a boy with a frustrated expression writes in a notebook

The Homework Gap

Widespread home-based learning has highlighted a long-documented and persistent inequity of students that lack adequate broadband access. This digital divide, commonly known as the homework gap impacts millions of students.

When the pandemic began, 15-16 million K-12 students did not have adequate access to the internet. Up to up to 12 million students remain under-connected. (Common Sense Media)

The homework gap also impacts some of the most vulnerable students such as those from low-income families and those systematically underserved. As the learning environment for students has shifted from traditional classrooms in school buildings made of bricks and mortar to virtual classrooms, the necessity for each student to have high-quality access to the Internet is imperative. With the current crisis dramatically shifting our children’s education to remote and online learning, it has never been more important to address this inequity.

More than 75% of the temporary solutions enacted during the pandemic to connect students are expected to expire in the next one to three years. (Common Sense Media)

NSBA supports efforts to improve necessary high-speed broadband required for twenty-first century learning both when students are at school and when they are home. School board members across the nation are joining NSBA in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress to focus on ways to improve the overall connectivity and digital infrastructure for all students and abandon efforts to make connectivity more difficult. Closing the homework gap is a pressing national need that must be addressed so all students have the opportunity to receive an excellent twenty-first century education.

Recommendations to the Biden Administration

NSBA has met several times with the Biden-Harris team and provided the new administration with several nonpartisan recommendations to guide their work.

One of our major recommendations is to promote digital equity and close the Homework Gap. Working collaboratively, the President, Congress, the Department of Education, and the Federal Communications Commission must eliminate broadband infrastructure gaps and invest in students and families without adequate high-speed broadband and/or internet devices.

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News

two young students use tablets outside

NSBA Asks FCC for Speed and Flexibility in Disbursement of $7.1 Billion Devoted to Closing “Homework Gap”

NSBA urges the Federal Communications Commission to quickly distribute funds from the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund to help close the digital divide in education and give school districts flexibility to distribute them based on local needs.

a girl, with her back toward the camera, raises her hand during remote learning

NSBA Asks Federal Communications Commission to Close Remote Learning Gap

A coalition of education advocates, including NSBA, petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to close the remote learning gap for the estimated 15-16 million students who lack home internet access.

Jessica Rosenworcel

Statement from NSBA on President Biden’s Selection of Jessica Rosenworcel as Chair of the Federal Communications Commission

In response to President Biden’s announcement that Jessica Rosenworcel will be the acting chair of the Federal Communications Commission, NSBA Executive Director and CEO Anna Maria Chávez issued the follow statement to commend Rosenworcel as a champion of closing the digital divide.

Stories

a boy, resting his head on his book, looks exhaustedly at the camera

Bridging the Homework Gap

A small urban district in southwestern Ohio worked to eliminate the homework gap during remote learning. Their success could serve as a model for schools across the country that collectively serve the 16.9 million children without high-speed internet.

a student, only shown from the back, is using a mobile phone while a laptop sits on a desk in front of her

Innovative Practices that Support Student Learning During the Pandemic and Beyond

NSBA’s Center for Public Education highlights how three school districts are supporting student learning during the pandemic and beyond through innovative practices.

a girl with headphones and a laptop

Virtual Connections

In the last few months, nearly every district in the country has transition to online learning. ASBJ explores how school leaders secured the necessary technology, trained teachers as well as student families, and ensured that instruction remains equitable.

as school staff member in a mask holds up electronic equipment and gives a thumbs up to the camera

Can a Crisis Lead to Equitable Access?

2020-21 Chair of the CUBE Steering Committee and President of Texas’ Fort Worth Independent School Board Jacinto Ramos Jr. shares how his district continues the equitable delivery of education during a pandemic that has thrown inequities into sharp relief.

Resources