EdTech Hero: Reg Leichty, advocating for E-rate since its inception


Reg Leichty may not be employed by any one state, but he works on behalf of all of them.

Leichty, as founder and partner of the Washington, D.C.-based firm Foresight Law + Policy, works closely with and represents state education agencies, school districts and national associations focused on education technology, including the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA).

He has devoted his career to connecting classrooms across the country, specifically through the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate and Lifeline programs.

When the FCC was moving to update and improve the E-rate program a few years ago, Leichty was in the thick of it, pushing for connectivity-related data collection, higher engagement in the policy process and better awareness about new regulations among the edtech community.

But his relationship with the E-rate program actually began almost two decades earlier, when the federal program was first established. Leichty served as telecommunications and technology adviser to Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., who was critical in creating E-rate through the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

His role in Kerrey’s office provided Leichty his first meaningful exposure to education policy, he told EdScoop. That initial interest only grew when Leichty began his legal career in 2003.

In advising and supporting education agencies, which have also included the Data Quality Campaign and the National Association for State Boards of Education, Leichty has educated state leaders on the importance of student data privacy and spoken to Congress on the value of open educational resources (OER).

“Reg is a thoughtful and committed advocate working to ensure that schools are providing students with the education that will allow them to flourish in the 21st century,” Irene Spero, chief strategy office for CoSN, told EdScoop. “He does not hesitate to step up and delve into the issues, providing analysis and well-reasoned recommendations for implementation.”

Read more from EdScoop’s series “EdTech Heroes: 25 State Leaders Making a Difference.”