By Ben Crump, Opinion Contributor
Among the cascading tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating and disproportionate impacts on Black and Hispanic Americans is this: Without digital devices or a data source, children of color who are already disadvantaged in our education system will miss out on a year of schooling. That adds even higher peril to children who are already at great risk of not performing on
But there is a ready answer. Fittingly, it is called “Lifeline.”
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The most recent evolution, to accommodate broadband, was demonized by some Republicans who labeled it the “Obamaphone” program. Here’s a modest but timely proposal, given President Trump
The digital divide is particularly wide for communities of color. According to
In the real world where these folks live, it simply cannot be done.
If President Trump wants to do the right thing and solve this problem quickly, he could direct the FCC to take these steps for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis:
- Ensure that Lifeline beneficiaries have access to 4G where available, and enable hot spot access;
- Temporarily suspend the limit of one device per household, and encourage Lifeline providers to make available larger-screen devices like tablets;
- Temporarily lift the 3-gigabyte data limit and instruct providers to deliver up to 40 gigabytes of data;
By modernizing the Lifeline program in the midst of this epic crisis, the Trump administration could make it a true lifeline for disadvantaged children who are out of school for the foreseeable future and out of options to catch up and close the achievement gap.