Closing the K–12 Digital Divide in the Age of Distance Learning
A full 15 to 16 million public school students across the US live in households without adequate internet access or computing devices to facilitate distance learning. Almost 10% of public school teachers (300,000 to 400,000) are also caught in the gap, affecting their ability to run remote classes. The 32-page report, Closing the K–12 Digital Divide in the Age of Distance Learning, fixes a one-year price tag of at least $6 billion and as much as $11 billion to connect all kids at home, and an additional $1 billion to close the divide for teachers.
The report finds that the states with the largest K–12 digital divide are largely in the south, with Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama showing the largest deficit by proportion, and Texas, California, and Florida the largest gaps by population. But, as the report notes, every state has a problem. "This new report shows that not only is the distance learning gap larger than previously estimated but that too many teachers are caught in it, too, and it will require significant and immediate investments from Congress to close it," said James P. Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense. "This new data and analysis further highlights the urgency for policymakers, educators, and private companies to address this basic educational equity issue that affects kids in every state. Our report makes clear that during this age of distance learning, we have to act right now to close the digital divide that is leaving millions of kids behind."
Closing the K–12 Digital Divide in the Age of Distance Learning K–12 Student Digital Divide Much Larger Than Previously Estimated and Affects Teachers, Too, New Analysis Shows (Press Release)