California has long wrestled with a stark split between students and teachers who have access to internet and computers and home and those who don’t. This digital divide has created uneven access to completing homework, researching and applying for colleges or financial aid, and other important opportunities for students. As schools rely more on distance learning, this unequal access to technology threatens to widen gaps in academic achievement, especially among Black, Latino and low-income students in rural areas who are among the least likely in California to have internet subscriptions at home. State and district officials are pushing for a variety of solutions to help close the gap and provide access to the internet for all California students, however there is still a long road ahead.
State leaders struggle to pinpoint how many students remain unconnected, and fear widening inequality as distance learning continues.
Students and their families need help crossing cultural and linguistic barriers to access distance learning materials and instructions.
Some teachers report less engagement with cameras off, but anxiety, tech glitches and privacy concerns could keep some students from turning them on.
Distance learning is not a mode of instruction most parents, students, teachers and administrators would have chosen in the absence of the pandemic.
The governor wants to reimagine the state’s Broadband Council and ramp up efforts to connect all students to technology during distance learning.
A citywide campaign raised $12.5 million to provide for low income students, but the devices have not yet arrived due to a backlog.
The Legislature set minimum hours but left it to districts and unions to define instruction, engagement and set the length of a school day.
At least 100,000 tablets with internet included will be ready for districts in time for the new school year, state officials said.
Many school districts will have to ditch plans for hybrid learning and in-person classes at the start of the school year.
Campuses in 32 of the state’s 58 counties are unlikely to open for the start of the new school year.
As coronavirus cases spike across California more school districts are making the decision to educate students online next school year.
California’s smallest school districts struggle to pay for supplies, staff and technology needed to reopen schools.
About 56,700 laptops and 94,000 hotspots have been sent to districts across the state so far.
California lawmakers introduced distance learning provisions around instructional time, attendance and connecting with parents.
While some families are doing science projects at home, teachers say a lack of supplies makes it difficult to assign hands-on experiments.