In today’s world, having access to the Internet is an asset.  The Internet has become a very desirable and necessary asset as it is relied on more and more to send or receive messages and information to/from friends, relatives, employers, medical facilities, merchants, airlines, schools, etc.  The Internet provides access to vocabularies, phrases, lyrics, news, history, math, science, the humanities, etc.  It goes without saying (I’ll say it anyway) that one has to have access to a computer and the Internet in order to access what the Internet offers. 

When I was in high school, there were no computers.  Homework assignments were given verbally or in writing on the blackboard or paper.  Messages to parents were also given verbally or on paper.  That is not how many students and parents receive assignments/communications today.  Today, many (if not most) assignments/communications are transmitted via the Internet.  So…there is (should be) concern about the lack of Internet access for those students whose families cannot afford to provide Internet/Wi-Fi access at home and/or are unable to patronize businesses that offer Internet/Wi-Fi access. 

It is my understanding that Evanston High School students are provided with Chromebooks (a new category of very fast Internet – dependent notebook computers that can connect with Wi-Fi).  As announced in this issue, the Evanston Public Library will have a number of “hot spots,”(a physical wireless local area network that provides Internet connection) that can be checked out to augment Internet/Wi-Fi access starting in May. I would have recommended that only those Evanston High School students whose family low income qualifies them for free lunches and precludes having Internet/WiFi at home be the ones that are allowed to check out the “hot spots,” but… that’s  my opinion. Sigh. Access to an asset. An ongoing dilemma.

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...