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While many of the state’s students settle into new routines of remote learning, thousands still don’t have the devices or connectivity they need to learn online. That’s unacceptable.

Philanthropy, private business and other community partners have stepped in to help close the technology gap for Washington students. All In Washington is raising funds to help close the digital divide and support remote learning. It was kickstarted by a $1.25 million pledge from Microsoft. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has vowed to match individual donations to this digital equity initiative up to $1 million per unique donor.

But what about the longer term? The pandemic has clearly shown that student access to technology is essential, not a luxury. As such, it calls for a sustainable, secure source of funding—no small task during these uncertain times.

And as districts are learning, remote online instruction is about more than distributing laptops and WiFi hotspots. It requires ongoing support and systemwide change. This makes a new grant-funded position in Seattle Public Schools worth watching. Tableau Foundation has provided the $200,000 grant to fund the new digital equity manager, who will be charged both with identifying and aligning resources to meet immediate needs.

If this position works as intended, crossing classroom and building boundaries to connect each student to remote learning, it could be a model for other districts.

Print Headline: Some kids left behind

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