We must close the digital divide in Kentucky. – Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

We must close the digital divide in Kentucky.

Given the global health pandemic, we support Gov. Beshear’s decision and the Kentucky Education Association’s call to put student and teacher health and safety first.

However, we urge our schools, districts, and communities to put all creative energy into re-imagining how we deliver on the promise and constitutional obligation of public education in these extraordinary times. This may include enhanced digital learning delivery and community learning pods to provide in-person supports in much smaller, safely distanced settings.

More than 240,000 K-12 public school students have inadequate internet access. This number exponentially increases when we consider the number of college students needing adequate internet access, the number of families working remotely, and individuals needing remote access to healthcare.

The Prichard Committee urges Gov. Beshear to appoint an emergency working group to close the digital divide. This working group should include legislators and state-based groups to design an emergency plan to ensure affordability and access the adequate broadband infrastructure. We will continue to push Congress for more federal funding to close the digital divide.

The Prichard Committee will be mobilizing our membership, citizens, businesses, and government entities from all corners of the state to take action in local communities for an “all hands on deck” approach to investing in our future. We cannot allow the coronavirus to take us off course. Now is the time for innovation, now is the time to urgently re-imagine how we deliver on the promise of public education, for a Big, Bold Future.

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