Dear Chairman Pai,
You have always claimed that your top priority is to close the digital divide. Right now you have a historic opportunity.
IT ONLY TAKES A COUPLE OF CLICKS! SEND YOUR LETTER HERE.
Low-income, rural, Black, Latinx and Native students have always been victims of the digital divide, but the COVID pandemic has turned that injustice into an urgent crisis.
Anywhere from 15 million to 17 million students lack a reliable broadband connection, even as schools across the country are forcing them to learn remotely.
Think about it. These youth are required by law to attend school—but we don’t provide them a way to get online!
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Yes, there are many schools coming up with creative solutions on their own, and some cities like Chicago and Cleveland have partnered with industry and philanthropy to try and close the gaps.
But these patchwork solutions are only highlighting the profound inequity of simply plugging holes in a dam that was already set to burst.
SEE MORE INFORMATION ON DIGITAL INCLUSION WEEK
There are a number of things within your power at the FCC that would help immediately, such as allowing E-RATE to support home internet access, pressuring industry to do more, or acknowledging that the commission’s deployment reports are not revealing the depth and breadth of the access divide.
IT’S ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY FOR BLACK STUDENTS TO HAVE ACCESS!
But one very simple thing you could do right now is simply use the power of your position to speak out on behalf of those millions of students. Without internet access, they do not have a voice.
You can be a voice for them by reminding industry, legislators and America that a connection to the digital mainstream is essential for a functioning economy and educational system.
Please, Chairman Pai, remain silent no longer.
BLACK TEACHERS FROM ACROSS THE NATION SPEAK ON THE DIGITAL DIVIDE AND THE ERASURE OF BLACK STUDENTS.
Now, during Digital Inclusion Week, use your platform to expand access for our children most in need.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.