School Closings Leave Kids With No Internet Behind – CityLab
For many of the more than 100,000 schools closed, teachers are moving their classes online. But not all students can take advantage because of the lack of technology at home, a disparity known as the homework gap. Some 15% of households with school-age children don’t have internet at home, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of 2015 census data. And in a separate 2018 survey of 13- to 17-year-olds, 1 in 5 teens told Pew researchers that they often or sometimes can’t complete assignments because they don’t have reliable access to the internet or a computer. Both reports found that affected students are more likely to be from low-income and minority families.
Without a sound contingency plan to get all students connected, already-disadvantaged youth will fall even further behind over the next several weeks, says Angela Siefer, executive director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. “The inequities in all our education systems are going to be even worse,” she says. “The kids whose families do have internet connection are going to have at least some learning continuing during this period, and the kids who don’t won’t.”
It’s not just about taking online classes: With libraries and recreation centers closed, and seating restricted at cafes and restaurants that offer free Wi-Fi, students miss out on a host of online resources that can at least partially help make up for missed school days.