The American Jobs Plan contains important provisions that would support our nation’s students and schools: It would expand internet access, create pathways to good jobs in growing fields, modernize school buildings, and give children from historically disadvantaged backgrounds more equitable access to the tools, programs, and facilities they need to learn and succeed in the 21st century.
For months, we have called on the federal government to #SendTheSignal and provide universal broadband. In an op-ed published one year ago, our board chair, San Antonio Independent School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez, said the Covid-19 pandemic and the transition to virtual learning made clear to the broader public what those in education have long known: The internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity. He wrote that the federal government must work with states and providers on a grand initiative to bring the internet to every American home, in the same way leaders collaborated to bring electricity to the masses during and after the Great Depression. President Biden’s plan rightly explains that “[b]roadband internet is the new electricity” and would invest $100 billion to deliver affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to every American.
We urge Congress to approve this funding and support the other education-focused provisions in the proposal, including the strategies we recommend in our Blueprint for Postsecondary Success. These include creating new apprenticeships; establishing career pathway programs in middle and high school; expanding high-quality career and technical education opportunities in in-demand sectors; and developing effective partnerships between K-12 schools, colleges and universities, workforce development organizations, and individual employers.