Why is digital equity important?

We have a once in a lifetime chance to remake education. The global Covid-19 pandemic affected every school district, amplifying digital and other inequities in our school systems.

Nationally, 70 million students were out of school at some point during the pandemic. As learners return to school in various formats, some are much further behind in learning than others, yet districts struggle to assess and quantify that loss.

Former West Virginia Governor and House Representative Bob Wise describes the learning loss state-wide and nation-wide:

Some districts drew upon resources not widely available to provide effective online instruction while others did whatever they could to minimize the damage to student learning. Some districts found that the shift to online learning exacerbated digital inequity.

Antonio Romayor Jr, CTO of El Centro Elementary School District, his district:

Dr. Maritza Koeppen, Superintendent/Principal, Vallecitos School District, describes digital equity in her district: 

School leaders across the globe are now striving to reimagine what post-covid public education could be, and how to make sure that the state and federal resources they have are used effectively, equitably and efficiently.

Governor Bob Wise describes moving from triage to transformation in education:

We’re only going to get this opportunity once… Not since World War 2 … has there been this massive infusion of federal dollars into the United States educational system. There will not be this kind of infusion again. ”
Governor Bob Wise

USC Rossier believes innovative mindsets based in systematic problem-solving and a broad understanding of technology, is a force multiplier—enabling districts to better navigate the unknown challenges ahead.

Educational technology, when planned and implemented equitably, can help ensure that all learners, regardless of socio-economic status will have what they need to thrive.

Dr. Mary McNeil, Superintendent of Needles Unified School District, describes educational technology’s effect on inequity: 

We’re not going back to textbooks and worksheets the way we used them in the past. We have to take the best parts of online instruction and use them to be able to differentiate instruction for every student”
– Mary McNeil

Scaling educational technology requires leadership across the district; from the superintendent to business leaders to technology leaders, teams must work collaboratively toward shared goals. They must share flexible mindsets with regard to change and innovation. When individual leaders collectively become an “innovation team”, initiatives will succeed and transform schools and entire districts.

Let us never go back to the way it was in March of 2020. That was a low bar.”
United States Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona