Nov 24, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Lack of internet access in American homes has been linked with the inability of students to do their homework. Now, in an effort to counteract this phenomenon, which has been dubbed “the homework gap,” some school districts are taking creative measures. One particularly innovative initiative? WiFi school buses. Here’s a closer look at the trend, as recently reported by CNN.

About the Homework Gap

Data from the Pew Research Center reveals that while the majority of American homes with school-age kids have high-speed internet access, a staggering five million households with school-age children don’t have broadband access. Even more alarmingly, according to Pew’s findings? “Low-income households -- and especially black and Hispanic ones -- make up a disproportionate share of that five million.”

Enter “the homework gap.” Explains CNN, “Students without use of reliable internet access at home find it harder to complete and submit homework assignments, further expanding the inequity already seen in low-income communities.”

A New Route to Closing the Gap

Just because children don’t have internet access at home doesn’t mean they can’t get connected outside the classroom -- at least in school districts with WiFi-equipped buses. Factor in routes which can last as long as two hours daily, and kids gain both the time and means to complete their homework on the road.

Kaden Jacobs, director of communications at Richmond County School System, says of a pilot WiFi school bus program underway in the district, “Our goal is to offer all students in Richmond County equal access to broadband that is required for students to meet academic rigor and obtain 21st-century skills.”

And with the chasm between haves and have-nots far from limited to the US, insiders are also pointing to the vast potential of mobile to level the playing field toward more equal societies. Insists Keith Krueger, CEO of nonprofit professional association for education technology leaders Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), "This is today's civil right -- ensuring that all students have access to equal educational opportunity in a digital world."

Read more about studying education technology.




Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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