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How to Keep Our kids Connected Once the Pandemic is Over Introducing the Student Internet Equity Program

With each day that passes during the Covid-19 health crisis, achievement gaps grow wider for our nation’s school students who do not have access to high-speed Internet or the devices needed for distance learning. On September 10, NCTA, US Telecom, The Rural Broadband Association, and 

EducationSuperHighway announced the K-12 Bridge to Broadband program. 

This program is a positive step in the right direction. It lays the groundwork for a national solution by providing a framework for school districts and service providers to work together in identifying students who lack broadband service. The participating service providers and organizations should be commended for stepping up. 

Why We Must Expand the Definition of K-12 to Include the Internet and Computer for Every Child

The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the problems of the digitally disconnected student like nothing else. With the closing of some 118,000 public and private schools across the country — most through the end of the academic year and probably in the fall — more than 55 million K-12 students are now relying on some form of online distance learning. And many — especially the poor, African American, Latino, rural and native american children — are suffering academically because of access issues that too long have gone ignored.

We must use this public health crisis moment to write new rules that guarantee every K-12 student in America access to the Internet and a computer at home. Why? Let’s start with what we know.

Before the coronavirus pandemic turned the world upside down, Ashante Aponte, a bright 13-year-old from Washington, D.C., had a predictable after-school routine. Three times a week around 3:30 p.m., her mother Frances picked her up from school, along with her 12-year old brother Francisco, and made a swift path to the local public library.