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Issue Brief

Homework Gap/Digital Divide

Too many students and educators don’t have the home internet access they need to succeed.
Kids doing homework with digital devices
Published: December 11, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on a specific aspect of the digital divide known as the homework gap—the inability to do schoolwork at home due to lack of internet access. A disproportionate share of the affected students are Black, Latino/a/x , from low-income households, or live in rural areas.

The American Rescue Plan provided more than $7 billion in emergency E-Rate funding to address the homework gap—the single largest one-time investment in the program’s history.

Before the pandemic, millions of students struggled because they couldn’t go online at home. When K-12 education moved online, they were shut out of virtual classrooms. Some did schoolwork outside fast-food restaurants or lingered late at night in community centers to get internet access.

For reasons of equity and economy, NEA has long advocated for closing the homework gap via the Federal Communication Commission’s E-Rate program. And we’ve succeeded! 

We're speaking up for our students and public schools. Visit our Action Center to find out what you can do.

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A family sits with a small child looking over their homework.

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