[Skip to Content]
Top Story

Digital Equity Act Introduced in Congress

Posted on 04/24/2019

Digital Equity Act of 2019 graphic with three supportive bullet points and hashtag DigitalEquityNow

On Thursday, April 11, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), along with nine co-sponsors, introduced the Digital Equity Act of 2019.

The Digital Equity Act of 2019 would create two new annual grant programs of $125 million each, to be distributed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The $125 million formula grant program for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico will fund the creation and implementation of comprehensive digital equity plans in each state, while the $125 million competitive grant program will support digital inclusion projects undertaken by individual groups, coalitions, and/or communities of interest, and the funds will also support evidence-based research to measure the effectiveness of both.

The impetus for the legislation is clear, as technology is becoming a part of so many facets of our lives and there are fears about those who could be left behind. Most Americans who cannot access the internet on a daily basis come from underrepresented and historically marginalized communities, including individuals with disabilities, from low-income backgrounds, and those living in rural areas. The same holds for students without home internet access, many of whom are now expected to use digital learning every day to access class materials and complete homework assignments. Senator Murray’s office relied on information from the Pew Research Center, which estimates that 15 percent of school-aged children lack a high-speed internet connection at home. More recent data from the American Consumer Survey found that about 10 percent of students under age 18 lack either internet or computer access at home.

Nearly a dozen education organizations have endorsed the bill, including the American Library Association, the Consortium for School Networking, the International Society for Technology in Education, the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition, and the State Educational Technology Directors Association.

Stay tuned for more information on the fate of this bill. In the meantime, you can follow the Twitter hashtag #DigitalEquityNow External link opens in new window or tab for the latest developments.

Legislation: The Digital Equity Act of 2019 External link opens in new window or tab

Article: Digital Equity Act Would Provide $250M Annually to Address Digital Divide External link opens in new window or tab from EdSurge

Article: Edtech leaders praise $250 million 'Digital Equity Act' for state and local government External link opens in new window or tab from Edscoop

Article: The digital divide is worse than we thought External link opens in new window or tab from Techradar Pro

Training
Calendar
Find and register for training and conferences at the California Adult Education and Professional Development Web site.
 Upcoming Events External link opens in new window or tab
Administrators' Digest
Teachers' Digest
Brief articles of interest to California adult education administrators, and links to more information.
 Current Issue
 Past Issues
Announcements of OTAN online and face-to-face workshops and links to new teacher resources on OTAN.
 Current Issue
 Past Issues

Other News...

A Basic Guide to the Skilled Trades
The primary charge for adult education in California in 2019 is to prepare adults for...

How to Identify Technology-Using Teachers at Your School
Over the years, researchers have tried to make sense of how and why teachers have...

More Resources to Create an Accessibility-Friendly Environment
As we integrate more technology into our instruction, we need to be aware of barriers...

OTAN activities are funded by contract CN180031 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.