At Sea In A Pandemic, Poorer Oakland Students Thrown A Rescue Line

women cleaning bricks from demolished buildings and passing them hand to hand for construction in new buildings
Fotothek df ps 0000436 001 Kriege ^ Kriegsfolgen ^ Enttrümmerungen photo by Deutsche Fotothek is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Residents cleaned and refurbished bricks to rebuild Dresden, Germany, after World War II. Today, ideas about infrastructure are expanding. People in Oakland are refurbishing and rebuilding computers to strengthen the community's COVID response.

Not all that long ago, a school teacher could assign research projects to students based only upon books and resources available in the school library. Those days vanished in an explosion of data published and available on the internet.

Available to the majority, not to all. This fact was brought abruptly home by the COVID pandemic. Most students can adjust relatively easily to home learning via the internet as long as they have the equipment and the broadband access to participate. It’s a different story for students in families with low incomes and/or living in homes without access to necessary fast internet connections, such as public housing.

On possible answer: make computer access via high-speed internet a community necessity — a fundamental part of public responsibility, like water, electricity, sewage?

Great idea, but one inevitably requiring months if not years of debate before approval, and then years more to successfully implement.

Meanwhile, children lacking hardware and broadband access have been left behind. That goes both for educational purposes, as well as for computer and internet training — skills growing more and more essential for modern jobs.

Solutions during the pandemic were needed immediately, not planned for orderly rollout over several years. In such a climate of urgency, public policy development and execution has been driven by a spirit of imagination and enterprise inspired by insightful individuals.

Here’s one example, from CBSN Bay Area: Oakland Man’s Non-Profit Refurbishes Thousands Of Used Computers, Laptops To Help Close Digital Divide

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