SIGN THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE LETTER: Provide Latino Communities with Equitable Access to Technology

The Honorable Aaron Michelewitz                                                The Honorable Michael J. Rodrigues 

Chair, House Ways and Means                                                Chair, Senate Ways and Means Means

State House, Room 243                                                                                   State House, Room 212 

Boston, Massachusetts 02133                                                                Boston, Massachusetts 02133 


The Honorable Denise Garlick                                                         The Honorable Cindy F. Friedman 

Vice Chair, House Ways and Means                                           Vice Chair, Senate Ways and Means 

State House, Room 238                                                                                   State House, Room 208 

Boston, Massachusetts 02133                                                                Boston, Massachusetts 02133 


The Honorable Todd M. Smola                                                       The Honorable Patrick M O’Connor 

State House, Room 124                                                                                   State House, Room 419 

Boston, Massachusetts 02133                                                                Boston, Massachusetts 02133 


Dear Honorable Conferees: 


We are writing today in support of the Broadband Equity Commission amendment that was put forward by both Chairwoman Peisch and Chairman Lewis. Given, the deep impact the digital divide has had on students and families, we respectfully ask that the conference committee adopt the House language in the final budget that will ultimately be sent to the Governor for his consideration.   


In response to the pressing need to address digital equity for students and families, the Broadband Equity Commission will:   


  1. 1. Further examine the latest research on the impact the digital divide is having on the students in the Commonwealth in both Gateway and Rural communities  

  1. 2. Evaluate new and existing federal and state resources  

  1. 3. Explore near term interventions, long term initiatives, such as municipal broadband, better digital training, public wifi, and expanding subsidized accounts  

  1. 4. Assess regulatory and policy obstacles at the state and municipal level  

  1. 5. Review various funding sources including but not limited state, philanthropic, and future federal COVID-19 relief packages,    

  1. 6. Work towards deepening the Commonwealth’s understanding of the impact the digital divide is having on students and families and produce timely recommendations for the consideration of legislative leaders.   

We strongly believe that this proactive approach to addressing the digital divide will help us ensure that all students in the Commonwealth continue to receive an equitable education throughout the duration of the pandemic and beyond. In recognition of the possibility the pandemic may impact our student learning for many years, this proactive approach of establishing the Broadband Equity Commission will aid in planning and coordination of our response to student and family needs in our gateway and rural communities.   

Collectively, we acknowledge that there have been substantive efforts made by the legislature, DESE, and local districts to mitigate the worst impacts of the pandemic on student learning. However, establishing the Broadband Equity Commission is another important step as it will provide the Commonwealth with 
another opportunity to work with key stakeholders to put forward well-research policy and practice recommendations that would fundamentally improve the social determinants of education for all students and families. The future of our children, workforce, economy, and the Commonwealth depend on our ability to provide equitable access to broadband and all the services dependent on internet connectivity.  

Your consideration of the Broadband Equity Commission will allow us to collectively better serve our most vulnerable students and families across the Commonwealth, and to work towards viable and equitable solutions to close the digital divide,  

It is for these reasons that we humbly urge the conference committee to support the House language for the Broadband Equity Commission. We thank all of the conferees for their consideration.  

I support providing Latino communities in Massachusetts with equitable access to technology and publicly report disaggregated data about this issue.

By submitting this form, I confirm my name may be used as a supporter of this campaign and understand I will be added to Latinos for Education's email list to receive additional action items..