5 things districts are doing to close the homework gap

Despite a brighter spotlight on digital equity, gaps still remain, including the troubling and persistent homework gap–but a newly-relaunched digital equity toolkit aims to highlight the important work districts across the nation are taking to address equity differences.

The 2014 E-rate modernization helped a majority of schools meet the FCC’s short-term connectivity goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students, according to CoSN’s relaunched Digital Equity Initiative toolkit. But because classroom use of technology and digital resources is growing, a gap has continued to grow between students who have internet access at home and those who do not.

Because it tends to impact low-income and rural students harder than others, the homework gap can intensify other income or access issues these students and their families face. And even if a family has internet access, students don’t necessarily have access to a device–or the right device–with a large enough screen or enough data to complete homework.…Read More

Most districts are doing nothing about the homework gap; a few are making a big difference

3 out of 4 districts have little plan for providing off-campus internet. But there are solutions, and some districts are leading the charge

The growing ubiquity of internet access and pervasive use of online information has changed the learning landscape forever. Students continue to benefit from enhanced connectivity throughout the formal school day thanks to a $1.5 billion increase in E-rate funding over the last 18 months. However, demand and expectations for learning outside of the school day are on the rise — and there are still many students struggling to complete homework online.

It is estimated that 5 million households with school-age children do not have high-speed internet service at home. Low-income households, especially Black and Hispanic households, make up a disproportionate share of that 5 million.[1] The under-connection of low-income families is a real issue. Clearly, there is a great deal of work that needs to be done to narrow the inequitable homework gap.

This issue constitutes a new civil right; the right to digital equity; the right to connect to needed resources — anywhere, anytime. This is a civil right that cannot be achieved by school leaders alone. A holistic approach will ensure that school-aged children aren’t reduced to little or no access. It calls for community leadership — connected and collaborative leadership.…Read More