We are living through an extraordinarily difficult period for our institutions that directly affect us all. We have seen how the coronavirus has damaged our economy, the strain it has put on our healthcare system, and most notably, in the human toll which has claimed over 1.6 million lives worldwide and 300,000 lives (and rising) in the United States. Notwithstanding, the toll on our education system and the growing educational gap for our students.
Nine months ago, millions of K-12 students transitioned into remote learning in an unprecedented shift. Studies have shown that students of color are far more likely to fall behind in the virtual classroom era compared to white students. This also holds true for students of low-income backgrounds. One of the core factors in this discrepancy can be traced to examining the impact of the digital divide on students and their families.
The digital divide, or “the gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the Internet, and those who do not,” has long been a paradigm of inequity in our evolving digital world. COVID-19 was just able to put it front and center for more eyes to see.
Our students continue to face challenges that hinder their ability to continue classroom learning. Over the summer, our team discussed and identified some of the root causes holding our students back and trends we noticed across the country. We saw that there was a glaring discrepancy in who had access to broadband internet, access to computers and laptops at home, and generally speaking, access to computer science education.
Today, Code Nation released a policy brief for our community that makes the connection between how a lack of access to the internet, tech resources, and computer science education further deepens not only the educational gap but the digital divide as well. We provide research and recommendations for all kinds of stakeholders seeking to make a difference in this fight.
We’re calling on schools, educators, policymakers, government entities, tech companies, nonprofits, internet service providers, parents, and community leaders to come together and take action to disrupt the digital divide for the future of our students. We need collaboration during times like this. We hope to forge partnerships with folks already advocating for change and also bring along new voices, like ours, to address the digital divide together.
Join us. Together, we can Disrupt the Digital Divide!