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Lawmakers concerned with digital divide

Posted at 7:54 PM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 19:54:56-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Photos of students working on their school assignments from parking lots and fast-food restaurants have shown the reality some families have found themselves in this year. With no access to the internet at home, parents and students are doing what they can as schools continue online.

The coronavirus has made Kentucky's digital divide more obvious than ever, and experts worry this is contributing to the education crisis.

At Tuesday's Interim Committee on Education hearing, lawmakers heard about some of the issues students are facing. During the discussion, the digital divide came up. While some students have easy access to computers and the internet, others don't.

Senator Max Wise, who chairs the committee, says this issue is troubling.

"In the world we live in today, internet access should be just like water and electricity. It should not matter if you live in an urban setting or in rural Kentucky - in Appalachia, or in far western Kentucky. Every family is dealing with this issue right now, and I think this has shown the need for the ability to have more internet access," said Wise. "As a legislative body right now, we're just having to go through the motions, like everyone, to see what's happening. And I think there's going to be some things in place hopefully coming in January and maybe before then."

Wise says the budget will dictate what lawmakers can do.