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COVID-19 exposes homework gap and digital divide

As part of the next COVID-19 legislative package, NEA is pushing Congress to help narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap—the inability to do schoolwork at home due to lack of internet access. Nationwide, as many as 12 million students are affected—roughly 1 in 5. A disproportionate share of those students are African-American, Hispanic, live in rural areas, or come from low-income families. The Emergency Educational Connections Act (H.R. 6563) would provide $2 billion for a special fund, administered by the Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate program, to equip students to go online for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.


Email your members of Congress and tell them to support H.R. 6365 and include it in the next COVID-19 legislative package.

25 responses to “COVID-19 exposes homework gap and digital divide

  1. We are finding even with access to technology, many of our students are falling behind. Our district was able to offer devices to every child that needed one, but that does not mean all parents were able/willing/ interested in making the drive to distribution sites. In families with parents also working from home or no parent at home, we are getting assignments turned in (if they are at all) at 10, 11 and even 2 in the morning! Even though we are teaching live digitally, recording lessons or making lessons as “self-taught” as possible, parent are beginning to resent being asked to be involved with or check up on their students’ work. Even though kids no longer have sports and other after school activities to consume their evenings and weekends, the parents are telling us there’s not enough time to do the work. Of course many parents have stepped up and are supporting their kids, but for students without a reliable, willing adult at home, providing the technology is just the first step.

  2. Included in such legislation must be dollars earmarked for teacher training. Many many teachers were not prepared to teach online.

    1. I work with very low income infant/toddlers Early Head Start program and virtual early is very difficult for this age group. We are using laptops to communicate with families but many of our parents only have a phone and do not have internet access to view which makes it very hard since our children are so young. The district only gives computers to older students and it very challenging to teach this age online. We are doing our very best with what we have.

  3. Many of my students have no access to some excellent digital instruction I’ve been able to plan and provide, simply because they live in rural areas. As a history teacher, I know how important infrastructure investment in the Great Depression was to rural America, especially the effort to provide electric service to areas that didn’t yet have it.

    Now it is time to close the digital gap, and give our young students and farmers the tools they need to compete in a global economy.

  4. My daughter teaches 2nd grade in a small town north of Seattle WA. During this corona virus shutdown, she prepares lessons and homework packages each week and mails them to her students. The entire class and all the lower grades of her school are receiving classwork this way because of the disparity of access to computers and the internet. This is not the way to prepare our nation’s children to meet the challenges of the future. This is a monumental waste of our children’s minds and lives. It is, frankly, criminal. Include H.R. 6563 in the next Covid-19 relief package and begin to heal our educational system.

  5. Education is the key to success. If we are willing to invest in the future of our country we must invest in public education . Give states the authority to test without penalty of Grades (leave no child behind ) and continue the funding for any school or district with struggles . Give help to schools with struggling students to help them without threat of discontinuing funding. Not just equal funding but true funding. Education committee members should not have to jump through hoops to fund schools. Educators can only teach students if they are willing to learn and have parents willing to support the learning at home. Teachers can only teach children if they have enough resources and technology. Students who can come to school during a regular school year have better chance of having an better educated experience overall. School Transportation needs to be supported for many students . If a child is unable to get to school there should be transportation to get them there. Please keep fighting for the future of America our children. Every child is going to make a difference in the future. ALL ASPECTS Of The Education Process For young Children is important Do not take any of it for granted. All children, Special needs children as well Do help in this great America. The special needs programs have been neglected for many years . Please find it more as well.

  6. As a Univ. of Connecticut Supervisor of Student Teachers, I’ve seen firsthand the past several weeks, current high level stress associated with teachers & students trying to continue teaching & learning under the very unique and trying circumstances that Covid-19 has created. Because internet access is not a given for all students in many communi-ties yet is so necessary to help students keep up with assignments and communicate with classmates & teachers, the Emergency Educational Connections Act (HR6563) is vital! It’s extremely important that it be included in the next Covid-19 legislative package, providing $2 billion of special funds to equip students to go online for the duration of this health emergency.

  7. Let’s level the educational playing field for all children, regardless of race or income level!!!
    All of our children deserve equal access to and a fair share of the educational resources!!!!

  8. Think big picture. The true wealth of a country should be measured in its citizens- every child holds a vast reservoir of of potential.

  9. Education in rural America is being adversely impacted by the lack of funding to school districts to bridge the digital divide between those which have reliable internet access and those who do not. This is a travesty that in America, hundreds of thousands of young minds are left to their own devices because so much of their education relies on brick and mortar schools without a firm reliable back up plan of distance education because internet services cannot be provided for in rural areas. The pandemic has exposed this issue to the world – let’s rectify it by moving quickly to pass the Emergency Educational Connections Act before you not because it is cheap, but because it is the moral thing to do.

  10. Imagine Dina, a smart child, a good student. But she sits in her apartment doing nothing, unable to study because she doesn’t have the technology that her classmates all have. Will we force her to fail in school simply because she is poor?

    Please support the Emergency Educational Connections Act (H.R. 6563), so Dina and the thousands of children like her in our country may have a fighting chance for a good education.

  11. Twenty to twenty-five percent of my urban students do not have Internet access or lack the proper device to do schoolwork. Please make wifi technology access part of the next stimulus package.

  12. Dear Representative,

    To keep our country strong and educated, I urge you to make closing the homework gap and narrowing the digital divide a part of the next COVID-19 legislative package.

    Lack of internet access is widening the educational gap even further. I am lucky to be able to afford internet access to my family, but as an educator myself, I am very worried about those students who are falling even further behind due to this inability to participate in the educational curriculum that is being offered during these times. We cannot thrive in a country where many of our citizens lack education. I fear that this divide will result in a larger number of dropouts and could impact us for years to come.

    The Emergency Educational Connections Act (H.R. 6563) would provide $2 billion for a special fund, administered through the E-Rate program, to equip students to go online for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.

    Please support H.R. 6365 and include it in the next COVID-19 legislative package.

  13. COVID 19’s requirement that kids connect with teachers using technology has exposed an inequality we’ve all known about for a long time: the digital divide. Support HR 6365 to support students’ online access.

  14. Education is the key to improving the culture of the US by providing a place for all children (and adults) to experience each other and to learn about our world and their place in it and on it. We know that education makes the largest difference in the lives of all children and that it supports them as they move into adulthood. We see how countries that provide for their citizens are the most successful. Why can’t we do this for our children, their parents and all of our fellow citizens?

  15. The fact that our broad band infrastructure is left to the private sector to manipulate for profit at the expense of large groups in our population cannot continue to be ignored.

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