Today, 7 in 10 teachers assign homework that requires Internet access. Yet, one in three households do not subscribe to broadband services of any speed at home. According to the Pew Research study, we have five million families with kids at home that go without regular broadband access.
Rosenworcel succinctly referred to this overlap as the “homework gap” and emphasized that this is “the cruelest part of the digital divide.”
The lack of access can potentially create a situation where students with access to broadband at home will have an even greater advantage over those students who can only access these digital resources at their public school.
What does this mean for communities of color?
If we don’t act and address this issue, millions of Latino and African American school-aged children will be left behind.
In a world dominated by science and technology, it is no longer a luxury but an absolute necessity for our kids to be equipped with the knowledge and digital skills in order to compete in a global economy.
We, at LATISM, believe that everyone plays a vital role in this transformation.
The power of broadband technology cannot be overstated and no population has more to gain than the low-income families and their children that lack access to broadband at home.
We agree with Commissioner Rosenworcel when she stated that we need to do more to help more kids access broadband after-school hours.
The FCC set up a program called “Lifeline” which supports telephone access to 14 million low income household. It provides phone subsidies to low income households. We believe the support should not be limited to voice services. Instead, it should be extended to provide consumers with more options, such as broadband Internet service.
Expanding broadband access and making more Wifi available — for more students in more places — is a step in the right direction.
We applaud Commissioner Rosenworcel’s commitment to bridge the homework gap and give students a fair chance to compete in a digital global economy.