Perspectives – Oakland Undivided Forever Maintains Path Toward Closing Digital Divide, Achieving Educational Equity

By Jim Wambach | July 1, 2021

Access to Technology ensures that all children in Oakland have a fair and equitable chance to succeed in school

Your support of Children Rising and Oakland Undivided is closing the digital divide and laying the groundwork for lasting educational equity.

On June 30th, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and its Oakland Undivided partners announced the celebration and expansion of their vision for closing the digital divide and achieving lasting educational equity. Children Rising could not be more delighted with this fantastic news.

The Oakland Undivided Campaign, a partnership between the Mayor’s office of education, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), the Oakland Public Education Fund, and Tech Exchange, made dramatic strides toward closing the digital divide over the past year. With the announcement of Oakland Undivided FOREVER, this groundbreaking program will be extended long into the future.

This is an important development for our community schools!

Access to technology not only closes the digital divide. It ensures that all children in Oakland have a fair and equitable chance to succeed in school and reach their God-given potential in life.

“Lack of technology and internet access is an equity issue across the country, and Oakland shows us that a solution is not only within reach, but that it can happen very quickly.” — Cindy Marten, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education

It also lays the groundwork for nonprofits to provide expanded enrichment programs for students in need of additional academic support. Just last month, Children Rising announced the launch of free online math and reading tutoring to boost the COVID recovery for elementary school children. Online tutoring is only made possible through student access to technology and the closing of the digital divide that has hampered so many students from low-income backgrounds.

We applaud the efforts of our community leaders in making this public-private partnership a reality.

“In order to achieve equity in education, we must guarantee that all students have the tools they need to succeed,” said OUSD Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell. “Let’s face it, in the 21st century if you don’t have a computer and internet connectivity, you are at a serious disadvantage because you cannot do your work remotely, and worse, you can’t access the world of information that exists on the web. We must ensure that all Oakland students have the same ability to access their education as their peers here and across the country.”

Oakland Undivided raised more than $12.5 million and distributed more than 29,000 computers and 10,000 internet hot spots to students in need to keep at home, along with accessible culturally competent tech support for all. In less than a year.

This is a momentous announcement and one that the entire Oakland community should be proud of. Indeed, our national leaders have taken notice as well.

“What Oakland is doing for their students and families in closing the digital divide is remarkable,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, Cindy Marten. “Lack of technology and internet access is an equity issue across the country, and Oakland shows us that a solution is not only within reach, but that it can happen very quickly. #OaklandUndivided is a thoughtful, strategic model that addresses both immediate needs and sustainable solutions to close the digital divide for good.”

If people want to help, online tutoring means that opportunities are more possible and more important than ever. Just an hour of time, once a week, allows a caring adult to tutor a struggling student in reading or math and make a lasting difference in that child’s life, all from the comfort of their home or office. Thanks to Oakland Undivided for making so much of this possible… for the children!

YES, I CAN ensure children have a fair and equitable chance in school!

 I want to learn more about online reading or math clinics to see if tutoring is right for me!

I want to help fund Children Rising tutoring and mentoring programs to empower more children this year!