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Funds for Online Learning During Pandemic, Tech and Black Lives Matter Protests, Infrastructure in Massachusetts

Elijah Labby

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Photo of Massachusetts State Sen. Michael Moore courtesy of the Office of Senator Michael O. Moore

Randy Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, called on the United States Senate to approve a House-passed bill that would provide $5 billion to American public schools.

The bill would focus on developing solutions for disconnected students affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It would also stop broadband providers from denying service to customers unable to pay.

The coronavirus has dealt a jarring blow to America’s education system, with millions of students across the country unable to attend school from a distance.

And despite calls from the Federal Communications Commission to keep those who cannot pay online, many broadband providers are cutting off services to unpaying customers.

Multiple bills have been introduced to address these issues, but it is currently unclear which, if any, will pass.

Americans feel positively about technology’s role in protests

A poll from Americans for Prosperity found that a majority of Americans believed technology played a positive role in the facilitation of recent protests.

Over a quarter of Americans reportedly believed that the protests would not have even taken place if it were not for digital organizing efforts.

Additionally, 67 percent of Americans polled thought that technology played a crucial role in increasing police accountability for the deaths of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, and will continue to play such a role in the future.

“Technology enables people to share information and mobilize in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago,” said Billy Easley, Americans for Prosperity senior policy analyst.

“The positive takeaway here is not only that technology facilitates positive action around important issues,” he said, “but people recognize just how significant of a role it plays in the recent movements we’ve seen.”

Massachusetts approves $1.7 billion in broadband funding

The Massachusetts state Senate approved $1.7 billion in funding for the state’s infrastructure on Thursday of last week.

The money will go to supporting minority and low-income communities in the state, as well as enabling education providers to open safely amid the coronavirus.

“The passage of this bond bill will provide much-needed funding to the municipalities that I represent, as well as all those in the Commonwealth,” said Sen. Michael Moore.

“As a result, these towns will be able to add technology or improve on existing equipment that will benefit both local security and enhance remote learning for public schools,” he added.

The bill also provides $50 million in funding for increased telelearning access for K-12 students, as well as money for farming and agriculture distribution infrastructure.

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