Support Student Broadband Access in California
California's students need access to computers and broadband, at school and at home, to thrive in our rapidly changing digital world. But even in the home of the tech industry, a persistent homework gap divides students who have home broadband access and those who don't, perpetuating inequalities in the classroom. Common Sense recently surveyed over 1,200 K–12 teachers from across the U.S. on tech use and found that one in 10 teachers reported that a majority of their students do not have home access to the internet or a computer. At the same time, as grade levels increased, teachers were more likely to assign homework that required access outside of school.
Assembly Bill 1409 (Student Broadband Access) would address this gap by using existing state resources so more students would have broadband access.
This bill would:
● Clarify that schools, libraries, and community-based organizations with existing broadband networks supported by the California Teleconnect Fund could be used for homework gap projects.
● Direct the California Public Utilities Commission to support homework gap projects with funds from the Digital Divide Account for project associated with start-up costs.
Communities could use these funds for programs like Wi-Fi-enabled school buses or lending libraries of Wi-Fi hot spots, expanding Wi-Fi to areas that are safe for kids to work on homework. Closing this homework gap is key to addressing digital equity and ensuring that all California students, regardless of who they are or where they live, can take advantage of the educational opportunities that technology provides.