Study Shows No Improvement in Students’ Internet Access Over Past Year

Despite renewed emphasis on digital connectivity and promises to close the digital divide during the pandemic, a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California shows there has been no improvement in students’ high-speed internet access since last spring.

The disappointing findings are based on the Census Household Pulse Survey conducted from April 2020 to March 2021. It found that 61% of the state’s students have stable access to the internet — the same as when the pandemic began. For Asian students, the percentage actually dropped from 84% to 77%.

The digital divide is an ongoing problem. Around one-third of Black and Latino students and about 40% of low-income students lack reliable internet access. In his May budget revision Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed $7 billion to expand broadband access and build fiber networks, calling it an opportunity “to finally close this digital divide and do justice.” 

While internet connectivity is still a problem, many students now have access to equipment like Chromebooks that they previously did not have access to. View a map of Chromebook distribution from EdSource here

See also:

A California program spent millions on devices for distance learning. Here’s where it went.