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.