WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), both members of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus, yesterday introduced the Every Child Connected Act, legislation that aims to reduce the digital divide between students with and without internet access, known as the Homework Gap.

“The COVID-19 pandemic further exposed the harsh reality that millions of students, including many in West Virginia, are at a significant disadvantage due to lack of broadband connectivity,” Senator Capito said. “Kids shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll be able to keep up with their assignments, interact with their teachers, or have access to the same online tools their peers have just because they aren’t able to use the internet. This bipartisan issue is one I’ve been focused on since I came to Congress, and the Every Child Connected Act would be a critical step forward in addressing the problem by redefining the classroom to include learning from home and bringing broadband to more schools and communities.”

“To close the ‘homework gap,’ we must ensure every child has access to internet services at home,” Senator Klobuchar said. “Our bipartisan legislation will expand the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program, helping us provide K-12 students with the resources they need to participate in distance learning.”

The Every Child Connected Act would:

  • Require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to redefine the term classroom to include distance learning occurring at the home.
  • Prioritize households where a child receives free or reduced lunch.
  • Assure the quality of a school’s network remains robust while extending broadband services to eligible households.
  • Require coordination among state and local municipalities and the Department of Education to assure E-Rate is utilized for distance learning taking place at the home.

Read a one-page summary of the bill here.

Read the full text of the bill here.

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