There’s no doubt that the internet is one of the greatest educational resources America’s schools have at their disposal today. As a country, we have made great progress toward connecting classrooms with high-speed internet to expand educational opportunities.
Today, some 94% of school districts nationwide meet minimum connectivity targets set by the federal government.
This is certainly a remarkable accomplishment; however, improving internet access at our schools is only half the equation. To build a more inclusive, diverse educational system, we also need to focus on strengthening internet access in the millions of American homes that are currently under-connected or lack internet service altogether.
The Digital Homework Divide
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 11% of Americans don’t use the internet, citing everything from lack of interest to high costs. Meanwhile, it is estimated that 70% of America’s teachers assign homework to be completed online despite the fact that “five million families with school-age children do not have internet connectivity at home.”
Unfortunately, this digital divide is fueling massive disparities in our ability to reach and educate students, especially those living in low-income households.
According to the Census Bureau’s most recent American Community Survey, “…less than half of U.S. households with incomes under $20,000 reported having internet access” compared to about 93% of households with annual incomes of $75,000 or higher. Another recent Pew Research Center survey found that six out of 10 rural Americans believe access to high-speed internet is a problem in their area.
Improving Internet Access with AT&T
Launched in April 2016, Access from AT&T is a low-cost wireline home internet service available to qualifying households. The goal of the program is to improve connectivity in low-income homes and communities, so students can have the equal opportunity to succeed in their studies for as little as $5 a month.
Here’s how the program works…
- To qualify, households must have at least one resident who participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and live within one of the 21 states where AT&T currently offers wireline service.
- In California only, households receiving social security income (SSI) also may qualify.
- Eligible homes are assigned the fastest of three available speed tiers available at their address at a discounted price.
- AT&T also waives installation and internet equipment fees for qualifying households. Other requirements apply.
Access from AT&T provides an opportunity for qualified low-income households to gain critical access to the internet so students have the tools they need to succeed. When it comes to the benefits of digital learning and online education with the families and students who need it most, that, like so many things, starts at home.
Learn more at ATT.com/Access.
This is a sponsored post. AT&T is a contributing sponsor of the PTA Connected initiative. proud national sponsor of PTA.