On September 26, 2017, the National Geographic Channel aired a documentary sponsored by Verizon which vividly displayed how the digital divide still exists for millions of our students. While the E-rate program continues to provide critical funding to school districts, it’s clear that the E-rate program alone cannot solve the problem that too many of 21st Century learners are being left behind. The issue is well beyond Internet bandwidth and connectivity. The other critical issue on the table is that teachers need the professional development to be equipped to integrate technology into the classroom instruction effectively and quite simply put, districts do not have the local taxes or necessary support from state policymakers to close this resource gap. This is known as total cost of ownership
and the documentary highlights the negative effect that this has on how the students are learning in the different communities.
This is a documentary I would recommend to policymakers, concerned citizens and anyone that works in the K-12 community. While we are making progress closing the digital divide, the students who are on the wrong side of this issue do not have the luxury of time to wait for us to act. The local, state and federal officials need to recognize that educating all students should be a high national priority.
The National Geographic documentary called “Without a Net” can be viewed here