Immediate Needs to Address Remote Learning Inequity for Students

February 2, 2021 2:39 PM EST

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The Washington-based Technology Alliance releases new recommendations as part of comprehensive report

Seattle, WA, Feb. 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today the Technology Alliance released a groundbreaking report on the remote learning challenges facing students across the country and recommendations to best address them. In the fall of 2020, the alliance formed The Remote Learning Task Force including a diverse group of Washington state education, business and government leaders to explore problems arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. In preparing the report “Learning During Calamity” the Task Force recognized that instead of just preparing for the next pandemic, the shortfalls they discovered should be addressed immediately to serve current students while preparing for future remote learning needs, from snow days to temporary school building closures.   

The recommendations include:  

  • Better Connectivity: 
    Every child deserves access to reliable internet connections no matter their address. Right now in Washington state, 150,000 to 200,000 students lack adequate, reliable internet access. 
  • Technology Equity:
    One-to-one devices for every Washington child. There is currently a shortage of 200,000 devices for students in our state. 
  • Educator & Student Readiness:
    The state should support districts in creating high quality, personalized digital content that is both inclusive and diverse. Teachers should be given additional support & resources to prepare lesson plans for both remote and blended settings. 
  • Better IT Support:   
    Districts should be provided the resources to create an IT support systems to address any student or educator needs. Currently, IT support in urban and suburban schools is often understaffed or non-existent in small and rural schools. 
  • Improving Family Communications:  
    The key to remote learning success is clear communications with students and their families. The state should consider family engagement programs, including an engagement coordinator within schools and requiring schools to track family communication and report on its effectiveness.  

“Too many of our students have already lost out on learning opportunities, and they can’t wait. We need to act, even while in the middle of this great challenge, to ensure our current and future students have access to the learning opportunities they need to thrive,” said Technology Alliance CEO Laura Ruderman. 

“A public school system that fails to provide an equitable education opportunity to all of our students fails and impacts all of us,“ added Bellevue College President and former WA Governor Gary Locke. “It is vital to address those inequities on all levels, including remote learning.” 

About the Technology Alliance:  

The Technology Alliance is a statewide, non-profit organization of leaders from Washington’s technology-based businesses and research institutions united by our vision of a vibrant innovative economy that benefits all our state's citizens. Through programs, events, data analysis, and policy activities, we advance excellence in education, research, and entrepreneurship to support the growth of our high-impact industries; the creation of high-wage jobs; and economic prosperity for our entire state. 

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