Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

An Equitable Education in the Digital Age: Providing Internet Access to Students of Poverty
Stacy Fox

Students of poverty are ready and eager to learn, however, due to economic hardship, they often fall short compared to their peers who come from a higher socioeconomic status. With the intention of increasing students’ digital literacy and to prepare them to be globalized citizens in the 21st century, schools are turning to 1:1 mobile initiatives. Giving each student a device (whether a laptop or tablet), schools set expectations for students to use and manipulate digital technology to enhance their learning experience. However, students without internet connections are unable to utilize these devices with the same efficacy as their more economically advantaged peers. When the school day ends, so does their opportunity to access internet capabilities. Schools inadvertently create a digital divide, deepening the already sizable chasm that is the achievement gap between students from higher and lower socio-economic statuses. This paper suggests local education agencies “extend” the school day by providing universal internet access to students who are eligible to receive free or reduced lunch through United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines.

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