Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and Dallas Independent School District (DISD) today launched Operation Connectivity, a statewide initiative to deliver internet connectivity and device solutions for school districts, families, and students in Texas. Operation Connectivity was originally started in Dallas to address the the lack of high speed internet and/or home laptops for many DISD students which caused an interruption to their learning, as education in the classroom transitioned to at-home digital instruction due to COVID-19. This initiative now aims to provide internet connectivity to hundreds of thousands of students statewide.
“As Texas students continue their education at home through virtual instruction, it is essential that we provide them with the resources they need to connect and communicate online,” said Governor Abbott. “I applaud Dr. Hinojosa and DISD for developing this innovative initiative for Dallas schools, and look forward to expanding Operation Connectivity statewide so that we can implement reliable and effective solutions that will close the digital divide for students across the Lone Star State.”
“We are grateful for the work of Dr. Hinojosa and his leadership on this necessary undertaking in Dallas and are delighted to be working with the Governor to take this effort statewide. With students learning remotely for the time being, it’s more important than ever for all our students to be able to access academic content at home. In order for that to happen, all students in Texas need access to computers and/or tablets, and internet outside of the classroom. Operation Connectivity is providing the right solutions to this big challenge,” said TEA Commissioner Mike Morath.
The statewide implementation of this initiative will be led by the Operation Connectivity Task Force. DISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa and TEA Commissioner Morath will serve as co-chairs of the task force. Senator Larry Taylor, Chairman of the Committee on Education in the Texas Senate, and Representative Dan Huberty, Chairman of the Public Education Committee in the Texas House, will serve as members of the task force.
The task force members will also include representatives from the following entities:
- Office of the Governor
- Local Education Agencies
- U.S. Department of Education
- Federal Communications Commission
- Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
- Department of Information Resources
- Texas Computer Education Association
- Chief Technology Officer Council of Texas
The Operation Connectivity Task Force will gather critical information to determine which children in the state do not have internet access and/or home devices, document best practices, identify and secure technology solutions for broadband and devices, develop actionable playbooks for districts across the state, identify funding needs and help secure resources, demonstrate “lighthouse” examples, including at DISD, and push for federal and state-level policies that connect more students learning at home to available technology resources.
The task force will convene as a full group every month to review progress and resolve roadblocks, which will help to ensure the overall effort stays on-track. Working teams that support the larger task force will meet on a more regular basis to move forward on achieving milestones. A group of representatives from the Office of the Governor, TEA, and DISD—along with others—will be in regular communication to ensure rapid progress on this initiative.