George W. Bush Presidential Center, EveryoneOn, Puede Network, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and US Trust Bank Address ‘Tech Gap in Dallas'

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More than 500 Students and Families from Oak Cliff Neighborhood Celebrate Summer, Tech-Based Math and Reading Program on August 9

Access to technology outside of school hours provides the pathway for students to succeed by their own merit, and not be hindered by what their environment may have destined for them.

The George W. Bush Presidential Center, EveryoneOn, Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and U.S. Trust Bank will join Puede Network Founder Adan Gonzalez at 2207 Harlandale Ave, Dallas, on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 6-8 pm CST, to kick off a summer program for hundreds of Oak Cliff students and their parents that is tech-based and focuses on reading and math skills. The program aims to offset a drop-off in learning garnered during the school year and exacerbated by a lack of technology outside of schools.

Through this new initiative addressing the tech-education equity, students will gather at the Puede Academy three times a week with access to: computers donated by the Bush Center; Wi-Fi; mentors/tutors; and a specialized-curriculum tailored to the learning needs of the students using technology. In the fall when schools are back in session, the students will continue have access to Wi-Fi and the computers to do their homework at the Puede Academy three times a week to close what is known as the “homework gap.”

“As leaders of the education system in our community, we have the responsibility to not just understand the community’s flaws, but to walk with the community in finding solutions together,” said Gonzalez, an Oak Cliff native. “Access to technology outside of school hours provides the pathway for students to succeed by their own merit, and not be hindered by what their environment may have destined for them. We are grateful to the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, George W. Bush Presidential Center, EveryoneOn, and U.S Trust for believing in us, and for breaking barriers while building bridges so our kids talent meets their potential.”

The Oak Cliff effort is a pilot to address the inequity in education and workforce preparedness through better access to technology across the country. The program scheduled to be expanded in 2018 with funding. The Bush Center is donating nearly 70 computers to the Puede Network with EveryoneOn, U.S. Trust Bank and HHF providing additional support. Southwest Airlines is the Official Airline of HHF.

“The Bush Center is thrilled to participate in this meaningful initiative to help more students in our community be successful and have access to technology,” said Holly Kuzmich, Executive Director of the Bush Institute and Senior Vice President of the Bush Center. “It is especially rewarding to collaborate with Chike Aguh, CEO of EveryoneOne, and Bryon Sanders, Vice President at U.S. Trust, who both graduated from the Presidential Leadership Scholars program in July. Mr. Aguh’s personal leadership project that he worked on developing throughout the program was to connect 100,000 Americans to the internet by the end of 2020 and we’re pleased to help him make progress toward that goal.”

Research has shown Latinos are at an educational disadvantage due to a greater lack of access to Wi-Fi and technology overall, which has been dubbed the “homework gap.” With schools out for summer, students will face a drop of approximately two months of grade level equivalency in math skills and reading achievement over the summer months. An FCC Taskforce in 2009 estimated that more than 70 percent of teachers assign homework requiring access to broadband – numbers are estimated to be higher in 2017 – which puts the students without access to Wi-Fi at a disadvantage. Parents also rely on the Internet as well to be fully-informed on their child’s academic performance, with many schools turning to online grading systems. More than 5 million households with school-age children are estimated to not have high-speed Internet service at home and that number rises in terms of not having access to a computer.

“At EveryoneOn, we believe that all people in the United States should have access to the life-changing opportunity the internet and technology provide. Unfortunately, many students in the United States leave the school doors and go home to a world without the internet," said Chike Aguh. "We would like to thank The George W. Bush Presidential Center for its computer donation, which provides an essential part of digital inclusion for all. Also, a special thanks to U.S. Trust Bank and Hispanic Heritage Foundation for helping organizing this commitment. Finally, thanks to the Puede Network and its founder Adan Gonzalez for his work to make sure that no student is being left behind. All of these commitments will ensure that hundreds of students will be able to benefit from the educational, social, and economic opportunities of the internet, which is essential to competing in today's digital world. We are proud to support these efforts to end the homework gap and look forward to continued work in 2018."

The Pulse Study, conducted by My College Options and HHF, found that 80 percent of Hispanic students who do not have regular access to a computer at home use their smart phones to access the internet and do their homework that requires broadband access. Hispanics are the mostly likely to use a smart phone to complete a homework assignment or college application. Hispanics also were found to be the most likely to not complete assignment because of lack of access and most likely to believe they received a lower grade because of their lack of access to the internet. The “homework gap” is not just affecting Latino students. According to the Pew Research Center, five million households of the 29 million with school-aged children are falling into the gap. In addition, the Pulse Study found that nearly 50 percent of all students said they have been unable to complete their homework because they didn’t have access to the Internet or a computer, and 42 percent of all students said they received a lower grade on an assignment because they didn’t have Internet access.

“The ‘tech gap’ is also an equity gap in terms of education and workforce development for many communities including Latinos,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, President & CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. “It will take a creative and collective effort to close that gap and we are thrilled to partner with EveryoneOn, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, U.S. Trust Bank, and my compadre Adan Gonzalez’s Puede Network to pilot this new initiative in Dallas. We are primed to execute this model in other neighborhoods with high potential regions like Oak Cliff around the country.”

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation inspires, prepares, and connects Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s priorities in priority fields. HHF also promotes cultural pride, accomplishment, and the great promise of the community through public awareness campaigns seen by millions. Visit http://www.HispanicHeritage.org.

The Puede Network, which serves over 500 underserved Latino families in Texas, promotes leadership, fitness, academics and community service through year-round after school programs aimed at K-12 students and their parents. Visit https://www.facebook.com/SiSePuedeNetwork/.

EveryoneOn is a national nonprofit that creates social and economic opportunity by connecting everyone to the internet. Since 2012, EveryoneOn has connected more than 500,000 people in the United States, with the goal of connecting one million people by 2020. For more information, visit EveryoneOn.org

Rooted in the guiding principles of President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush, the George W. Bush Presidential Center engages communities in the United States and around the world by developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. The work is achieved through three Impact Centers – Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and our Engagement Agenda. The Bush Center is home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which is operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, and the George W. Bush Institute, the non-partisan, public-policy arm of the Bush Center. The Bush Center is located on the campus of SMU in Dallas, Texas, and also includes a 15-acre park; Café 43, a full-service restaurant; and a Museum Store. Learn more by visiting http://www.bushcenter.org.

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