COVID-19 Response: Closing the Digital Learning Divide in California

As the COVID-19 pandemic shines light on existing inequities in California, the Heising-Simons Foundation has announced a $200,000 grant to Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation (CDE Foundation) to support the California Bridging the Digital Divide Fund (The CA BDD Fund).

The CA BDD Fund seeks to close the digital divide for all California public school students by providing essential devices, connectivity, and related digital learning supports for pre-K-to-12 students, teachers, and their families. Funds from this campaign will go directly to equip school districts with the resources they need to enable distance learning for 6.2 million learners and 300,000+ teachers, with a focus on Special Education (SPED), English Learner (EL), and low-income and rural populations. In addition, any devices and hotspots would also provide a lifeline to families applying for jobs, benefits, and receiving healthcare.

While wealthier school communities have launched robust remote learning programs, many schools are struggling to connect students, and vital learning time is being lost. Surveys conducted over the past few weeks across school districts indicate an estimated need for 400,000 devices, such as Chromebooks, and 290,000 hotspots to provide wireless connectivity statewide.

The CA BDD Fund is a joint effort of the California Governor’s Office, the California State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and CDE Foundation. The CA BDD Fund has already raised nearly $8 million and looks to increase this amount. Learn more about it here.

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