The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is urging school board members to contact their representatives in Congress asking them to support the inclusion of $10 billion in the FY2022 budget reconciliation package, currently under negotiations in Washington to help close the “homework gap.” The homework gap is a term commonly used when referring to the lack of equitable student access to high capacity broadband at home.
This funding would be allocated to the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). The ECF equips millions of students across the country with the technology and broadband connections needed to complete homework assignments and research projects, as well as college/apprenticeship applications, and job applications. The fund was created to help schools and libraries keep students, staff, and patrons connected during the COVID-19 health emergency; thereby, helping students receive virtual classroom instruction and complete homework/research assignments. The funding is available for the purchase of laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connections for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons in need, and is available to support off campus learning even if schools have returned to full time in-person instruction. More information on the Emergency Connectivity Fund program is available here.
The NSBA has provided a document here which includes talking points school board members may use when contacting their congressional representatives about this issue, as well as links to the House and Senate directories for information on how to contact those lawmakers.