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Internet

Bill should be passed to allow access

The COVID-19 epidemic has made a glaring need in how we educate children apparent. With their schools closed, many of them for weeks or even months on end, millions of children have been forced to rely on “remote learning” via the internet.

But that is impossible for a significant number of students. Federal officials estimate that as many as 9.4 million children ages 3-18 do not have access to the internet in their homes.

U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., have an excellent idea to help the digitally underserved students. It focuses on the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program, which can provide internet service discounts to schools and libraries.

Capito and Klobuchar have introduced a bill — the Every Child Connected Act — that would amend the E-rate program. In addition to providing more money for it, the bill would allow use of E-rate discounts to benefit students who need internet access in their homes.

It is a wonderfully creative idea to help millions of American children. As Capito puts it, the bill would help many students gain the same internet access enjoyed by classmates. It could keep them from falling behind in school during periods when “remote learning” must be utilized.

Senators, then members of the House of Representatives, should approve the bill quickly.

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