Rep. Cheri Helt emphasized the internet access problem education stakeholders have been working on for months during an interim legislative days presentation.
According to the Oregon Department of Education, 75% of Oregon students are learning online and that creates an equity problem when not all students have the minimum connectivity necessary for classes, said Helt in the House Education Committee meeting. The Bend Republican is a former school board member.
To really grasp the challenges that inadequate home broadband internet access can pose, OSBA staff have talked with stakeholders statewide. We’ve heard about “ranch kids” in Harney county and students with a Portland address who have no access to high-speed internet. This is a challenge for students and families everywhere in Oregon.
We have taken concrete steps to address this challenge. We have worked with state agencies to give districts access to reduced-cost wireless hotspots. We have forged relationships with telecommunications companies and internet service providers. We have worked to make sure that this issue is always a part of the conversation about student and family needs.