New Jersey’s ‘digital divide’ widens as school districts prepare for online learning

Carly Sitrin | August 7, 2020 | Politico |

The digital divide in New Jersey is much worse than previously thought.

According to the state Department of Education’s most recent estimates, some 230,000 of the 1.4 million K-12 students in New Jersey do not have consistent or reliable access to the internet or a device for online learning.

That’s more than twice the 89,000 students the state cited in June and more than the 110,000 who said they lacked access when the Covid-19 crisis began in March.

With coronavirus cases on the rise again, lawmakersunion leaders, school administrators and parents across New Jersey are pressing Gov. Phil Murphy to allow schools to open in September with remote learning only.

Murphy has said parents can opt-in to remote-only learning for their kids, but has doubled down on his assertion that schools should reopen with in-person classes “in some capacity,” both as a stopgap for those without internet access and because it’s widely accepted that in-person classes are more valuable to students, teachers and parents.

 

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