Latinos for Education and MA Joint Committee on Education Highlight Tech and Education Disparities Impacting Latino Students
Legislative briefing presented interventions to provide broadband access and technology for Latino students in Massachusetts during COVID-19.
Boston, MA – Today, Latinos for Education joined Massachusetts Representative Alice Hanlon Peisch and Senator Jason M. Lewis, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Education, to discuss critical issues facing Latino students in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Moderated by former House Chair of Ways and Means and current Senior Advisor at Rasky Partners, Latinos for Education was accompanied by Tech Goes Home to provide lawmakers with solutions to close some of the opportunity gaps in education that continue to be exacerbated as schools work to adapt to the pandemic.
“Latino students are experiencing learning loss at higher rates than their peers, they have less access to support services that can address their social and emotional health, and they face gaps in access to tech devices and broadband,” said Amanda Fernández, Co-Founder & CEO, Latinos for Education. “COVID-19 has accelerated the need to bring new innovative solutions to these opportunity gaps and we need members of the Massachusetts State Legislature to work together to immediately get devices and broadband access into the households of all families in Massachusetts.”
“More than 468,000 households in the Commonwealth lack a computer while more than 390,000 lack a home internet subscription” said Tech Goes Home Co-CEO Dan Noyes. “These divides affect everything from academic advancement to economic opportunity and access to telehealth during a global pandemic, making the digital divide a critical social justice issue as more and more of our world moves online, it is imperative that we work with legislators to ensure equitable access to technology and digital literacy.”
The briefing, titled “The Impact of COVID-19 and the Digital Divide on the State of Latino Education” focused on the gaps in access to technology and broadband during distance learning. Currently, 2,700 students in Boston alone don’t have reliable internet access at a time when distance learning will continue.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shed more light on the resource and access disparities facing minority communities across the Commonwealth, including Latinx students,” said Representative Peisch (D-Wellesley). “Having been hit hardest by both the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, it is critical to redouble efforts to help these students and their families access the highest quality education possible. The Legislature remains committed to working with groups such as Latinos for Education to ensure that the needs of these students and their school districts are met.”
“Every child in Massachusetts deserves access to equitable public education and educational opportunities, and over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and increased technology, accessibility and equity challenges, especially for students and communities of color,” said Senator Jason Lewis, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “I’m grateful to Latinos for Education for their work highlighting and addressing the equity challenges in the Massachusetts Latino community and look forward to working closely with them and other stakeholders to make an excellent public education available to all.”
Latinos for Education highlighted the need for broadband access based on findings from their survey of 288 Latino families, where 21% indicated that access to technology was their biggest need to support their child’s education, and that 46% noticed their children were experiencing learning loss. As a result of this survey, Latinos for Education launched #TechParaTodos, a policy and advocacy campaign to ensure that all students have access to the devices and technology they need to be successful.
Speakers at the briefing included:
- Massachusetts State Rep Alice Hanlon Peisch, Chair of the Joint Committee on Education
- Massachusetts State Senator Jason M. Lewis, Chair of the Joint Committee on Education
- Amanda Fernandez, Co-Founder & CEO, Latinos for Education, Board Member, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Lorena Lopera, Executive Director of MA, Latinos for Education
- Manny Cruz, Advocacy Director, Latinos for Education, Board Member Salem School Committee
- Jeffrey Sánchez, Former Massachusetts House Ways & Means Committee Chair, current Senior Advisor, Rasky Partners
- Daniel Noyes, Co-CEO, Tech Goes Home
- Theodora Higginson Hanna, Co-CEO, Tech Goes Home
A recording of the briefing is available here: https://youtu.be/kIxWpS59Vus
About Latinos for Education:
Latinos for Education is a Boston-based, national education non-profit organization focused on developing, placing, and connecting essential Latino talent in the education sector. The organization is mobilizing a network of skilled education leaders to ensure the voice of students and families is not only heard but factored into decision-making in schools, communities and education institutions throughout the U.S. The organization also ensures Latino education professionals have access to a nationwide network of peers as well as career and professional development opportunities across the country through the members-only EdCentro network. For more information visit: https://www.latinosforeducation.org.