On Monday, October 26, 2020, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., in conjunction with South Bronx Rising Together, The Bronx Community Foundation, Bronx Impact, DreamYard, elected officials and Bronx families hosted a Tech Equity Day of Action.
Borough President Diaz Jr. called on the Department of Education to provide appropriate devices to all students immediately, hold internet services providers accountable to provide WiFi access, provide easy access to devices to students, and improve communication around distribution of devices.
“Providing Bronx students with access to the most current technology to best prepare them for higher education and the workforce has been an essential focus throughout my tenure,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Over a month into the academic year, our students are left having to navigate blending and remote-learning without adequate devices and internet access, and no clear answers as to when they will have the necessary resources. I want to thank South Bronx Rising Together, The Bronx Community Foundation, Bronx Impact, and DreamYard for their tireless advocacy in making sure Bronx students are not forgotten.”
Borough President Diaz issued a report in October 2018, “Programming New York City Students for Success,” outlining an expanded view of computer science education in New York City public schools, calling for amendments to Directive 10, an out-of-date set of rules that prevents city public schools from purchasing portable technology such as such as Apple iPads, Google Chromebooks, Samsung Galaxy Tablets and Amazon Kindles.
Borough President Diaz noted at the time that Directive 10 prevented New York City public schools from purchasing such items using capital funding as they could with traditional desktop computers.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic has not only shown why we needed to improve Directive 10, but it has also shed light on existing inequities that exist in our education system,” said Borough President Diaz Jr.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has further revealed the deep education inequities faced by students from low-income families. A device and internet service are now as vital as a school with teachers, and students who do not have access are being denied their right to an education. We must level the playing field by ensuring digital equity for our Bronx students. ” said Rose DeStefano, Senior Director of Collective Impact at Bronx Impact at Children’s Aid Society.
“COVID-19 exacerbated a systemic and institutional challenge that our community has faced for decades. The pandemic has shown us the internet and digital resources is not only about providing access to information; it is about providing an essential utility that is core to the prosperity and daily needs of our community.”, said Desmon Lewis, Co-Founder of The Bronx Community Foundation. “The Digital Divide cannot be solved by a single institution or even by one single solution. We formed The Bronx Digital Equity Coalition to bring together the organizations already doing great work in the community to define a common agenda, conduct and share thought leadership and collectively define a strategy and implementation plan to turn The Bronx from a Digital Desert to a Digital Oasis.”
“When it comes to education, technology is as essential as pen and paper. Our students in the Bronx must be provided all the necessary resources to have a quality and engaging education.” said Kenny Burgos, Community Advocate for the Southeast Bronx.
“It is unacceptable that our children and families still don’t have equity when it comes to access to technology” said Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez “The Mayor and the Chancellor must do better to ensure that all students have access to the technology & resources necessary to learn and develop during these difficult times. I thank the Borough President and the advocates for standing up for children in our communities”