Chicago Public Schools has more to do to Ensure all Students can Access Online Learning

I am the father of four children who attend school in the Austin community. Chicago Public Schools recently announced that 93% of students have “digital access.” I worry that this high number may lull us into complacency while it is not reflective of the reality on the ground in many of our communities.

By Claiborne Wade | June 1, 2020 |
Share

I am the father of four children who attend school in the Austin community. Chicago Public Schools recently announced that 93% of students have “digital access.” I worry that this high number may lull us into complacency while it is not reflective of the reality on the ground in many of our communities. A recent report by Kids First Chicago and the Metropolitan Planning Council shows that over 100,000 children in the city, including 8,000 in Austin, lack broadband internet access at home.

Most of those children are CPS students, and the majority live in neighborhoods on the South and West sides of the city.

Some of the 93% of students CPS cites may have been logging into their accounts on their phones — clearly not suitable means for conducting online learning. And many families do not have enough devices for all their children, and others may have internet that does not support multiple students trying to learn on multiple devices at the same time.

While I commend CPS for trying hard to make up the digital divide that exists in Chicago, we still have a long way to go to ensure that all of our students have true and equal “digital access.” If we expect them to be able to learn from home into next school year, CPS and the city have the next couple months to ensure that all students have reliable access to the internet and enough devices before the next school year begins.

— Claiborne Wade, Chicago

Read Claiborne's Letter to the Editor as published in the Chicago Tribune here.

Learn more about Chicago's digital divide in our issue brief, and sign up to get involved.

Previous Next

CPS Shifts School Funding Model: Local School Council Members Weigh In

By Kids First Chicago Team | May 23, 2024

Kids First Chicago hosted a forum with over 30 Local School Council members to dissect CPS’s new funding approach and weighed in on WTTW's Chicago Tonight.

Our Voices, Policy Priorities

Kids First Chicago’s Parent Advisory Board on Illinois House Bill 303

By K1C Parent Advisory Board Executive Committee | May 13, 2024

Kids First Chicago's Parent Advisory Board weighs in on Illinois House Bill 303, indicating its support to extend the moratorium on school closures until a fully-elected school board takes office in 2027.

Our Voices, K1C Perspectives

A Day of Advocacy: EBF Funding Rally in Springfield

By Claiborne Wade | May 6, 2024

Over 150 advocates from across Illinois–including more than 40 dedicated parents and students from Kids First Chicago–converged on Springfield to champion an increase in the Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) formula to at least $550 million.

Our Voices, Policy Priorities