11
   

How do students without internet service get through school?

 
 
Reply Tue 8 Mar, 2016 07:36 pm
I know the internet is a strange place to ask about not having internet but I'm hoping some teachers or someone can answer this question.

I do some work with an all volunteer, non profit youth sports group. We have great corporate sponsors so we're able to keep our fees low and we work hard to raise money to provide scholarships to any kid who can't pay the fees. (Because our area is in a central part of the city there are a lot of kids who can't pay the fee. (They typically don't have internet service at home. Nobody in their family has a smartphone.)) There are also a lot of ESL kids whose parents don't read English. We have a few homeless kids. We have a few foster kids. These are the kids we're really trying to reach.

Anyway...

Every year we pass out information about our program through the schools. There is an application/approval policy in place that has never been a problem. We follow the rules.

Today I went on there to submit our flyer for approval and learned that now they are only sending out "digital eflyers" that must be submitted through a company called Peachjar. You get the approval through them and they email your flyer for a fee.

Okay. It would cost us about 1/3 of what we spend on printing to send out a digital flyer and that would be great but it seems really discriminatory to me that so many people would/might/could be left out of such a mailing.

I sent them a WTH? email and I'm waiting to hear back. (Really I sent them an email saying I was afraid we wouldn't reach a lot of kids because of all the stuff I just wrote above.)

And, at long last, my question --

I know most of my contact with my kid's school is done through email but I'm not poor, I speak English, I have easy access to the internet.

What happens to those families that aren't as fortunate as me?
 
ossobuco
 
  3  
Reply Tue 8 Mar, 2016 08:33 pm
@boomerang,
I completely agree with you, you might not imagine how much so.

Edit, that was hyperbole. I know you know a fair amount of how I think.
boomerang
 
  3  
Reply Tue 8 Mar, 2016 08:39 pm
@ossobuco,
We live in a nice area. Mo's elementary school was considered on of the best in the city. It was certainly one of the better funded schools.

One weekend the principal and I were doing some painting and something came up about contacting families. Dense me said something like "oh just email everyone blahblahblah" and she looked at me and said "You do realize that not every student in this school has internet service, right?"

I didn't realize it. I assumed they all did.

I don't assume it anymore.

But now it seems like my city's entire school system does....
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Tue 8 Mar, 2016 09:18 pm
My niece wasn't much interested in computers, at least in part because of her recalcitrant father. This doesn't mean I don't like my ex's brother, quite the opposite, but he has had his monk like ways; others would call him a luddite. He is still a good human. He eventually learned for work.

My ex bought her a computer, but for a longish while it didn't work for some reason, and there was no running to fix it. I wasn't living in LA by then, so no immediate help, if only via how to get it fixed advice, and she wasn't all interested. Well, she has done well, and has resorted to computer, thank the lord and pass the ammunition..

I've rather liked her emphasis on people talking, there should be more of that.

Still, re schools in your area, it sounds like those in charge have no clue what their students homes are like.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Mar, 2016 09:28 pm
@boomerang,
I went through school without any internet service.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Mar, 2016 09:39 pm
@maxdancona,
I went through school with libraries.
I'm older of course, but we had some great libraries on campus.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2016 09:44 am
@maxdancona,
Me too!

But I rode to school on a dinosaur with Jesus so I don't think it's a fair comparison.

It just seems to me that poor kids have the potential to really be left out of the whole paperless communication systems schools seem to be moving towards.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2016 11:01 am
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/may/21/children-internet-access-exam-advantage

Quote:
Saturday 21 May 2011
A million children's exam results will be on average a grade lower than their peers this year because they do not have internet access at home, according to a leading charity.

The e-Learning Foundation says that children without access to a computer in the evening are being increasingly disadvantaged in the classroom. Research suggests that 1.2 million teenagers log on to revision pages every week and those using online resources were on average likely to attain a grade higher in exams.


if they can't even find out about resources that could help them, gotta think the impact will be even greater

___

a smartphone just isn't enough

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/02/06/465587073/how-limited-internet-access-can-subtract-from-kids-education
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2016 11:11 am
@ehBeth,
Wow. It's its a million + kids in England I can only imagine what it is here in America.

It's also really hard to find any contact information to ask questions about this. The email address it listed yesterday is not posted today so I sent another copy of my letter to the new address. This person is on vacation until the end of the month. The only option now is to "schedule a meeting" with yet some other person.

I'm really frustrated by this. Not just for the sake of the group I'm working with but for all the kids that aren't getting information from the school anymore.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2016 11:13 am
I'm thinking of calling my local news channel or news paper....
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2016 11:34 am
I found this from an article that was published last year:

Quote:
A new Pew Research Center analysis finds most American homes with school-age children do have broadband access – about 82.5% (about 9 percentage points higher than average for all households). With approximately 29 million households in America having children between the ages of 6 and 17, according to Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data, this means that some 5 million households with school-age children do not have high-speed internet service at home. Low-income households – and especially black and Hispanic ones – make up a disproportionate share of that 5 million.

Pew Research analysis of the Census data finds that the lowest-income households have the lowest home broadband subscription rates. Roughly one-third (31.4%) of households whose incomes fall below $50,000 and with children ages 6 to 17 do not have a high-speed internet connection at home. This low-income group makes up about 40% of all families with school-age children in the United States, according to the bureau’s American Community Survey. (The survey asked questions on home internet use for the first time in 2013.)

....

The other notable difference in home broadband adoption pertains to the race and ethnicity of the householder. Lower-income black and Hispanic households with children trail comparable white households with children by about 10 percentage points.


http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/20/the-numbers-behind-the-broadband-homework-gap/
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2016 12:38 pm
@boomerang,
You know I will have to ask my friend who teaches ESL students. I might not see her for a few weeks, but when I do I will ask as I am curious.

As to doesn't all families have the internet (in areas where you would expect it) - my children's school system does assume this -- many of the teachers you need to submit your homework via the internet. All the students have email addresses associated with the school from at least middle school on up. I wonder if some that do not (if any) stay at school to do their work? There are computers available in the school and town library. But that would be difficult for late night work.

Some of their classes they have text books online and other activity on line - like doing Spanish where they "talk" to the computer; my middle schooler had to use a website to complete a math project. So much of what they do is on the computer I cannot imagine that not everyone has internet access in our town.

Some school systems are also converting to ipads over having text books. So I am guessing public schools are making this assumption.
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2016 12:52 pm
@Linkat,
I'm thinking you're in for a surprise.

I would have never guessed there were homes without internet access in our area but I now know for a fact that there are. It isn't because they don't want it but rather that they can't afford it.

I find this worrisome.

Maybe it's just me and it isn't really a problem. We did hear back from the district and they seemed completely unconcerned with the issue.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2016 12:57 pm
@boomerang,
there are good links in the NPR article

including http://digitalequityforlearning.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/jgcc_opportunityforall.pdf


quite a bit of research is happening in this area
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2016 01:43 pm
@boomerang,
My friend teaches in a different school district - there I could see no internet access so I wouldn't doubt they do things differently.

I cannot imagine that almost every student in our district has internet access, maybe a handful - but it is expected that all students in our district do work via the internet.

I looked up to see percentage of students on reduced or free lunch figuring that would be a good indicator - we have 11% which is higher than I would have expected. Now that doesn't mean they don't have internet access, but I would guess the internet access would be that amount or less.

I did find something else interesting though - this percent has gone up 5% since the 2010-2011 school year and increased each year since 2010. I wonder what sort of indication that is in regard to the economy - I am going to have to look at all school districts to see if there is a trend.
0 Replies
 
ulinka
 
  0  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2016 09:48 am
@boomerang,
you are right 100 percent!
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2016 09:59 am
I think the Internet has become something that is so critical, it should be a public utility. The reality is that it is a lot more affordable to buy a device that can connect to the Internet than to pay for the connection. Of course you can always go to a McDonalds or the library to get an Internet connection, but my children are routinely using the Internet for schoolwork and if they couldn't do that at home, I think it would be a significant negative impact.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2016 10:59 am
@engineer,
Not to also mention - the teacher's prefer email messages when trying to communicate for most things. I find it easier myself when there is a short easy question (not behavior or bigger issues) - just today I got a response back on a missed assignment - coincidently it was an online assignment that had for some reason not gone through correctly to the teacher.

All resolved and easy as the teacher can address when she is not in the classroom.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2016 11:14 am
@boomerang,
This maybe moot considering Obama's new plan for subsidized broadband internet for low income families:
FCC Proposes Broadband Subsidy for Low-Income Americans
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2016 11:18 am
@tsarstepan,
hopefully that includes a laptop for each kid as well (and a wireless router)
 

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