Our Turn is thrilled by the news that the Biden administration has worked with 20 major internet companies to provide discounted internet service to low-income communities. The internet and technology are key components of our ever-changing educational landscape, and this agreement proves to be a huge step forward for numerous marginalized communities and students across the country who will now be able to learn and engage online stress and cost free.
In March of 2021, students from Our Turn advocated for those suffering from the digital divide - an inequality worsened by the pandemic. Limited broadband/tech access in communities of color, paired with a pandemic that forced everyone virtual, rapidly exacerbated long standing issues of racial inequity. This inequity extends into the adult lives of many - with white adults being more likely to have traditional broadband access like laptops and computers than Black and Hispanic adults.
In conversation with the Department of Education, Our Turn students representing diverse geographies shared stories of their peers, communities, and schools on how they struggled to access a vital educational tool.
This legislation will help students in all corners of the country, and revolutionize the way low-income households access healthcare, news, entertainment, and other resources to improve interconnectivity across our digitalized world. According to the Associated Press, the commitment will allow some 48 million households to secure reliable internet plans, often paid for by the federal government.
This show of solidarity for low-income families has been called a “game-changer,” altering the way we view broadband access. As students, we know high quality broadband is a requirement for economic mobility and wellbeing. We applaud the Biden administration alongside broadband companies for keeping the interest of students at the forefront. The Biden administration alongside the Department of the Education have taken a small step to better incorporate the feedback of young people at Our Turn - including broadband access, student inclusion in decision making, expansion of mental health supports, and more.
While we are excited by this progress, there is still work to be done to incorporate student feedback in decision making processes at the local and federal level. Our Turn is extremely committed to transforming the systems and institutions that continue to perpetuate inequities in education - we hope the Biden administration continues to support and advance this goal.