The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on a specific aspect of the digital divide known as 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 or Hispanic, come from low-income households, or live in rural areas.
Students who don’t have access to the internet can’t participate in remote learning. In effect, they’re barred from the virtual classroom.
Support inclusion of the Homework Gap provisions of the HEROES Act 2.0 (H.R. 925) in the next COVID-19 emergency package. Passed by the U.S. House in September, HEROES 2.0 appropriates $12 billion in one-time emergency funds for the E-rate Program, administered by the Federal Communications Commission, to help schools procure and distribute Wi-Fi hotpots, connected devices, and other technology.
The trusted E-Rate program is the quickest, most efficient way to bridge the homework gap during this school year—the best way to ensure the students who need internet access get it and to distribute emergency funds equitably.