What would you give up for a reliable internet connection? A heated room? An ergonomically correct chair? A perfectly positioned monitor? It’s a tough decision and one that 2.1 million Californians have to make each day.
Yes, even here in Silicon Valley, where the internet is said to be invented, thousands of students do not have a reliable internet connection at home. How do we know? Stop into a Starbucks, Jack-in-the Box or McDonalds and look around. Don’t forget to scan the cars in the parking lot of Target or Walmart where you will see parents sitting patiently while their child attends class online or completes a homework assignment. Better yet, the parent and child may be checking the “parent portal” of their school district to locate pertinent information, check grades or apply for college.
In 2015, the East Side Union High School District in partnership with San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announced one of the nation’s first efforts at creating a district-wide network that reaches the homes of students and families by free wireless internet access in some of the city’s least connected neighborhoods.
In 2019, Liccardo in partnership with California Emerging Technology Fund launched the Digital Inclusion Fund, a $24 million public/private partnership that aims to close the digital divide in San Jose.