The picture shows us the divide between the rich and the poor and how the establishment tends to take decision keeping only the rich in consideration.
Policy decisions tend to be short-sighted and often neglect the needs or shortcomings of the marginalized. This heartbreaking photo of two California Elementary School District students sitting outside a Taco Bell to siphon off the Wi-Fi to listen to their virtual classes is a prime example of that. The picture has received widespread attention since being posted on Twitter and has only gone to show the digital divide between the privileged and their marginalized counterparts, reports KION. Posted by Stephanie Hurlburt, the instance goes to show how myopic policymakers are when it comes to doling out nationwide policies without taking poor families into consideration. "This is in Salinas, CA— just south of the Bay Area. Small children sitting outside a Taco Bell to be able to get WiFi so they can attend school. When we think about remote learning, we need to stop thinking of it through the lens of people with money and safe housing," and added two screenshots of the children seated outside the restaurant with their laptops.
This is in Salinas, CA— just south of the Bay Area. Small children sitting outside a Taco Bell to be able to get WiFi so they can attend school. When we think about remote learning, we need to stop thinking of it through the lens of people with money and safe housing. pic.twitter.com/bLU1kIR9D7— Stephanie Hurlburt (@sehurlburt) August 26, 2020
Speaking to KION, the school district acknowledged the concerns related to internet access for students and said it provided an internet hotspot fo the family and that it will offer additional devices for families in the district. Amy Ish, president of the board said: "The digital divide is very real, and delays in receiving needed technology are a statewide concern, we are grateful the State is making technology a priority and look forward to receiving these hotspots in our District." The photos going viral has done a world of good for the children as the local community came together to resource various Wi-Fi locations to help those in need by creating and sharing hotspot maps while also adding new areas when they become available through Twitter.
Exposed to SO MUCH smoke, especially considering smoke tends to go towards the ground molecularly, instead of wafting up. So not only are these kids facing education access issues but these access issues are further compounding their risk of catching Covid/inhaling smoke/ash— Iris (@irisblossoming) August 28, 2020
Thousands of people connected on the unfortunate circumstances the children have to deal with but many pointed out that this may be the most convenient option ahead of them as they are close to a restroom and may even get a few free refills. Jonathan W Hendry wrote: "So, it’s not great, but it might be the most convenient option rather than their only option. There is probably a library they could sit outside but farther away and no bathrooms to use." Miss Construe pointed out that there are plenty of instances similar to these and wrote: "I can go to any place around here that has wifi and find kids trying to do school work. We used to be a large migrant worker community, but California migration priced all of them out of their homes, which were bulldozed to build McMansions. The privileged just don't think," she fumed. Iris Blossoming wrote on how terrible the situation is because Salinas is one of the hotbeds for Coronavirus infections: "Can I also add how horrible this is because 1) Salinas has high Covid spiking because a lot of the migrant workers live there and aren’t being provided masks despite being pressured to continue working and 2) we are still experiencing rampant wildfires so they are probably being," she wrote.
The market will not bring broadband to all. I have money as does my employer who is willing to pay, and ISPs won’t take it to run a mile of fiber to my house. WiFi has limitations & is expensive. My husband WFH full-time, and our base bill before I had to WFH was close to $500/m.— Carolyn Horowitz (@ckhorowitz) August 28, 2020
The digital divide is far worse than initially expected considering a United Nation's estimate which suggests that close to 46% of the world's population does not have internet connectivity, with under-developed and developing countries being the least connected. As per the report, the divide is also seen in better-connected countries, with Pew Research Center data suggesting that one in five children in the United States do not have access to computers or high-speed internet at home. Reports also suggest that instances like these are especially profound in Latino communities like those in Salinas even more so in times of the coronavirus. The Pew report also suggests that 57% of Hispanic adults have access to a computer while the same stood at 82% for Whites. Meanwhile, about 25% of Hispanics surveyed stated they had “smartphone-only” access to the internet.