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Gore's Digital Divide Plan


September 9, 2000: This message was distributed by Papyrus News, a free e-mail distribution list on the global impact of information technology on language, literacy, and education. Feel free to forward this message to others, preferably with this introduction. For information on Papyrus News, including how to (un)subscribe or access archives, see <>.


From: Andy Carvin <>
Subject: Gore releases digital divide plan
To: "Digitaldivide (E-mail)" <>
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2000 04:08:11 -1000

Hi everyone. As you may know, Vice President Al Gore released his official economic plan this morning. It's available online at

Because it's in PDF format only, I've taken the liberty of culling the section regarding his digital divide proposal. Here's what it has to say:


Every child in America - regardless of income, geography, race, or disability - should be able to reach across a computer keyboard, and reach the vast new worlds of knowledge, commerce, and communication that are available at the touch of a fingertip.

Our children will live and work in a society driven by information technology. The information technology sector has accounted for almost one-third of U.S. economic growth, and is generating jobs that pay 85 percent more than the private sector average. Some have estimated that within seven years, almost half our workforce will be employed by industries that are major producers or users of information technology. Increasingly, people are using the Internet to look for work, acquire new skills, get lower prices on goods and services, and make more informed decisions about their health care needs. The ability to use information technology effectively is becoming a "new basic."

We can all see that innovation and technology are fueling faster growth, and new jobs. We also need to ensure that they widen the circle of opportunity. We have a long way to go. The digital divide is still too wide - between rich and poor, and between urban and rural America. Sixty percent of households with incomes of $75,000 or above have Internet access, compared to only twelve percent earning $20,000 - $25,000. Black and Hispanic families at home are now only two-fifths as likely to have computers at home as white families. Those who live in rural areas are less likely to own computers and be connected to the Internet - even though they stand to benefit from it more.

Al Gore and Joe Lieberman believe that we need clear, national goals to close the digital divide. America was the pioneer of universal education; now America must become the pioneer of universal technological literacy. We know that civil rights ring hollow without economic opportunity. We must now recognize that in the Information Age, technological literacy is critical to achieving that economic opportunity.

Al Gore and Joe Lieberman want every American to have the ABC's of the Internet: Access, Basic skills, and high-quality Content. They have an ambitious plan to bridge the digital divide, and to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to be full participants in the Information Society.

Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will:

· Support the e-rate. The e-rate provides over $2 billion in discounts to connect schools, libraries and rural health care clinics to the Internet.

· Launch a Home Internet Access initiative. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman want to make the Internet as universal as the telephone. They will support locally-based partnerships between the private sector and non-profit organizations to make computers and Internet access affordable for all Americans. These partnerships would also provide training, and promote uses of the Internet such as strengthening the school-to-home connection between parents and teachers.

· Create 2,000 Community Technology Centers in low-income neighborhoods by 2002. Community technology centers can provide hands-on training for children and adults that lack IT skills. They can bring computer skills training directly to the people who need it most.

· Expand tax incentives to encourage private sector efforts to bridge the digital divide. The Gore-Lieberman plan will provide tax incentives for companies that make contributions and donate computers to schools, libraries and Community Technology Centers.

· Create an "E-corps" of Americorps volunteers with technical skills. The "E-corps" will help staff community technology centers and provide technical assistance to schools and libraries.

§ Ensure that all new teachers can use technology effectively in the classroom. Studies show that technology does not improve student performance unless teachers can integrate technology effectively into the classroom. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will work to ensure that all new teachers are prepared to teach using technology.

§ Expand access to "information literacy" skills for all Americans. The ability to turn on a computer and browse the World Wide Web is not enough. Increasingly, Americans will need the ability to locate, retrieve, evaluate and synthesize information from multiple sources. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will work to expand information literacy. They will begin by setting a goal of having every child computer literate by the eighth grade.

§ Promote applications that help empower low-income families and communities. Technology is a tool, not an end in itself. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will promote applications of information technology that empower low-income Americans, such as high-quality software for adult basic education or English as a Second Language.

§ Provide incentives for private sector investment in high-speed networks to rural communities. Some rural communities are in danger of being left behind in the Information Age. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will provide incentives for telecommunications companies that are willing to invest in broadband networks for the isolated rural communities that need it most.

§ Ensure that Americans with disabilities have access to assistive technology. New technologies can enable more people with disabilities to work and to lead richer, more independent lives. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will work to ensure that all Americans have access to assistive technology.

§ Closing the Digital Divide in Indian Country. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman are committed to helping to bridge the digital divide that exists in Indian Country. Rural Native American households' access to computers (26.8 percent) is lower than the national average. On top of other efforts, they will especially work with tribal governments and colleges to assist in extending the information infrastructure to Indian Country. A Gore-Lieberman Administration will institute a three-year, $900 million plan to eliminate the backlog of repair and construction in BIA's schools to modernize them for the 21st century.


Broadening prosperity's reach means bringing its promise to hard-working families in communities all over America. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will stand up for communities in our rural areas and in our cities that for too long have been left behind. They will fight to empower communities with the tools they need to unleash their full potential. A Gore-Lieberman Administration will work to attract businesses, jobs, and capital to distressed communities; to connect all communities to the Internet and the opportunities that information technology present; and to make sure that all families can live free from the fear of crime and violence.

Andy Carvin
Senior Associate
Benton Foundation
Visit my new website, Anatolian Fortnight

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Last updated: September 10, 2000 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0