For Immediate Release: May 4, 2020
Contact: Joshua Harris [email protected]
Maryland educators expose devastating disparities in COVID-19 learning conditions
New campaign demands action from elected officials and internet giants Comcast and Verizon to improve education, provide free internet for educators and students
FORESTVILLE, MD – In a new campaign, Maryland educators are speaking out, shining a spotlight on the digital access and opportunity gap among students. The Prince George’s County Educators’ Association (PGCEA) is calling on elected officials to act, and internet companies to provide free access for all educators and students during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the harsh opportunity gap between children and educators in wealthy school districts and those in less advantaged communities. The Opportunity to Learn campaign is aimed at holding the government and corporations – specifically Comcast and Verizon – accountable for ensuring that the internet and other resources necessary for successful e-learning are made available to all students and educators at no cost.
Without this necessary resource, students are being forced to access public wifi networks from cars and attempt to do work on their phones and in school parking lots on the school’s network. This is not an acceptable solution. The government has a moral and legal obligation to provide quality public education to all students. The government and corporations that hold the keys to access are failing the region’s children, and that failure is having a disproportionately negative impact on kids from low-income households.
“A global health pandemic does not relieve us of our duty to educate all students,” said Theresa Mitchell Dudley, president of PGCEA. “We know that low-income students are already at a disadvantage. The current learning conditions threaten to cause drastic harm and leaves Prince George’s County students even further behind. It is unacceptable that educators don’t have the resources to teach and students don’t have the resources to learn. In this time of crisis, we must provide them with the tools they need and that starts with access to the internet.”
Learn more about internet availability in the region, the existing opportunity gap, and the corporate profits and tax breaks of Comcast and Verizon by viewing our fact sheet.
To request an interview with PGCEA President Theresa Dudley, contact Joshua Harris at [email protected].