Remember that not all students have internet access, Pinellas leaders urge
Pinellas school district leaders are urging principals to ensure their teachers are not unfairly disadvantaging some students by assigning homework that requires internet access -- an accomodation that not all children have.
"Families and students who lack access to the Internet in their homes, who who for a variety of reasons cannot easily access community Internet and computer resources should not be disadvantaged in the learning process," wrote associate superintendent Bill Lawrence in an Oct. 5 memo (see link below) to regional superintendents, requesting that they discuss the matter with principals.
Interim superintendent John Stewart raised the issue at a recent meeting of his cabinet after hearing school board member Carol Cook describe a recent complaint she heard from a parent without home internet access whose child had been assigned web-based homework.
Now, Stewart said, the district is exploring whether it can work with an internet provider to provide free or discounted internet access to low-income families -- an arrangement similar to one that Comcast recently announced.
According to the U.S. Census, 68.7 percent of households in 2009 reported having computer and internet access in their homes. Of the 31.3 percent who reported having no internet access, they included 45 percent of black households reporting, 47 percent of the Hispanic households and 67.8 percent of households where the highest level of educational attainment was less than a high school diploma.