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FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel Visits String Theory Charter School for IIA-Hosted Discussion on Closing the “Homework Gap”

Tours school campus and visits classrooms to see first-hand the transformation of education through technology at an Apple Distinguished School

Philadelphia, PA – April 4, 2016 – Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) Jessica Rosenworcel today traveled to Philadelphia to tour String Theory Charter Schools’ Vine Street Campus (5th grade through 12th grade) and make classroom visits to see the application of modern technology in a next-generation, “Apple Distinguished School” setting.

Commissioner Rosenworcel has championed changes to U.S. Internet and Wi-Fi policies to provide American students greater access to 21st century broadband technologies. She coined the term “Homework Gap” that now commonly refers to the difficulty students experience completing homework when they lack high-speed Internet access at home.

According to Pew Research, seven in 10 teachers assign homework that requires Internet access, but five million of the 29 million U.S. households with school-aged children lack regular access to broadband. Unfortunately, a 2015 Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) survey reveals that three in four U.S. school districts report that they are not currently doing anything to address technology access outside of school.

“The Homework Gap is real – for one in five kids in our country, it’s a daily struggle that is standing in the way of them reaching their full potential,” commented Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) Co-Chairman Jamal Simmons. “Affordability is a barrier to high-speed Internet access for low-income families. The FCC’s decision to add broadband to the Lifeline subsidy program last week is a significant step toward closing this digital divide.”

After touring the digital accomplishments of the Vine Street Campus, Commissioner Rosenworcel and Jason Corosanite, Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer of String Theory Schools, joined String Theory educators, administrators, parents and local business supporters in a roundtable discussion moderated by IIA’s Jamal Simmons that focused on “Closing the Homework Gap: Technology Lessons Learned in Advancing Education.”

Commissioner Rosenworcel’s in-depth conversation on the Homework Gap generated thoughtful discussion and innovative ideas in response to the following issues:

• How is technology transforming education?
• Is wireless broadband sufficient for completing homework assignments?
• What are the major barriers to home broadband adoption?
• Are there any federal programs that can help bridge the divide?
• How can the public and private sectors, educators and parents, partner to help close the Homework Gap?

“Technology is pervasive in today’s world, and the educational environment should reflect that to keep kids interested and engaged, and enable them to be innovative and productive,” stated Corosanite. “Rather than taking place in a vacuum, a well-rounded educational approach should train students to perform later in life. Kids without digital skills will fall behind.”

Half of all jobs now require some level of technology skills, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Experts say that number will surpass three-quarters (77%) within the next decade.

To see photos from Commissioner Rosenworcel’s tour of String Theory Schools in Philadelphia today, and to learn more about the digital divide, go to www.internetinnovation.org.