In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, school doors have closed around the country, many for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. As districts and educators work tirelessly to provide online learning opportunities, millions of students will face challenges completing new coursework because of inadequate home internet access.
The Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate program currently helps offset the cost of internet access in schools and libraries. The FCC has the power to allow E-Rate to fund home internet access for students in addition to schools and libraries, should they choose to do so. During this time of unprecedented national crisis, making this policy change would dramatically impact educational equity for millions of students. Additionally, as Congress considers additional emergency funding measures to address the crisis, national education groups like NASSP are asking for $4 billion in additional E-Rate funding to provide adequate support for those students.
We have long known that the "homework gap" unfairly hinders the ability of students living in rural areas, students of color, and students from low-income families to fully benefit from many of the educational opportunities made available by modern technology. With the current crisis dramatically shifting our children’s education to remote and online learning, it has never been more imperative to address this inequity.