Sen. Gonzalez and Sen. Connie M. Leyva Co-chair Joint Oversight Hearing on K-12 Distance Learning: How Students Across the State Are Being Served and Are Accessing Online Learning

October 26, 2020

Sacramento, Calif. - Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (D- Long Beach) chair of the Senate Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response and Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) chair of the Senate Education Committee will co-chair a joint oversight hearing on Monday, October 26, 2020 at 1:00pm. This oversight hearing will examine the level and quality of access that students in California have had to distance learning instruction, as well as whether they have had access to fast and reliable internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Testimony and information on these subjects will be provided by education leaders, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the California Public Utilities Commission and telecommunications stakeholders. Knowledge obtained through this joint oversight hearing will help guide the development of new measures to address internet connectivity and remote instruction inadequacies impacting students all around the state.

“Parts of my district have less than 55% broadband connectivity and millions of Californians have little to no broadband access in their homes. Simply providing Wi-Fi hot spots and computers to our youth is not enough during this pandemic,” said Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (D- Long Beach). “The digital divide, coupled with the challenge of adapting to distance learning, will leave many students, especially homeless students, English Learners, students with disabilities and students from low income communities and communities of color, further and further behind in school. We need to pay close attention to what is not yet working for our students, parents, teachers, and other school employees. When the pandemic first hit, we had to shift quickly, but now it’s time to tackle the remaining issues head-on with urgency by sharing best practices and being innovative with every new challenge we face.”

Senator Connie M. Leyva, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, has been a champion for students in California to have the quality education they deserve and continually elevates student voices through her work on the Education Committee.

“As the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, I look forward to convening this oversight hearing—along with the Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response and its chair Senator Lena Gonzalez—as we review the status of distance learning here in California,” said Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino). “As millions of schoolchildren are accessing their education from a computer or other electronic device, it is critical that we minimize learning loss and ensure continued student growth and achievement. It is clear that we must continue to address the ongoing technology gaps in our state, since all students—regardless of their household income or where they may live—deserve reliable digital access and robust learning opportunities. Since this past April, I have also co-chaired the Closing the Digital Divide Task Force with the Superintendent of Public Instruction as we strive to bring together government officials, internet service providers, school administrators, teachers, parents, students and other stakeholders to address the digital divide in our state.”