by Shasti Conrad
In Washington State and around the country, the coronavirus pandemic has shown us just how crucial internet access is to everyday life. We’ve relied on the internet to attend school and work and to stay connected with friends and family. It’s difficult to imagine navigating this devastating pandemic without these modern tech advancements.
Unfortunately, not everyone was able to stay connected during this challenging year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 700,000 Washingtonians do not have an internet connection in their homes due to obstacles like a lack of affordable broadband options, and an additional 500,000 residents must rely on cell phone data plans. In King County, nearly one in four adults face internet access barriers such as the high cost of internet service plans or connected devices.
Continue reading OPINION: We Must Close the Digital Wealth Divide
by Luna Reyna
Nine months into the coronavirus pandemic, Seattle students and their families are still confronting a disproportionately large divide in who can and cannot access technology and online learning, though the City and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) are launching an array of initiatives that could close the gap. According to the May 2020 Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Survey, “at least 8,800 students still need adequate, reliable internet.” A July report published by sea.citi — a network of regional tech and innovation companies working to promote civic engagement and build relationships between community, government, and innovation workers — shows stark inequities among students without access. The most glaring inequity in the report is that almost half of all Black residents in Washington have a barrier to accessing reliable internet. Economic barriers are cited as the most prevalent in households without the internet, making Black students in the state five times more likely to not have access.
Continue reading Seattle Public Schools Works Toward Educational Justice and Digital Equity During the Pandemic