Technology is an integral part of our lives. It is treated like a luxury, but it should be a right. By signing this petition, you are helping raise this concern to the people that have the power to ensure at least internet access to students. The petition is being presented to the FCC and its chairman, Ajit Pai.
As of this writing, the petition has around 38k signatures. Their goal to be heard is 50k.
While it has been promised, the truth is that many are being declined. Students and teachers are struggling enough during these unprecedented times. The least we can do is break down these barriers where help is needed most.
I dream of a day where every K-12 student is issued a computer (Chromebook) and free internet access while attending school. At present, this seems universally unattainable at the school or district level. That is why I suggest the US Government direct some of that COVID stimulus money toward the families with kids that need it most.
3 easy steps to Level the Education Playing Field
1) Negotiating an at cost price for Chromebooks.
2) Setting up a distributor(s).
3) Setup a Voucher Program.
If parents qualify, they receive a voucher for each registered K-12 Student in their household. They can then exchange it for a Chromebook. The distributors are then reimbursed by the US Government.
Why not PCs or Macs?
I suggest chrome books because most schools are leveraging the freely available Google Tools to provide remote learning. If they are not, they could easily make this transition. The computers are limited but are powerful enough to manage the majority of remote learning needs.
Many might prefer Windows or IOS machines for their advanced capabilities. However, they are more expensive and require more maintenance. Having all kids on the same device also simplifies tech support for already burdened schools that lack even the most basic tech support.
What About When School Returns to Normal?
Having essential tools is vital for all students regardless of how the learning is presented. As textbooks have been replaced, students are expected more and more to be able to access what they need online. The tools being used might be free and saving schools money, but they are useless if students cannot access them.
Even when students return to full in classroom learning, they need computers to do their homework.
I have considered an additional petition to support this concept. If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them in the comments below. I would love to get these ideas into the hands of people influential enough to make it happen.