CDE Creates New Digital Divide Task Force

Unequal access to modern technology has quickly become the leading concern facing education departments and school districts nationwide. To help bridge the gap, California Superintendent Tony Thurmond has announced The Closing the Digital Divide Task Force. The new body will “will help facilitate donations, create more publicity, and cast a bigger spotlight on those who can help,” according to a press release. “It also plans to hold a public hearing where internet service providers may be called upon to testify on their efforts to improve internet access during the pandemic.” 

"This task force signals a new era, that California is now working with focus and urgency to close the digital divide in the most concrete way we have ever seen,” said Thurmond. “COVID-19 is a public health crisis in California and all around the world, but it’s also revealed other crises like the technology gap that has persisted for too long, leading to opportunity and achievement gaps for California’s students.”

State Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), who chairs the Senate Education Committee, will co-chair the task force.

The CDE has been hyper-focused on expanding access to internet connection and technology amid new distance learning measures. It recently partnered with a nonprofit, the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation (CDE Foundation), on the creation of the new California Bridging the Digital Divide Fund.

“The fund is a joint effort of the Governor’s Office, State Board of Education, CDE, and CDE Foundation, and is a centralized resource for state leadership to provide essential device, connectivity, and related digital learning supports for pre-K-12 students, teachers, and their families,” according to the CDE. Individual donations are accepted here