The COVID-19 pandemic has forced children to pack their backpacks and learn remotely, but a lack of technology resources and live contact with teachers has put low-income K-12 students behind their higher-income peers.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey confirmed what many already suspected, K-12 students living in low-income households have less access to computers and the internet than those students in higher-income households.
However, compounding the digital divide was the survey’s findings that lower-income students have less live contact with their teachers than higher-income students do. Of students who fell in the low-income bracket, 21 percent reported no live-contact with their teachers within the past seven days. On the other hand, 66.2 percent of students of higher-income reported four or more days of live-contact with their teachers.
Tying back to the digital divide, the survey found that of households with an income of more than $200,000, more than 90 percent said the internet was always available. By contrast, only 55 percent of households of less than $25,000 said the internet was always available.
As for access to computers, 90 percent of households with an income of more than $200,000 said computers were always available for educational purposes. Sixty-one percent of households of less than $25,000 said computers were always available for educational purposes.
While the impacts of the switch from in-person to virtual learning are not fully known yet, it’s clear that K-12 students of low-income households face more tech challenges as they attend school from home.
These statistics were taken from the survey’s data collected from November 25 to December 7, 2020.