CoSN Launches Digital Equity Campaign

Calling equitable Internet access the "civil rights issue of today," the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has launched a Digital Equity Action Toolkit to give school district leaders tools they can use to advocate for and obtain Internet access for their students in their communities.

The digital toolkit is intended to help district administrators understand the historical context that has led to what CoSN representatives have labeled the "homework gap" and lays out steps they can take to resolve the issue in their own communities. Those steps include everything from surveying the district's connectivity and devices to engaging the community to ensuring sustainability and considering creative out-of-the-box solutions.

Among the approaches the toolkit encourages district administrators to take are:

  • Partnering with local businesses to provide Wi-Fi access for learning;
  • Maximizing the use of existing assets;
  • Seeking mobile hotspots;
  • Leveraging special broadband offerings;
  • Repurposing educational spectrum; and
  • Creating mesh networks.

"Alarmingly, many lower-income families cannot stay connected to complete homework assignments, and parents are unable to track their child's academic performance," said CoSN CEO Keith Krueger. "School leaders must work with their communities to ensure digital equity and enable all students to benefit from learning that is increasingly delivered digitally."

This is the second initiative in CoSN's drive for digital equity. Earlier, in partnership with the National Title I Association, CoSN produced a school district-level guide titled "Rethinking Equity in a Digital Era, Forging a Strong Partnership Between District Title I and Technology."

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.