Hybrid Educational Tech is Lagging—Policymakers Need to Step Up

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It’s time for states to step up and realize that proper technology and WiFi connectivity are a must-have in public school districts, and that state policy is dangerously lagging behind. While systems might not continue to operate as 100 percent virtual schools in a post-COVID world, better access to learning technology is no longer negotiable in this increasingly-digital world. Hybrid schooling models can offer significant opportunities for personalized learning, from special education students to students in rural areas who don’t have adequate wireless connectivity at home. Yet laws vary from state to state on how they currently address distance and hybrid learning resource needs, and federal mandates are by no means comprehensive or equitably utilized. To provide these equitable resources, policymakers should agree upon and identify access to 1:1 devices and broadband internet as a fundamental right for all students—as necessary as food and security. And in order to better understand current needs and limitations, policymakers should create stronger connections with individuals on the ground, from parents to teachers to administrators.

[Mary Jo Madda is currently the Creative Strategy Manager for several diversity and education initiatives at Google, including Code Next and Tech Exchange. Previously, she was a Director at EdSurge.]

Millions of Students Are Still Without WiFi and Tech—Why Haven’t Policymakers Stepped Up?