In a recent article, Consumer Reports found “A new state-by-state report on America’s
K-12 students by Common Sense and Boston Consulting finds that almost 16 million students and 10 percent of teachers lack adequate internet or computing devices at home. Minority households are among the most affected. Though 18 percent of white homes lack broadband, the figure rises to 26 percent for Latinx homes and 30 percent for Black homes. The percentage is even higher among Native American households.” And one of those factors is cost – up to $200 a month for unlimited data in rural areas of Maine. Solutions? Public school systems are partnering with internet providers “so that kids without access to broadband can borrow wireless hot spots.” In Kentucky, a school system that provides Chromebooks “partnered with the local power authority and municipal housing authority to identify and provide those in need with WiFi hot spots”. The article reports extensively on the Lifeline program which provides some low income households with a $9.25 monthly discount on phone or broadband service. What’s realistically needed, Consumer Reports says, “is a realistic benefit of $50 a month.” Links to eligibility and application forms are included. There are additional links to internet provider discount program information. Lots of good info here for students without internet.
Among a number of suggestions for parents who have children still engaged in remote learning, WIRED suggested purchasing an inexpensive printer as “a good solution for a child who is easily distracted or who has to share a computer or a tablet with a sibling. Just print out pages to have them read, edit, or work on worksheets away from a screen.”