E-Learn Act aims to level student playing field across ‘digital divide’
A new bill introduced by state Sen. Shelley Mayer is aiming to level the playing field for thousands of students who are learning at home due to the pandemic.
The E-Learn Act intends to help marginalized and low-income students close the "digital divide" by providing them with free broadband service during the COVID-19 crisis.
“The E-Learn bill says that every student, aged 5-21, in any school or place of education, is eligible for…free 24-hour quality broadband access at their residence, house, apartment trailer park or elsewhere," said the state senator.
As part of the proposal, telecommunications companies would be charged an assessment that would pay for the program.
The bill is currently in the state Legislature and has the support of more than 20 senators, who are co-sponsors. That number is expected to increase as more senators are expected to get on board.
Yonkers School Superintendent Dr. Edwin Quezada is also a proponent of the bill. He believes the plan will help the estimated 70% of children in the school district who qualify as low income.
The school district currently pays for hot spots for qualifying families in a program that started last summer.