1 The Obama administration announced a program to
connect thousands of public housing residents across the nation
to the Internet at low prices or free, part of a broader effort to
4 close the so-called digital divide and help low-income
Americans succeed in a technology-driven society.
Appearing at a school in the heart of the Choctaw
7 Nation, in Oklahoma, where 32 percent of children live in
poverty, Mr. Obama announced the ConnectHome program
and said it was unacceptable for young people not to have
10 access to the same technological resources in their homes that
their wealthier counterparts do. “If we don’t get these young
people the access to what they need to achieve their potential,
13 then it’s our loss; it’s not just their loss”, he said. “They’ve got
big dreams, and we’ve got to have an interest in making sure
they can achieve those dreams,” he added.
16 “While many middle-class U.S. students go home to
Internet access, which allows them to do research, write papers
and communicate digitally with their teachers and other
19 students, too many lower-income children go unplugged every
afternoon when school ends,” a statement about the report said.
“This ‘homework gap’ runs the risk of widening the
22 achievement gap, denying hard-working students the benefit of
a technology-enriched education.”
The pilot program, ConnectHome, will be carried out
25 in different forms in public housing units in 27 cities and in one
Native American tribal area, largely focusing on households
with school-age children. The program will involve city
28 officials, Internet providers, universities, and a large retail
company, which will offer computer training to residents in
some cities. The program will offer some residents a chance to
31 buy tablets with educational software installed for $30 each.
Other communities will receive free help with SAT preparation
and free technical support.
34 The program is an offshoot of the president’s
ConnectED initiative, which was announced in 2013. It aimed
to link 99 percent of the students from kindergarten through
37 12th grade to high-speed Internet in classrooms and libraries
over the next five years.
It is also part of a renewed vigor in the Obama
40 administration’s housing agenda coming late in his final term
and recently emboldened by a Supreme Court ruling endorsing
a broad interpretation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, a
43 relevant feat for civil rights. That ruling allows for more
lawsuits that could help fight housing discrimination.
Dionne Searcey. U.S. program will connect public housing
residents to Web. Internet: <www.nytimes.com>.(adapted).