remote learning

Low-Income K-12 Students Lack Live Contact With Teachers During Virtual Learning

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced children to pack their backpacks and learn remotely, but a lack of technology resources and live contact with teachers has put low-income K-12 students behind their higher-income peers.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey confirmed what many already suspected, K-12 students living in low-income households have less access to computers and the internet than those students in higher-income households.

However, compounding the digital divide was the survey’s findings that lower-income students have less live contact with their teachers than higher-income students do. Of students who fell in the low-income bracket, 21 percent reported no live-contact with their teachers within the past seven days. On the other hand, 66.2 percent of students of higher-income reported four or more days of live-contact with their teachers.

Tying back to the digital divide, the survey found that of households with an income of more than $200,000, more than 90 percent said the internet was always available. By contrast, only 55 percent of households of less than $25,000 said the internet was always available.

As for access to computers, 90 percent of households with an income of more than $200,000 said computers were always available for educational purposes. Sixty-one percent of households of less than $25,000 said computers were always available for educational purposes.

While the impacts of the switch from in-person to virtual learning are not fully known yet, it’s clear that K-12 students of low-income households face more tech challenges as they attend school from home.

These statistics were taken from the survey’s data collected from November 25 to December 7, 2020.

Grace Dille
About Grace Dille
Grace Dille is a MeriTalk SLG Staff Reporter, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs