June 29, 2018

Luján and FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel Participate in Demonstration of Wi-Fi Enabled School Buses

[SANTA FE, NM] – Today, Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel joined Santa Fe Public School students in a demonstration of Google’s Rolling Study Halls. Santa Fe Public Schools is partnering with Google on their Rolling Study Halls initiative to give students with long commutes the ability to ride buses with Wi-Fi, devices, and an onboard tutor. During the bus ride, the students participated in a coding activity. After the bus ride, Luján and Rosenworcel participated in a digital divide discussion hosted by Santa Fe Public School.

“Students increasingly need access to the internet to complete their school work,” said Luján. “If air-travelers can have Internet access at 30,000 feet in a plane, then students on the ground should be able to have internet access to get their homework done.”

“The Homework Gap is the cruelest part of the digital divide,” said Rosenworcel. “For the 12 million students across the country and right here in New Mexico who are assigned homework but lack access to broadband internet at home, they are left offline and on the sidelines. Kudos to Congressman Lujan for his legislation, which would ensure that ride time on the school bus is also connected time.”

This week, Lujan introduced legislation to help students who are assigned homework that requires the internet, but who do not have broadband access at home. This part of the digital divide is what Commissioner Rosenworcel has coined the “Homework Gap.” This gap especially impacts low-income, rural, and tribal students who must find other ways to get online to complete their homework. Commissioner Rosenworcel believes no child should be left offline and in many New Mexico communities that struggle with access to broadband, students in those communities are put at a disadvantage. Luján’s legislation would allow the FCC’s E-Rate program to reimburse schools that place wi-fi technology on school buses carrying students.

“Technology is an integral part of students’ learning in the 21st century,” said Luján. “Turning students’ long commutes into time spent learning is a commonsense step toward closing the homework gap.”