Parents, experts worry that online learning is exacerbating the digital divide

When schools shut down last spring, Nero Persaud balanced working from home and her two children’s remote-learning needs by “playing musical chairs” with her older laptop and iPad.

But after deciding to enrol her son and daughter in online schooling this fall, the Toronto mother signed up to borrow devices from the school board because she knew they would all require their own computers.

“The device has become a standard part of the educational arsenal, the same way as books and pencils,” said Ms. Persaud, a single parent who works in marketing.

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Despite efforts by school boards to provide computers to students who need them for virtual schooling, many parents and experts worry the expansion of e-learning is exacerbating the gap between families who have access to computers and broadband internet and those who do not.

“The digital divide is real,” said Beyhan Farhadi, a post-doctoral

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Texas families struggle with digital divide for virtual learning

The TEA said it is working to address the problem. Part of its Operation Connectivity is to map the dead zones and bring affordable internet to students who need it.

HOUSTON — Every day, a million times over, Jamie Gould pleads for her kids’ patience, pushes them to keep studying as they repeatedly lose internet connection and provides tech support to the best of her non-technologically-inclined ability. 

“We have a lot of horrible internet connection issues out here,” Gould said.

The mom of three living south of San Antonio in Bexar County said she lives in a dead zone where multiple hotspots provided by the school district are not working.

“I feel like I’m failing as a mom, because I’m not able to give them the Internet like we need at the moment,” Gould said.

It’s week six of virtual learning for Gould’s two middle schoolers and a high schooler.

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In Bilingual Classrooms, Teachers Are Anxious To Build Relationships, Close Digital Divide

For months, Jocelyn Ramos imagined how she’d decorate her very own classroom for her first year of teaching: bright colors and a warm, rainbow theme. She just never expected it would be at her house.

“This is probably my favorite part because it just feels welcoming,” Ramos said in a video tour. “It’s a welcome bulletin board. It says ‘Bienvenidos.’”

Ramos has been getting ready to greet her class of 18 first graders at Moreno Elementary online, as the Houston Independent School District (HISD) starts the new school year with completely virtual instruction this week. HISD is one of several districts in the Greater Houston area, together welcoming nearly half a million children back to school for a mix of online and in-person instruction.

For brand new teachers like Ramos, it marks a different kind of milestone.

“Even before this COVID happened, every teacher that I would go up

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HISD fights digital divide with Digital Learning Centers

HISD’s 36 Digital Learning Centers will be open weekdays from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. and provide eligible students with much-needed resources.

HOUSTON — Virtual learning is tough, but it can feel nearly impossible for parents struggling to provide their children with the needed equipment, such as laptops and internet.

That’s why HISD is opening select campuses this week to support families who do not have access to the technology needed to participate in online learning at home.

The centers are only available to those without access to technology.

The Digital Learning Centers, which are scheduled to open Tuesday, will be available to middle school and elementary students. They will be opened weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

HISD isn’t the first Houston-area school district to implement digital centers to help disadvantaged families. 

Fort Bend ISD is also transforming campuses into resource centers with Fort Bend ISD Learning Centers,

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Call for consistency: Continuing district divide bridged by single issue Monday | News



NPS protests

Students, parents and teachers rally in favor of in-person learning (Reese Gorman, 09/21/2020)




During demonstrations and public comments Monday evening, the continuing divide in the Norman Public Schools community was bridged by one issue: the desire for more consistency.

In the midst of two demonstrations and a lengthy public comment section at Monday evening’s Board of Education meeting, community members of all opinions expressed frustration with the district’s current path. Some asked for schools to reopen and students to be brought back to in-person learning, while others advocated for more safety measures and further reconsideration of the current plan, but people on both sides asked that the district commit to more stability.

“We need consistency — our children need to know what’s going to happen for the next several weeks,” said Jennifer Hendrix, a NPS parent, during the public comment section. “As soon as

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