5 tips to help districts bridge the equity divide

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed historic equity gaps that have long plagued our schools and society. Schools have always served as a hub of support and aid to children, their families, and communities. At our district, the majority of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch And while Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), like districts nationwide, has focused on COVID emergency responses to ensure that students get the social, emotional, and academic supports that they need, we recognize that as our students return to the classrooms, they are returning to a different world.

In the wake of this unrest and the political tensions, our teachers must be prepared to have some difficult conversations. A key piece to these discussions and, ultimately, closing the inequity gaps is to look at the long-term, root causes of inequities and provide all adults who work with students the opportunities to learn how to address, discuss and examine implicit bias as a community.

Related content: How COVID put a spotlight on equity…Read More

Verizon launches free trainings and tools to help educators navigate digital instruction

What you need to know:

  • As the nation faces a surge in Covid-19 cases, and schools continue to grapple with uncertainty and closures, Verizon is providing additional support and remote learning resources for educators, students and parents
  • Teacher Training Pathways offers educators a free platform for professional development
  • Expansion of Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program to include additional student connectivity and teacher professional development for Title I schools

As the ongoing pandemic continues to exacerbate the digital divide in America and increase barriers to digital learning, Verizon is increasing its investment in support of remote learning with the launch of new programs to benefit technology-integrated instruction: Teacher Training Pathways and a new offering within the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program. Developed under the Verizon Innovative Learning program, Verizon’s education initiative focused on addressing barriers to digital inclusion, these programs will bring valuable training and tools to educators and students in support of digital learning and help bring connectivity to  students in under-resourced schools. These efforts are part of Verizon’s continued commitment to Digital Inclusion, a key pillar under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement, and are vital in helping Verizon reach its goal to provide 10 million young people with the digital skills training necessary for them to thrive in a modern economy.

Educators across the nation can now access Teacher Training Pathways, a free platform offering courses aligned to micro-credentials on remote and hybrid learning, instructional technology coaching and more. Created in partnership with the education non-profit Digital Promise, Teacher Training Pathways will help teachers become more efficient and effective in delivering technology-integrated instruction. The platform will feature an evolving library of courses to further develop educators’ digital literacy. Registration is now available for courses designed to help educators address learning challenges in remote instruction, explore education technology tools and develop both synchronous and asynchronous instruction for learners.…Read More

Texas Education Agency and Verizon enable distance learning for 18.9M students in 16 states

For students across Texas and around the country, bridging the digital divide and providing reliable Internet connectivity that enables distance learning for students without Internet access are among the top priorities for state governments, school districts, teachers and parents alike. Many students across the U.S. will start the 2020-2021 school year this month. 

 

Verizon has partnered with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Connectivity initiative to provide up to 18.9 million students in Texas and 15 neighboring states with a simple and quick way to access critical distance learning technologies. Kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) public school students in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin will benefit from Verizon’s sponsor-state agreement with the TEA to provide schools in Texas and the 15 other states with discounted service plans for unlimited 4G LTE Internet access, mobile device management (MDM) and other security solutions required for student use. …Read More

When the digital divide is made worse by a pandemic

The digital divide is proving one of the most pervasive and stubborn challenges in U.S. education, and its effects can follow students from kindergarten through college. As if that’s not bad enough, the COVID-19 crisis, which forced students across the globe to learn at home while schools closed physical operations, made inequities even more apparent.

Students in schools all over the U.S. struggled to find existing or reliable internet connections, many didn’t have access to appropriate devices to complete online assignments, others waited for weeks until schools managed to organize device-lending programs, while still others had to share devices with siblings and, sometimes, parents who also had to work from home.

Related content: Family tech nights can narrow the digital divide…Read More

Family tech nights can narrow the digital divide

When we talk about digital equity, the conversation often focuses on providing opportunities for all students to learn in an increasingly connected world. We talk about devices and home connectivity. We talk the importance of parental support. We talk about training all educators to integrate digital tools in their classrooms in meaningful ways.

Seldom, though, does the conversation focus on ensuring that parents acquire the same skills we want for our students.

But when schools support students in transferring their skills to their parents, they are narrowing the digital divide.…Read More

3 Google Fiber programs that could help ease the digital divide

Google’s affordable broadband service is already impacting some communities and schools

The latest Digital Equity report from the Consortium of School Networking paints a picture of an educational environment where schools are at least on the right path to providing access to high-speed wi-fi within their walls (though there is still plenty of work to be done). An equally pressing problem is the fact that the number of pupils with fast connectivity dwindles as they move away from their K-12 hubs—and the divide deepens even further when issues like socioeconomic status, income, and race are taken into account.

According to The Pew Research Center, 82.5 percent of American households with school-age children currently have broadband access at home. This is approximately 9 percentage points higher than the broadband adoption rates across all households, CoSN reports, but there are still 5 million households with school-age children which lack broadband in the home.

“Students in these households experience what is being labeled the ‘homework gap,’” reported CoSN, pointing out that more than 75 percent of school district technology leaders have no strategy for addressing off-campus access.…Read More

FCC approves $9 broadband subsidy for low-income households

Expansion of the Lifeline program will affect more than 13 million Americans

A recently-approved expansion of an FCC program will grant millions of low-income households a discount on internet access in an effort to help close what is becoming known as the digital divide — the lack of reliable high-speed internet access for lower income families.

FCC commissioners voted on the proposed expansion 3 to 2 along party lines, as expected. Eligible households (those at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty level) will now be able to apply the $9.25 subsidy to broadband, wireless, or a bundled voice and internet package. Previously, the program, called Lifeline, was only applicable to phone service.

According to the FCC, nearly all households with annual incomes of more than $150,000 currently have high-speed internet; by contrast, nearly half of those with incomes less than $25,000 claim the same.…Read More

This learning style is creating a new digital divide in the U.S.

Blended, online learning is giving only students in some states the advantage they need

learning-online-divideEducation technology can enable achievement for students with a variety of learning styles. But it also creates a problem: For students who don’t have access to these forms of technology-enabled learning—bring-your-own-device, for instance—the digital divide grows. Now, as many states across the country begin to support multiple online and blended learning programs, states that still don’t support these learning styles are creating an alarming disadvantage for their students.

Perhaps one of the most definitive sources on the online and blended learning landscape in the U.S. today is “Keeping Pace with K-12 Online & Blended Learning,” a massive data report compiled by the Evergreen Education Group, a private consulting and advisory firm specializing in education and education technology.

The report provides a snapshot of the K-12 online and blended learning landscape across 50 states as of late 2013, and makes many forward-looking statements on the future of online and blended learning. One of those statements describes the new digital divide.…Read More

When can technology bridge the educational divide

Gadgets and software on its own will not improve education, EdSurge reports. While 21st century technology promises to help students develop a wider, more accessible breadth of knowledge, just putting tech in our schools is not enough to “level the playing field.”  Instead our structural and pedagogical realities run smack into conflict with our hopes for equitable access. I see some daunting–but not impossible–hurdles before technology can truly help all our students in equitable ways. The changes we need starts with our mindset. It also includes facing up to the prolonged inequities between our most affluent schools and our most underfunded ones. The schools with the most need in their communities should get more funding than those with less–starting with more guidance counselors, expert teachers, and resources…

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