National PTA and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Team Up to Close Digital Divide for Students and Educators

June 4, 2020

National PTA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation have teamed up to launch Every Student Connected, an initiative to raise awareness of the need to close the connectivity gap. Through the effort, National PTA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are working to create a sense of urgency around the inability of over 12 million students to participate in distance learning.

“Far too many students are being left behind from distance learning as they lack internet access at home and a dependable device. Many teachers also lack the connectivity they need to deliver remote instruction and support student learning,” said Leslie Boggs, president of National PTA. “National PTA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation share a sense of urgency around closing the connectivity gap as part of our nation’s response to COVID-19.”

Through EveryStudentConnected.org, National PTA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will be working with their respective state and local affiliates to better understand the unique connectivity needs at the local level. They are joining together to push for a robust and dedicated financial investment in digital connectivity.

"The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated inequities in our public education system. Learning has shifted online, and far too many students do not have internet access required to continue their studies," said Cheryl Oldhan, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Center for Education and Workforce. "While there are high quality and trusted online learning tools available, they are powerless if we do not solve this foundational issue."

Every Student Connected builds on National PTA’s PTA Connected initiative, which educates and engages families in digital wellness, security, access, equity and literacy. Through the initiative, National PTA and PTAs across the country have worked to deepen the understanding and knowledge of parents, families and teachers about digital safety tools and resources. The initiative also engages families around best practices and shared learning to generate collective impact. In the last two years, PTA has reached over 120,000 people with resources for accessing low or no-cost internet services to help close the connectivity gap. Additionally, in April, National PTA’s Board of Directors adopted a position statement on Distance and Remote Learning for K12 Students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“National PTA has consistently advocated for resources to address the connectivity gap, and we remain committed to doing so. It is critical that both educators and students are equipped with the appropriate tools in order to teach and learn,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “It is essential that all students can tap into the wealth of online learning materials now and in the future. Every day that passes without a nationwide solution is a day that students fall further behind.”

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About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit PTA.org.

About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.