LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Some students on Las Vegas’s west side only have access to the internet because of a federally-funded broadband internet program, but it will end unless Congress renews it.

The uncertainty of the program’s future raises concerns for one local special education teacher. Lisa Smith is a 5th-grade special ed teacher at Abston Elementary. Smith told FOX5 a good amount of her students would lose internet if the “Affordable Connectivity Program” She said the loss of connectivity would deprive them of what she calls much-needed after-school learning time.

“They need that supplemental skills practice on their own time,” Smith told FOX5′s Mike Allen. “Using a calculator or adding and subtracting – mental math.”

Smith said losing the ability to learn on the computer at home would widen the achievement gap they already face.

“They’re about to go to middle school, where the standards and the level of instruction is going to become more challenging for them.”

Allen asked Smith what could be done if that happened. She said she could either stay late after school to spend more one-on-one time with her students…

“If I can do it maybe two or three times a day after school for an hour, I would do it.”

Or send students home with paper worksheets to complete. But Smith told us, she’s already short on time, and she’s not confident paper handouts would work as well for special education students as they do for others.

“I don’t know if students would actually do the work and get the practice, or get the instruction that they would need,” she said. “Some have ADHD and ADD.”

So Smith had a message for Nevada’s Congressional delegation:

“With these kids, they need to spend the money and invest in them so they can have a fighting chance.”

This new funding would allocate


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