Missouri is about 41st in the nation in broadband internet access. State Representative Louis Riggs wants to require the Missouri K-12 Education Department to report annually about the number of students with limited or no access to high-speed internet at home. During a House committee hearing, Mountain View-Birch Tree School Board member Shelly Mantel said she supports the bill. She says the best way out of poverty is through education.
Last year, the department released a survey showing one in five Missouri students – about 200,000 – do not have broadband internet access at home. The survey, with responses from the state’s roughly 555 school districts and charter schools, says affordability of internet service and devices is the main problem.