Dalio Education, Municipal Leaders to Decrease Digital Divide

With the pandemic forcing students into remote learning, some say reliable internet access has become a necessity.

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There’s a new effort to shrink the digital divide in Connecticut. In New Haven, people say it’s about the quality of internet service.

“It has to be the number one priority in any school district to provide technology, not just computers but quality internet,” said Rev. Steven Cousin of Bethel AME Church in New Haven.

Cousin believes we’re at a historic time in education where dependable technology is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity for this generation of children. Many of them about to begin remote learning once again, where in New Haven, at least 10% - or 2,200 students - weren’t engaged in distance learning this spring.  

“It’s not just providing free internet access but it’s about the quality that I’m more concerned with,” said Cousin. “To ensure every child is able to log on, every child has the right connection speed, and every child can move forward during this time.”

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities announced on Monday its new partnership with Dalio Education to help decrease the digital divide.

Leaders there say it will take federal and state support, but Connecticut can’t wait.

“There’s a lot that municipal leaders can do today to work with their communities to take concrete steps to close it,” said Andrew Ferguson, chief education officer of Dalio Philanthropies.

Over the next few weeks, the organization will bring together community partners in cities and towns to work with leaders on closing the digital divide, to improve education and quality of life.

“This is obviously about the digital divide and how it’s been highlighted through education, but for us it’s much more than that,” said Joe DeLong, executive director of, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. “It’s also about how people apply for jobs, it’s also about how people work from home.”

Hamden Mayor Curt Leng says Hamden’s board of education has been looking for ways to expand its digital footprint, and he’s excited about possibly working in this new partnership.

“We’re going to need to have that in order to have quality level of education happening at people’s houses and it has to be across the board, it has to be equal access to education,” said Leng.  

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