Increase Wi-Fi access in homes and public places

The “digital divide” poses a serious threat to learning among poor and minority students, and if unaddressed it threatens to exacerbate already large achievement gaps between these young people and their more advantaged peers. For this reason, many city leaders are collaborating with private sector and nonprofit partners to expand broadband access at home for low-income students and their families. Cities can also increase access to the Internet by setting up Wi-Fi hotspots in diverse locations throughout their communities, particularly in public facilities such as libraries, recreation facilities and other neighborhood centers.

City Example: Boston, Massachusetts

Provide low-cost computers or tablets

Internet access is only valuable to students and their families if they have the technology to take advantage of it. While city leaders cannot close this technology gap alone, they can forge partnerships with schools, businesses and local foundations to provide affordable computers or tablets to students who currently lack these critical tools.

City Example: Mooresville, North Carolina

Connect children to nature

City leaders have a wide array of opportunities to connect young people with nature and create the next generation of environmental stewards. Importantly, cities can play a role in closing the “nature gap,” particularly among low-income children and children of color. By promoting policies and programs that cultivate outdoor connections for young people, park and recreation departments as well as other city agencies can expand opportunities for children to experience and learn from being in natural environments. The resulting benefits potentially span a broad range of prominent city priorities, including community health and wellness, educational achievement, social and emotional learning, and out-of-school time programming.

City Example: Louisville, Kentucky