Teachers: Broadband Homework Gap Remains

Common Sense polled over 1,200 teachers and the consensus is that there is a continuing broadband "homework" gap that disproportionately disadvantages lower-income students.

That came from a new study, "The Homework Gap: Teacher Perspectives on Closing the Digital Divide," which found a continuing educational digital divide.

The survey was conducted in May 2018, but Common Sense said the gap remains.

"As long as the homework gap persists, teachers cannot prepare the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow," said James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense."We cannot afford to shortchange lower-income students and students of color, simply because of a lack of broadband and computer access at home."

The study found that four out of 10 teachers said "many" of their students don't have "adequate" home access to a computer or the internet and among teachers in schools with more than three quarters of students of color (Title I schools) said that a majority (more than 60%) of students don't have access to either a computer or the internet.

The online and focus group study was conducted among 1,208 U.S. K–12 teachers in May 2018.

FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who has made closing the homework gap one of her signature issues called the report a "welcome contribution" to that effort.

“Today, homework and high-speed internet service go hand-in-hand," she said. "But as this report makes clear, too many students are struggling because they lack the broadband access they need to complete nightly schoolwork, said Federal Communications commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. “This homework gap is the cruelest part of our new digital divide."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.