Obama to announce free e-books for low-income kids

30 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Obama Promotes E-Book Gift for Poor Kids Amid Inequality Debate.

President Barack Obama reads “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak, during the White House Easter Egg Roll at the White House in Washington April 6. The initiative, which will give millions of kids around the country access to free digital content, is part of ConnectED, a White House initiative that aims to get high-speed broadband access in all schools by 2018.

Aides hinted that the president would use the event as a demonstration of how the administration is addressing income inequality amid racial unrest in cities like Baltimore. “If we’re serious about living up to what our country is about, then we have to consider what we can do to provide opportunities in every community, not just when they’re on the front page, but every day,” National Economic Council director Jeff Zients said Wednesday in a conference call for reporters. The offer of e-books comes as low-income households still lag far behind others in computer ownership, but White House officials said libraries and schools in poor communities are increasing access to the Internet. But the program, which features commitments from brand-name publishers like Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster, faces some hurdles in reaching the children who could benefit the most. At the same time, Obama will appeal to library directors, local governments and school officials to work together to provide universal access to library cards. Cecilia Munoz, director of the Domestic Policy Council, pointed to the “presence of a lot more devices in schools” and said that Apple Inc. had previously pledged to donate $100 million in iPads, laptops, and software to underprivileged schools.

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