California disconnect: Nearly 2 million caught in homework gap

Children of color are far more likely to be cut off from online learning in California
By: | September 28, 2020

Nearly 2 million California students caught in the homework gap lack internet access even as online learning is the norm in most districts, according to a new report.

And nearly 690,000 don’t have a computer, according to the “Keeping Students Linked in California” report from the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Linked Learning Alliance.

The U.S. House of Representatives, meanwhile, is expected to vote on another COVID stimulus package next week that could include $7 billion in E-rate program funding for high-speed home internet access, the organizations said in a release.

“Asking students who have already been through so much to fill out paper packets or join their classmates from fast food restaurant parking lots is neither acceptable nor sustainable,”Alliance for Excellent Education President and CEO Deborah Delisle said in a statement.

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“Continuing to allow millions of students—particularly those who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic—to be ‘logged off’ from learning will set back an entire generation,” Delisle said.

Children of color are far more likely to be cut off from online learning in California, the report found:

  • Nearly 1-in-4 Black families in California do not have high-speed internet access at home
  • Almost one-third Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native families do not have high-speed internet access.
  • One in 10 each of Black, Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native families have no home computer.

Nearly 60% of juniors and seniors in seven California districts said keeping up with schoolwork at home is challenging, particularly without the appropriate technology, according to a Linked Learning Alliance survey.

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However, a majority of juniors and seniors found value in establishing and maintaining virtual relationships with teachers, counselors and classmates.

Nationally, 16.9 million students don’t have high-speed internet at home, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education.

The organization has developed an interactive map showing the impact of the homework gap in each state.

DA’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on K-12.

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