April 21, 2020


Legislation would close digital divide as schools rely on tele-teaching

Newton, MA – Congressman Joe Kennedy III today cosponsored Congresswoman Grace Meng’s Emergency Educational Connections Act of 2020 to ensure students have internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation would create a special $2 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to disburse funds to schools and libraries, and Tribal schools and libraries, to purchase Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and internet-connected devices for students and patrons.

“Combatting stubborn educational inequities requires bridging the digital divide that leaves too many students behind, not just during a global health pandemic, but every single day,” said Congressman Kennedy. “Once again, COVID-19 has exposed a systemic inequity that we must confront today or else an entire generation of America’s kids will be penalized by our failure to make good on the promise of equal education for all. Under the leadership of Congresswoman Meng and Whip James Clyburn, we can include this critical funding in the next package and begin to right this historic wrong.”

“COVID-19 has forced over 55 million students to stay home during this national health crisis and adjust to a new future that requires internet access and a computer to continue their studies,” said Congresswoman Meng. “Before this crisis occurred, students without internet access at home were part of the so called ‘homework gap’ and struggled to keep up with their peers who have internet access at home. Today, with schools across the country having moved learning entirely online, including class meetings, explanations of new content, virtual field trips, homework, and learning exercises, this gap seems more like a chasm. Students without internet service will fall further behind as students with internet service at home can continue advancing in their studies. Whether they live in urban centers, suburbs, or exurbs, or small communities in rural America, all students require internet connectivity to succeed during this pandemic. I urge my colleagues to support my bill and ensure it is included in the next coronavirus relief package.”


For Immediate Release:
April 21, 2020

Dan Black (202) 225-5931