The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent school closures have magnified and intensified existing inequities in our educational systems. One of the biggest issues is that many children cannot access education during quarantine, a fundamental
breach of our children’s right to an education. While school districts in wealthier and whiter neighborhoods have been able to quickly transition to online learning, providing the necessary laptops and tablets to their students,
kids from low-income communities and communities of color have not had the same access to internet and technological hardware.
These digital inequities broadcast the separate and unequal education systems Washington State has designed and call for meaningful action and long-term investments from our local, county, and state governments so that each and every
child can receive a high-quality education, even during an international emergency.
Digital inclusion experts recommend a three-pronged approach to closing the digital divide, typically represented through a “three-legged stool.” The Equity in Education Coalition is calling for the entire family is critical in ensuring
statewide access to the internet.
3) Digital Skills Building an accessible digital literacy continuum to help people navigate basic digital skills will provide the support needed to get our communities online.public investments in 1) fast and affordable
internet access, 2) devices and hardware for the whole family, and 3) accessible and ongoing opportunities to advance digital skills.
The Three-Legged Stool of Digital Equity
Even in the technology hub of King County, 20% of households are , having no broadband, or having service that is underused, expensive or slow, according to a recent county study.
- According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 735,000 people in Washington State do not have an internet connection in their homes.
- An additional 500,000 households rely solely on limited cell phone data plans, while 30,000 others still use slower dial-up services.
- Even in the technology hub of King County, 20% of households are , having no broadband, or having service that is underused, expensive or slow, according to a recent county study.
- Even in the greater Seattle region — one of the country’s leading technology hubs — a significant digital divide persists, particularly for low-income families. Households earning $25,000 or lower in Seattle have the lowest internet access rates, with 21% of these households lacking any internet access,
according to a 2018 technology study by the City of Seattle.