As students and teachers cross the threshold into a full year of remote learning, AT&T and leading nonprofit Connected Nation are continuing to work to put the connectivity solutions vital to education into the hands of those who need it most.
Today, AT&T is announcing that 25 California organizations will receive more than 8,000 free hotspots as well as free internet connectivity. They are part of more than 100 organizations and school districts that will benefit from a $10 million commitment by AT&T first announced last year to provide free one-year internet subscriptions and wireless hotspots to 35,000 vulnerable students across the country.1
One of the 25 California organizations benefiting from the connectivity donation is the Southeast Community Development Corporation. They will receive 500 free hotspots to help advance education and technology in the Los Angeles communities they serve.
“We’ve been focused on the digital divide for many years because we realized that’s where our kids were being left behind,” said Emma Hernandez, Interim Executive Director, Southeast Community Development Corporation in Los Angeles. “There’s no way around it – our students are having a hard time right now, and I know this connectivity will put them back on track to success.”
“By helping to expand connectivity for the students Southeast Community Development Corporation serves, we can play a role in narrowing the homework gap and helping address inequities associated with virtual learning.”Rhonda Johnson — President, AT&T California
“Organizations like Southeast Community Development Corporation are critical to serving and supporting some of the most at-risk students across California,” said Rhonda Johnson, president, AT&T California. “By helping to expand connectivity for the students Southeast Community Development Corporation serves, we can play a role in narrowing the homework gap and helping address inequities associated with virtual learning.”
“What makes this program so critical is that it seeks to help students who have been disproportionately disconnected from formal learning opportunities due to COVID-19,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, Connected Nation. “The investment being made through the AT&T K-12 homework gap program will not only allow these kids to fully participate in remote learning now, but also to catch up on learning lost during the pandemic. We must all work together to minimize and mitigate the impact that the pandemic has had on our must vulnerable youth.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, studies found that approximately one in five students in California lack high-speed Internet or an appropriate computing device at home.
While this homework gap is not new, the pandemic has heightened the challenges — most acutely in rural and under-resourced neighborhoods, where the effects disproportionately impact 1 in 3 students of color, as well as students with disabilities, and roughly 10 percent of all public school teachers.
Whether students are learning remotely or in the classroom, having access to affordable high-speed internet and devices is non-negotiable for successful learning outcomes.
In addition to contributions to organizations like Southeast Community Development Corporation, AT&T is expanding wireless affordability and flexibility for all schools in its service with unlimited wireless data plans that include content filtering services to support online safety protocols.
1 Selected recipients are required to agree to certain terms before receiving Internet subscriptions and wireless hotspots.