago, according to a survey released by the Education Department on Friday.

However, even though 50 percent of schools had Internet access, only 9 percent of classrooms were connected. But even that's an improvement over the 3 percent of classrooms that were connected in 1994.

Not surprisingly, there's a big disparity between the haves and the have-nots; the bigger, richer suburban schools lead the way. Schools with many minority or low-income students are connecting, too, but lag far behind their well-heeled counterparts, the survey of 917 schools revealed.

The findings come on the heels of President Clinton's announcement Thursday of a five-year, $2 billion program to put computers in all American classrooms and link them to the Internet.