To the Editor,
At the September 21st convening of the School Committee, an important issue was discussed that requires more attention in Westfield. It has been highlighted by organizations advocating for educational equity at the national level but needs to be addressed by individual communities as well. As our students, families, and educators face an indefinite period of remote learning due to the roadblocks COVID-19 has created, disparities of home internet access have been highlighted.
Did you know that a majority of the 56 million students across the U.S. will attend school virtually this fall? If you had assumed that, I bet that you did not know almost 15% of those children do not have internet access at home (Humanity Forward; National Center for Education Statistics).
The fact is, no students’ motivation to learn should be blocked by their socioeconomic status. With extremely limited access to public spaces with Wi-Fi, also due to COVID-19, the accessibility to internet outside of the home has not become any more equitable, either. These are crucial times of developmental growth for many of our students in Westfield, and many of them need help from our own community to capitalize on them.
The introduction of Westfield’s Adopt-a-Student Technology Program is as timely as ever, and I encourage everyone who can to contribute. By donating $250, I just assured that at least 1 more student in Westfield would have full access to the internet throughout this year of uncertainty. I fully endorse this program, and there is no time to waste in helping it reach its goal of at least $25,000. Checks must be made out to Westfield Public Schools, with Adopt-a-Student Technology on the memo line, and mailed to the superintendent’s office at 94 North Elm St.
Having reliable internet access is no longer an optional luxury. In an era of such uncertainty, ensuring a quality and equitable education should be one of the most certain things we have in Westfield. Join me in making it happen, Westfield.
Keep Being the Change You Seek,
Candidate for Westfield State Rep