State Strategies to Advance Digital Equity
By accelerating schools’ adoption of technology for virtual learning, the pandemic spotlighted longstanding inequities in digital access, especially for Black, Hispanic, and low-income K-12 students. By spearheading efforts to collect data, collaborate with partners, buy digital devices and infrastructure, and reimagine effective technology use, several states made strides toward digital equity in schools.
In 2019, 95 percent of 3- to 18-year-olds had home internet access, 6 percent of whom
relied on a smartphone for access. However, in April 2021, 46 percent of parents with lower incomes said their children had at least one issue related to use of technology for schoolwork during school closures. Even though most schools have returned to in-person learning, these households’ lack of connectivity or devices continue to limit students’ opportunities to access content and instruction in increasingly connected learning environments.
Early this month, the Biden administration emphasized its support for ensuring digital access and opportunity for digital learning beyond the pandemic with its announcement of a plan to work with service providers to make high-speed internet more affordable for low-income families. …