This article discusses a new hotline set up to help students and families navigate this new school year. It was written by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny and superintendent William Hite Jr. One thing I have noticed in every article I have found is the increasing usage of the term "digital divide." The term has come to encompass the inequality that has become a pressing issue with online education: some don't have access to the technology needed and school districts across the country have been ill equipped to deal with this.
I think a future PECE essay comparing different strategies used to combat this digital divide would be interesting, and something I may explore later. Philadelphia has been able to distribute 85,000 Chromebooks to its students thanks to the help of Philadelphia’s business community, nonprofits, and charitable foundations.
A new initiative called PHLConnectED will provide internet for 35,000 families free of charge until June 2022. Residents can call 211 for information. I am surprised that at this program, considering it has only been a month since I have been keeping up with this information, such an ambitious project must be a recent creation.
The article claims it was made possible by "the creative thinking, collaboration and significant commitment of time, financial resources and talent of numerous City agencies, the School District, charter school leaders, and other partners" (Kenny and Hite).
They also say, "Comcast Corporation, The Lenfest Foundation, The Neubauer Family Foundation, The Philadelphia School Partnership, The William Penn Foundation, Hess Foundation and the Philadelphia Housing Authority all play a vital role." (Kenny and Hite).
The plan seems to use a similar foundation as pervious plans, giving a mixture of Comcast's Internet Essentials Plan to those who have housing able to provide broadband internet and T-Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots to those who are housing insecure.
Jim kenny and William Hite Jr., " Help All Students #LogOnPHL ", contributed by Andrew Rosenthal, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 1 October 2020, accessed 29 November 2023. https://energyrights.info/content/help-all-students-logonphl