Legislators Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Expand Student Technology Supports
Last week, a bicameral group of 17 senators and 26 representatives introduced a bill that addresses the homework gap facing the 12 to 17 million students without access to the internet or proper devices, without which they are unable to complete homework assignments and participate fully in distance learning. The legislation expands federal efforts to provide schools and libraries with Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and internet-enabled devices that they can give to students, staff, and library patrons.
Led by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Representative Grace Meng (D-NY), the Securing Universal Communications Connectivity to Ensure Students Succeed (SUCCESS) Act will provide $40 billion over five years to extend the Emergency Connectivity Fund established by the American Rescue Plan.
Expressing the need to provide for students beyond the pandemic, Markey remarked “the homework gap is an educational inequity that long predates the current emergency, and we need to put the funding in place to ensure no student is forced to sit in a strip mall parking lot, hoping to connect to a local store’s internet in order to finish their homework.” He also emphasizes the benefits this legislation will carry for marginalized students, including those living in rural communities and communities of color.
CEC endorsed this legislation and has supported previous efforts to expand connectivity and close the homework gap.