Digital Education Support in H1023

Yesterday, H1023 was approved by the NC General Assembly and was sent on to Governor Cooper for signature. There are a few digital inclusion-related items included in the bill. Should it become law, here is what we can expect:
  • $2,500,000: The Department of Commerce, Office of Science, Technology, and Innovation (Office), shall administer a statewide pilot program (pilot) to promote access to innovative digital and personalized learning solutions for high school students that bridge the gap between chemistry and physical science classes and career and technical education (CTE) career pathways. The local school administrative units shall incorporate the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) focused educational software program developed by Plasma Games, Inc., in select STEM classes and their CTE programs to encourage student interest and workforce development for chemistry-dependent industries located in North Carolina, including careers in the pharmaceutical, agricultural technology, biotechnology, textile, material science, energy, minerals and mining, and chemical manufacturing fields. The pilot shall be conducted for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • $400,000 to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources for the State Library’s NC Kids Digital Library for enhancement of digital offerings to students lacking physical access to local libraries due to the COVID-19 29 emergency.
  • $400,000 to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to allocate to the North Carolina Museum of History for (i) the development and implementation of and access to virtual history programs for statewide student educational purposes and (ii) online public access to the historical content of the North Carolina Museum of History during the closure of facilities due to the impact of “stay-at-home” orders.