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Morino Institute From Access to Outcomes: Digital Divide Report and Dialogue
Report Supplement

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Changing Policy and Philanthropy




Dec 13, 2000


Phyllis Meadows

Hello Mario and Greg:

Hope this is not too late, but I wanted to try and at least put my reactions on the table:

First, I want to thank you for the opportunity to review the draft which I found to be very interesting and insightful.

I really agree with the notion that the real challenge goes beyond access to what "people and institutions do with it...". I also offer that issues of "content" are growing more and more important, as meaning and relevance of the information the technology perpetuates is critical to moving those who are on the fringes of this new society.

I would like to expand the notion of the Digital Divide to more than who has the tools, to who is involved in producing and creating the technologies. Thus far, what is needed and accessible is a still a top down notion that limits the scope of what will ultimately be important.

The WKKF is in full agreement with the notion of technology as simply a tool, and hopes to integrate fully the idea of "tools for social change"

As I viewed the document, I sensed there were some profound assumptions being made about the most needy communities and their 1) readiness, 2) acceptable views about technology and 3) their overall values. I kept asking the question: Whose values are we talking about here"" Who is deciding on these outcomes as most paramount? What other social factors will be necessary to remedy, manage, acknowledge? What human factors are being potentially being ignored in the scope of the technology paradigm?

The toughest question: (see page 3) Is society ready to concede to the notion that we are creating a new underclass? Is this a sufficient motivator for change within society at-large?

I thought you could reasonably expand (pg. 4) the factors contributing to the cycle of poverty to external forces such as poor quality schools, urban sprawl, relocation of businesses etc. Overall, I agree there is a need to address the community infrastructure. This indeed calls for a very multi-tier approach to understanding the dynamics of influence, external, internal, social, financial, political and relational.

Phyllis Meadows

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