7.8 Million Kids Heading Back to School With One Strike Already Against Them

Summer is nearly over, and that means kids will soon be returning to the classroom. This week, Connected Nation is looking at how families with children are using technology, as well as steps that schools are taking to make sure that all of their students can access broadband and all the opportunities it represents.

Unfortunately, a large number of students are starting out this school year at a disadvantage. According to The e-Learning Foundation, students who can’t access the Internet at home have grades one grade lower than their Internet-connected peers. Our research across twelve states plus Puerto Rico shows that about 14% of households with children in these states/territories do not have Internet service at home.

If this percentage is projected to the entire United States, it means that about 7.8 million school-age children will be at a disadvantage when studying for tests, conducting research, or interacting with their peers and teachers online (based on U.S. Census estimates of the number of school-age children in America). The top barrier to broadband adoption among households with children who don’t subscribe is the monthly price of broadband service, which is cited by one-quarter (25%) of these households.

There are several groups that are trying to make computers available to more children and provide better access to technology for low-income children. Tomorrow we will highlight an innovative program called “Learning On the Go” that uses E-rate funds to get tablet computers into the hands of low-income students.

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