The Achievement Gap: Students with Devices Lack Internet Access

We have many dreams for today’s students. We want to ensure they get an education that prepares them for a successful career. We want them to have all the latest technology. We want them to use technology to become a new generation of innovators and creative thinkers. We want them to have the best teachers. We want a system that values learning, not memorization.

Many people have many different ideas for how education can be reformed, but they all have one thing in common: they they all require funding.

In Florida, eleven percent of households with students in K12 education do not have Internet access, according to the article “Many Low-Income Students Struggle with Lack of Internet at Home.” A lack of Internet, whether due to a lack of devices, access or both, is one element that continues to drive a wedge in the achievement gap. Low-income students aren’t given the same benefits of their more affluent peers when they are required to do online assignments, putting them at a disadvantage in their education and future career.

Like many school districts around the country, school districts in Florida are pushing to have digital textbooks for all students by 2015. In fact, the Obama administration recently announced they are pushing for every student in the U.S. to have an e-textbook by 2017. However, getting devices in the hands of all 21st century students is only part of the equation. “The digital divide is not because students lack devices,” said Ocoee Middle School Principal Sharyn Gabriel, in the article. “The digital divide stems from the lack of Wi-Fi.”

Whose responsibility is it to close the divide?  AT&T announced this week that they are pledging $250 million to programs that promote high school graduation and career readiness over the next five years. This funding will be distributed through school grants, community organizations, and other companies helping at-risk students graduate and prepare them for careers. What level of achievement could students reach if they were all given equal opportunities? What responsibility to corporations have to put student success on their radar?

LifeBound is working this summer to close the achievement gap through providing students with a summer of learning. Summer learning losses are one of the greatest setbacks to underprivileged children. Ask us more about our book donations and literacy initiative by sending your questions to We look forward to hearing from you.

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