Lack of internet access in underserved communities could doom students who are e-learning

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With empty classrooms across the country, remote learning has taken a front seat. 

But the lack of internet service in some of our poorest communities may be contributing to an even wider achievement gap.

A string of organizations in underserved communities say families are having to choose between paying for food or paying for internet service. 

Chicago Public Schools has a basic plan through a carrier that provides internet service for $9.99 a month. Some families told WGN News even that amount is a sacrifice right now.  In some households, both parents have lost jobs and revenue during the pandemic. 

A Kids First Chicago report puts the number of students affected by poor internet service at more than 100,000 in the Chicago area.

Daniel Anello is the CEO of Kids First Chicago.

“That’s a pretty big number of kids that are working out of packets of information,” Anello said.  “They’re doing what they can to connect to the schools when it comes to their education.”

The organization estimates that it would cost $11 million per year to provide high speed internet to the 100,000 students affected.

Below are links to the programs available by several of the major providers.

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