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Provide $7.6 billion to address the homework gap during the pandemic

Please support the $7.6 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund for the FCC’s E-Rate program included in S. Con. Res. 5.
Submitted on: February 11, 2021

Committee on Energy and Commerce 
U.S. House of Representatives 
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative:  

On behalf of our 3 million members and the 50 million students they serve, for tomorrow’s markup we urge you to support the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2021, S. Con. Res. 5. Votes on this issue may be included in NEA’s Report Card for the 117th Congress.

Specifically, we urge you to support the $7.6 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund included in S. Con. Res. 5 to address an aspect of the digital divide known as the homework gap—the inability to do schoolwork at home due to lack of internet access—via the E-Rate program administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This one-time emergency funding would be used to help schools procure and distribute Wi-Fi hotspots, connected devices, and other technology to K-12 students so they can participate in remote learning, after-school enrichment activities, and programs to address the loss of learning opportunities during the pandemic. 

Nationwide, the homework gap afflicts 16 million students—roughly 1 in 3. A disproportionate share of those students are Black, Brown or Indigenous, come from low-income households, or live in rural areas. Every day that passes, the lack of internet access causes them to lose still more learning opportunities. Previously enacted legislation allowed COVID-19 emergency funding to be used to help close the homework gap, but did not provide the dedicated funding necessary to ensure fairness and equity as the trusted and long-established E-Rate program would do.

Please support the $7.6 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund for the FCC’s E-Rate program included in S. Con. Res. 5. 

Marc Egan
Director of Government Relations
National Education Association

National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.