The Digital Divide
The digital divide describes the gap between those who have access to the Internet and computers and those who don’t. Barriers to access include lack of broadband access, the affordability and limitations of data plans from Internet Service Providers, lack of devices like computers and hotspots, and lack of digital literacy.
Despite California’s leadership role in the technology industry, 26% of the state’s K-12 students and almost 40% of low income students do not have reliable Internet access.* There is also a racial/ethnic gap in broadband access. Despite on average 84% of Californian’s having broadband subscriptions, 21% of Latino households and 19% of Black households do not.
Support our future technology leaders
Digital access and opportunity should be available to everyone. Your contributions will help bridge that gap.
How? Through SVEF's adoption of School2Home
An innovative statewide program designed to close both the Achievement Gap and the Digital Divide by integrating the use of computing and broadband technologies into teaching and learning at low-performing middle schools throughout California. School2Home provides a systemic approach to improve education that builds on principal leadership with teacher professional development to infuse technology into the classroom as well as increase parent engagement in low-income communities where parents often do not have the ability to be involved in the school-life of their children and do not have high-speed Internet access at home.
Starting in 2020, School2Home in Northern California is sponsored and managed by SVEF and the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) and is implemented in collaboration with local district and school leadership.
Silicon Valley Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, tax I.D. #20- 5061316, and gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
The pandemic shined a spotlight on the digital divide. We can no longer ignore this serious problem.
Listen to their stories
Dr. George Kleidon, Principal, Fisher Middle School
"What is this app called, Zoom?"
"What's our tech skills?"
"25-30% of staff said the internet was a struggle for them."
"Power outages in their neighborhoods happened multiple times"
Katherine Grunewald, Teacher Professional Learning Lead
"I'm so grateful to School2Home for connecting us the teachers to relay information to families."
Hear from our local leaders
Our Moderator is Sunne Wright McPeak, President & CEO of the California Emerging Technologies Fund.
1. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D CA-18); San Jose
2. Trustee Devon Conley of the Whisman/ Mountain View School District
3. Poncho Guevara, Executive Director of Sacred Heart Community Services
4. Jordan Sun, Chief Innovation Officer of City of San Jose
Articles and Reports
CalMatters published a comprehensive three part series on the digital divide last week: ○ Part 1: “The wires may be there, but the dollars aren’t: Analysis shows why millions of California students lack broadband.”
2019 Annual Report California Advanced Services Fund from the California Public Utilities Commission
Broadband Adoption Gap Analysis: California Advanced Services Fund Adoption Account, June 2019
“To Stop digital ‘redlining’ and help students, make the internet an essential utility” Opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee written by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Martha Guzman Aceves, a commissioner on the California Public Utilities Commission
"How to solve California’s digital divide” outlines recommendations by Lloyd Levine, a senior policy fellow at the School of Public Policy at UC Riverside
"Just the Facts, California’s Digital Divide” from the Public Policy Institute of California
Proposed State Legislation
Assembly Bill 14 and Senate Bill 4: Assembly Bill 14 (Aguiar-Curry) and Senate Bill 4 (Gonzalez) are Assembly/Senate counterparts of the same policy proposal brought by a policy group in the State Congress working on broadband access. The bills include amendments and regulatory structure to fund public broadband and remove legal roadblocks, lobbied by Internet Service Providers, that block competitive growth of public broadband. A $1 billion bond is included as seed money to support a state-wide fiber backbone.
Assembly Bill 34: Assembly Bill 34 (Muratsuchi) is an authorization bill stating intent to enact the Broadband for All Act of 2022, a ballot measure for the 2022 general election that includes a $10 billion bond to fund public broadband development in California.
Digital Equity Coalition’s Resolution in Support of California Broadband Legislation
*Niu Gao and Joseph Hayes, “Just the Facts, California’s Digital Divide,” Public Policy Institute of California, February 2021, https://www.ppic.org/publication/californias-digital-divide/