Disparity in Home Internet Access for Students

Published Sep 5, 2018 1:40:00 PM in Tech News

Learn how a disparity in home internet access for students contributes to the growing "homework gap" and a lack of digital equity.

Digital equity is a concern for 70% of all K-12 IT leaders, according to the 2018 National K-12 IT Leadership Survey Report from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). The lack of broadband access at home, the “Homework Gap,” was rated by 32% as “very” or “extremely” important.

Nearly 94% of school districts in the country now meet federal connectivity targets for broadband access. Unfortunately, only 61% of children ages 3 to 18 have internet access at home, with rates even lower for low income or rural students. The Internet connectivity disparity has created a “homework gap.”

88% percent of 8th-graders and 83% of 4th-graders use a computer at home, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, with 80% of 8th-graders using a computer for schoolwork on a weekday. In today’s digital learning environment, the homework gap makes it difficult for students to complete homework assignments.

The CoSN report identifies that closing the homework gap is a priority for today’s IT leaders. And this alone indicates the changing role of IT leaders, who no longer focused solely on infrastructure, but on shaping the learning environment for students - inside and outside of school.

"Digital equity is the civil rights issue of today. Students deserve the right to connect to learning resources anytime, anywhere, and this actionable resource helps advance that vital mission." - Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN

Digital equity is a complex issue that needs to be addressed at many levels, but today’s IT leaders can play a role in advocating for improvement. The most recent CoSN Digital Equity Toolkit includes five strategies designed to help address the “homework gap” at the school and community levels including partnerships for “homework hotspots” and installation of WiFi on school buses.

FileWave is proud to be an active advisor on several CoSN committees, including those focused on digital equity.

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