Research from MPC and Kids First Chicago shows children of color are less likely to have the internet or connected devices at home necessary for remote learning. Here’s what we can do about it.
Get more information about how we can solve the broadband gap in our region in the Digital Equity In Education In the Coronavirus Era report.
The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating existing inequalities in our city and our region. MPC and our partners like Kids First Chicago are tracking the ways the crisis is impacting different populations so we can identify rapid solutions that will make immediate, equitable impacts.
This brief shows that communities of color in Chicago have much larger numbers of young people who don't have an internet connection in their home or the right type of connected device for remote learning. The segregation and deep income inequality in Chicago means that many families in West and South Side communities are struggling to pay for basic necessities, and often may not be able to afford even basic broadband.
The good news is that it will not take much to make sure students have a connection in their homes. Identifying students who don't have adequate connectivity is the first step, and minimal investment will ensure all students have internet in their home and are positioned for successful remote learning. This will only take effective partnerships between the City and internet service providers.
In addition, there are other creative solutions that should be explored to ensure that there are other options available for housing unstable young people--through local community-based organizations, for example. This is a solvable problem with the right coordination, but we need to move quickly or we risk widening the educational attainment gap.
For more information, read Digital Equity In Education In the Coronavirus Era, created in partnership with Kids First Chicago.