The decision of many large school districts to continue remote learning this fall underscores the longstanding and urgent need to narrow the digital divide and close the “homework gap”—the inability to do schoolwork at home due to lack of internet access. Nationwide, as many as 16 million students are affected—nearly 1 in 3—and they hail from every state. A disproportionate share of those students are African-American, Hispanic, live in rural areas, or come from low-income families.
NEA believes the best approach is to work through the Federal Communications Commission’s trusted E-Rate program—not a new program that leaves room for winners and losers. The Emergency Educational Connections Act (S. 3690/H.R. 6563) would provide up to $4 billion for a one-time emergency fund, administered by E-Rate, to equip students with hot spots and devices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Email your members of Congress and tell them to include the Emergency Educational Connections Act (S. 3690/H.R. 6563) in the next COVID-19 package to ensure no student is barred from the virtual classroom this school year.