Equity Through Meaningful Student Involvement

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Equity Through Meaningful Student Involvement

Across the United States and around the world the COVID-19 pandemic is causing K-12 schools to close their doors to students, educators and others. There are literally millions of empty desks, blank white boards and sometimes, powered-down laptops sitting useless for learning, teaching and leadership in education. This is because of the challenge of equity in the time of COVID-19. Meaningful Student Involvement can be a solution for fostering equity in schools today.

Goals for digital equity in education include ensuring all students have:

  • Access to devices;
  • Access to high-speed internet, and;
  • Opportunities to learn both in school and out

The coronavirus pandemic is showing us clearly how far out-of-step K-12 schools are with those goals right now. A survey from the Pew Research Center found that:

  • 35% of households with school-aged children and a yearly income of less than $35,000 lack access to high speed Internet;
  • Nearly one in five teens can’t always finish their homework because of the digital divide, and;
  • 15% of U.S. households with school-age children do not have a high-speed internet connection at home.

With K-12 schools shut down nationwide right now, critical action is being taken right now to address this inequity. As if for the first time, a lot of people are suddenly realizing that digital equity is not easy, as a new report from NBC says. However, it’s happening whether or not people are ready, willing or even able. The plane is being built in flight! Meaningful Student Involvement can be a powerful fuel for the engines on that plane.

Today, students are builders of these new realities, facilitating learning, acting as problem-solvers in their schools and districts, and taking action to help empower learning right now.

Unfortunately though, many students may not have abilities right now to be of use in this struggle. Instead, they’re sidelined at home with and without computers, waiting to be called to action as leaders. They aren’t yet.

Reading over a new article from US News & World Report today, it was relieving to read an FCC commission quoted as saying, “Nationwide we are going to explore the expansion of tele-work, tele-health and tele-education, and in the process we are going to expose some really hard truths about the scope of the digital divide.”

One of the hard truths that I am struggling to get heard is the reality that students can be resources in this battle, and not merely spectators or problems that need to be solved.

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