Facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources
One of the first priorities of 2021 should be to enable schools and libraries to use E-Rate to help students and patrons get online from home. To support these extensions is to uphold the program’s founding principles of universal service and access. So what is the hold up? For one, Congress can barely figure out how to pass its annual appropriations bills. Although there is a chance that E-Rate changes could come in the final push for COVID-19 relief legislation, relying on lawmakers typically means waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), both members of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced the Every Child Connected Act—legislation that aims to reduce the digital divide between students with and without internet access, known as the Homework Gap. Specifically, the legislation accomplishes this goal by targeting available funding sources from Federal Trade Commission data privacy violations to provide vital connectivity to American students at home. The Every Child Connected Act would:
The state of Connecticut is giving every student in grades K-12 a laptop and paying for their internet access. Recently, the state announced that it had achieved near-universal access for both device distribution and connectivity—a significant achievement in a state where 40 percent of households in some cities lack home access, according to census data. The program, known as the
The pandemic has made getting computers and internet connections to households with school-age children a priority. The “homework gap” is sizable. Before the pandemic, some 16.9 million children under the age of 18 lived in households without wireline internet service and 7.3 million live in homes without a desktop, laptop, or tablet computer. What was a homework gap is now a learning gap. Many states and localities have responded.
A Q&A with Johannes Bauer, director of the James H. and Mary B. Quello Center for Media and Information Policy at Michigan State University, about how broadband access is affecting K-12 education.
Q. Did you find that the lack of high-speed internet has an impact beyond getting homework done?
To understand and quantify the pattern and magnitude of the pandemic’s effect on young students, this research brief examines the digital divide in virtual learning by analyzing survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The major findings include:
Tens of thousands of Colorado kids still lack internet access. State stimulus dollars will only offer a short-term fix.
Colorado state lawmakers passed a bill providing $20 million in grants for districts to broaden internet access to students at a time the internet has become the main mode of learning across much of the state and country. But the dollars, part of a state stimulus package at the center of a special legislative session this week, won’t ensure every young Coloradan has a reliable internet connection. The investment is widely viewed — by lawmakers, educators and education advocates — as a short-term fix.
As the pandemic forces students out of school, broadband deployment programs aren't going to move fast enough to help families in immediate need of better internet access. But Democrats at the Federal Communications Commission say the incoming Biden administration could put a dent in that digital divide with one fast policy change.
Connected Nation finds that 47 percent of US school districts—6,132, to be exact, representing about one-third of public K-12 students—meet the 1 Mbps/student standard. Still, that means about two-thirds of students lack what Connected Nation calls “scalable broadband” in schools. The broadband gap isn’t only a problem for remote learning. “Early childhood” videos on YouTube nearly all have advertising. And as video dominates online instruction, more educators need easy-to-use resources for video creation.
In the summer of 2020, the Hamilton County (TN) public school system – which encompasses the city of Chattanooga – announced it would be providing high-speed internet access to families with students on free or reduced lunch plans through a program called EdConnect. The service is funded through the next ten years, the school board says, meaning the free high-speed internet should well outlast the pandemic.