Closing the Homework Gap

Thank you to the FCC and the many organizations with which Common Sense Kids Action partnered to help bring high-speed internet to low-income children. By Danny Weiss
Closing the Homework Gap

As the year comes to an end, we are thankful for efforts this year by President Obama's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the many organizations with which Common Sense Kids Action partnered to help bring high-speed internet connections to low-income families with school-age children.

No longer a luxury, high-speed internet is critical for schoolwork, finding a job, and participating in civic life. And with seven out of 10 teachers assigning homework on the internet but 5 million low-income households with school-age children lacking high-speed access, there is a real homework gap that leaves disadvantaged kids even further behind. This spring, we won a major victory toward closing this gap by getting the FCC to modernize its 30-year-old Lifeline program -- which offers a subsidy from phone bills to low-income households for telephone service -- to include a high-speed internet option.

Common Sense Kids Action made Lifeline modernization a top priority and stuck with it as part our Broadband at School and at Home campaign to ensure every classroom and household in America can have access to high-speed internet. Of course there's a lot of work yet to do, to implement broadband Lifeline in states across the country and to take other steps to ensure all Americans have access to affordable high-speed internet at home and at school.

As Common Sense's founder and CEO Jim Steyer said this spring, "High-speed internet access is an essential part of learning today, just like textbooks, rulers, and science labs." Homework, he said, "is assigned online, and there are incredible learning apps and websites and a wealth of information and research online. But too many people today -- including millions of young students -- still cannot access those essential tools at home, where so much learning takes place."

We're thankful for this positive step forward for kids, and we are committed to making progress in 2017 and beyond.

At Common Sense Kids Action, we're working every day to make the world a better place for kids. Join our efforts to make kids our nation's top priority -- become a Kids Action Advocate today!

About Danny Weiss

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Danny was previously Common Sense Kids Action's Vice President of Federal Policy. Read more

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Comments (2)

Parent written by Elizabeth S.

Obviously kids in low-income households should have the same advantages as kids in more privileged ones. However, let's not forget that a large body of research is showing that too much screen time has a detrimental effect on learning - specifically on attention and memory skills. Screen time can also take away time from unstructured play, exercise, and outdoor time - all of which are essential for health and learning (computer technology can be a great tool, but is NOT essential for health or learning). The Commonsense Media Census showed that lower income and less education was strongly correlated with significantly more personal screen time. Why don't we work to introduce more outdoor education programs in schools, and on educating parents and teachers about the benefits of cutting back on the computer time while encouraging unstructured play and time outside?
Adult written by chrijeff50

All very well, but if HSI is vital for "finding a job, and participating in civic life" (neither of which things kids do, much), we need to make it available to households that don't have children, too.