E-LEARN Act announced at Center for Career Services

Center for Career Services hosts Senator Mayer and advocates for bridging the “digital divide”

State Sen. Shelley Mayer, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, announced legislation she’s proposing to help eliminate the “digital divide” among students across New York State to ensure access to quality high speed broadband in order to participate fully in remote or hybrid learning during the pandemic.

Sen. Mayer announced the E-LEARN Act, or Let’s Expand Access to Remote Learning Now Act, Tuesday, Nov. 24, on Southern Westchester BOCES’ Career Services campus in Valhalla.

The event drew a crowd of masked legislators, educators, superintendents and community advocates from throughout the region who spoke about the issue. Many remarked that it is important to ensure equity among students and meet the constitutionally required education guaranteed by the state.

“It’s time to end the digital divide here in New York State,” Senator Mayer, who sponsored the bill, said. 

“Now in the face of the COVID pandemic every child whether in full remote, hybrid or even in-school learning, must have quality broadband in order to be educated. You simply cannot learn without it. You can’t do homework without it, and yet too many of our students don’t have it,” she said.

Senator Mayer continued, “Let’s work together to make sure education is more equal, more just and let New York State lead the path ahead by ensuring every child regardless of where they live has the tools to succeed.”

Dr. Harold Coles, Superintendent of Southern Westchester BOCES, acknowledged the senator’s efforts.

"Senator Mayer is to be applauded for casting a spotlight on the crucial issue of digital equity. While the school districts of the Southern Westchester BOCES region are deeply affected by this divide in broadband internet access, it is hardly a mere local issue. Rather it is one that touches rural, suburban and urban school communities alike across New York. It is also a need that precedes and will continue even after the current pandemic,” he said.