Kindel, high school teacher, Mountain View, says:
"Lack of internet access spans a range of tech glitches. While I teach in a well-resourced, zip-code favored district, some 30% of my students experience a disconnect most days. Students living in multi-generational homes, with 3 - 5 siblings sharing a device/wifi port aren't able to conference verbally....and we're in the middle of writing an essay. For heaven's sake, if a student can't think out loud, how will they move to the "pen to paper'? My district has prioritized/privileged 7-year-olds over 17 years olds. The bottom line - those seven-year-olds have ten years to close the gap. My kiddos? Just 18 months. So incredibly shortsighted."
Rain, high school teacher, Arcata, says:
"I advocate for local Native American students in K-12. There are many households that do not have enough devices for the whole family. Siblings have to share and often parents have to share devices with their children. There are also places where there is not high speed Internet, broadband, fiber optic or the infrastructure. These rural communities are mostly Native American children including the Yurok, Hoopa, and Wiyot Tribes. Some students have to drive to the school parking lot to get wi-fi access, or are stuck in the unfair situation of having to do only paper homework, while other students get the social and educational benefit of a virtual classroom with their teacher and peers. This digital divide creates a disparate educational experience and those that were already struggling in the classroom in a face-to-face setting are falling further behind, including those who need special and individual education due to a learning or other disability. This also creates a gap between those that can afford high speed Internet and those that can afford to buy enough devices for their children, and those that can't. Often that difference has to do with race, including Native American children who may come from low income families."
Jennifer, elementary school teacher, Olympic Valley, says:
"I am a first grade teacher. This last spring, I met with students in small group or 1:1 on average 6 times a day, for a half hour each session. I primarily taught reading skills during these sessions, because that is what first grade students need to learn most. Despite our district offering hotspots and 1:1 devices, there are still 500 families in my small mountain district without connection. Some of these families live in trailer parks, where for some reason the hotspots provided do not work. Some of the families will have internet that works one day, and not another. Even for those who had internet fairly consistently, not all families understood how to use the chromebooks, Zoom, or other programs, because they had received no training whatsoever. Due to the specific circumstances of where I live (a tourist area in the Sierra Nevada mountains), half of my class receives school lunch assistance, and half is quite wealthy. What I saw was that half of my students, the half that needed me most, couldn't access our meetings. Their reading slipped, they forgot what school was like, and when I could connect with them, they seemed disengaged and unmotivated. The half of my class that will likely be just fine in life, due to their parents' economic resources, had all the computer and internet access anyone could as for. This is a terrible, gut-wrenching inequity. "
Tiffany, parent, Redding, says:
"The connection is so bad it interrupts and reconnects several times during school lessons and violin lessons and makes my child with disabilities so frustrated he will go into full meltdown and stop altogether!"
Tracy, elementary school teacher, Redwood Valley, says:
"We live in a rural alley surrounded by hills and mountains thickly forested in redwoods. Students who live outside of the valley have very little connectivity. When towers are placed, they are often blocked by mountains and the thick forests. Students may have internet at home, but not at the babysitters house. Many of our second language and lower performing students, who need support in order to participate in distance education, are not able to access lessons and intervention."
Julia, high school teacher, Pinole, says:
"There are many, many who I haven't heard from at all. I never noticed how much I relied on the quick check in by the door, or wandering the room to tap kids on the shoulder, or a kid coming to see me at lunch or between classes. "How do we continue to do this equitably?" and furthermore, "How do we rebuild a community at a distance?""
Brooke, high school teacher, Galt, says:
"Technology access has been a huge challenge for the high schools. We have students in town and many in the country. Despite having local ISPs giving free temporary access to students, it doesn't reach everywhere and is quite slow. One of my students said it might take 30 minutes to watch a 2-minute Khan Academy lesson because the streaming freezes often while loading more content."
Miki, high school teacher, Redwood City, says:
"I am a teacher and do not have reliable access to internet. I cannot afford internet. I am using my personal hotspot to teach with is unreliable and slow. There is not a program to support teachers who need internet access."
Jessica, elementary school teacher, Oakland, says:
"Over 30% of our families currently do not have Internet at home, 35% of students are accessing online content via parents' smartphones. That creates a whole other set of challenges: parents needing the phone for their own communication needs, parents being at work and students unable to access online work, limited data plans creating worries about paying bills or losing connectivity."
Dennis, elementary school teacher, Rocklin, says:
"Even though our district is relatively more affluent and is considered a model for other districts on our area, we still have students who have no access to broadband at home. We are struggling to get hotspots to those who are still unable to connect to our distance learning classrooms. We need broadband services everywhere and to everyone."
Karle, elementary, middle, and high school teacher, Clovis, says:
"As an educator I am struggling to teach effectively and have my children connect with their teachers. For us to connect, we have to make my phone a hotspot which is spotty service. I am unsure how to bring internet to my area."
Roxanne, elementary school teacher, Marysville, says:
"I have about 20 out of 30 students who are online. I get to see their faces, see their work on a daily basis, and support them. It's those 10 students who I worry about. Do they feel left out, are they having anxiety of falling behind, frustrated because they may not have any support, and how are they dealing with what is going on around them? Education is supposed to be equal, but right now it is shouting in our faces how much it is not."
Karen, elementary school teacher, Thermal, says:
"80% of my students' families speak Spanish only and more than half of them work in the fields morning and night. They use mobile phones for remote learning and they need Wi-Fi. My school district's proposal is loaning tablets and parking buses with Wi-Fi routers in their neighborhoods. The parents of my students are the reason we have fresh food on our tables. They work very long and hard hours just to provide food and shelter for their families. In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, this is unacceptable."
Jim, high school teacher, Guasti, says:
"We are in our fourth week of dismissal, and we are still finding students that have neither the equipment of the internet access to stay connected to the system. These kids are falling behind."
Michelle, elementary school teacher, Murphys, says:
"Even the children who have what they need, these kids are also losing out, due to the teachers feeling they cannot teach right now if not all have access. It is incredibly frustrating! ALL students need devices and access to the internet, which in today's world are the school "materials" to learn."
Martha, elementary school teacher, Cresent City, says:
"Devices are being passed out . However, understandably, the district is requiring parents to sign a financial agreement form for the device. But many of our kids are in the low socioeconomic group, our county is the highest for domestic violence and substance abuse, so many parents won't sign the agreement. More devices and connectivity will take most of the educational stress off our families."
Carrie, elementary school teacher, Daly City, says:
"1/3 of my class - 8 of my 24 students - has not connected to me in any way, despite outreach from me, my school site, and my district (email, robo-calls, phone calls & texts). Some of our families have immigration/legal status concerns and live in constant fear. "
Sandra, elementary school teacher, Vista, says:
"I would love for school to let teachers back into their classroom. Where the teachers are in classrooms onsite maybe in a car while students are given access to materials set like iPads and textbooks, consumables that these particular students are otherwise not able to access remotely. "
Tammy, high school teacher, Fowler, says:
"Our school has arranged for hot spots where students can connect to WiFi. Some of my students are not responding to emails or assignments given."
John, elementary school teacher, Sanger, says:
"Remote learning is a new concept and many teachers struggle to deliver instruction. The problem is two-fold, connectivity and training to deliver content."
Cindy, elementary school teacher, Robbins, says:
"There is so much some of my students are missing out on because of a weak signal or no signal -- windows to how the world at large is developing. I just sent a link to a NASA story about how the employees are driving the Mars Rover FROM HOME! But there are several students who won't be able to play it. We need infrastructure, not just laptops and hotspots."
Christine, middle school teacher, Gridley, says:
"We are creating small groups with students to support all learning types. Students who may need to walk through a lesson at a slower pace. Students are able to ask questions at their own pace. The student to teacher connection is tailored to the students needs."
Ronda, elementary, middle, and high school teacher, Victorville, says:
"We are now 5 weeks into this and with creativity of lessons, an abundance of online learning being made available our school is determined to finish the school year strong."
Debora, elementary and middle school teacher, Oakland, says:
"At our school, there are local companies who are willing to provide low cost internet service if you do not, nor ever had an outstanding unpaid bill at your address. Our PTA stepped up and made an agreement that the bills be sent to the school and we provided a pre-paid Visa cards for the families we sponsored."
Melinda, elementary and middle school teacher, Big Pine, says:
"Families need access to Hot Spots for connectivity"
Andrea, elementary and middle school teacher, Rosemead, says:
"I work in a public elementary school in a Title I district. We have distributed laptops to all of our students who needed one, but we are still not getting 100% participation from our students. Our classes are getting 50-75% participation rates. Our teachers have set up Google Classrooms and some are holding meetings via Google Hangouts or Zoom. Our main obstacle (aside from poverty) is lack of internet. We have referred families to Spectrum for free internet, but some families were not able to sign up. My district is now working to distribute hot spots. I went to visit some of my students to take their families Target gift cards. I have families with several people sharing one, small apartment, which isn’t conducive to learning. I spoke with one of my students this afternoon. She told me that isn’t always able to do her work, because she helps her parents sew masks to sell. Basically, the obstacles we face are many and there is no one size fits all solution. Until we eradicate poverty, we will never have a public education system that works for everyone."
Abbie, high school teacher, Los Angeles, says:
"Endre is a 15 year old daughter of a single mom who works in a nursing home in elder care. They live near USC in Los Angeles. Her mother is gone most days for long hours and Endre is now home alone. They cannot afford Wifi or a laptop so Endre is trying to do all her homework using a smartphone. She had always been a straight A student. I only found out about it because I offered her a laptop and she said her mom said no. Then I asked why and spoke with her mom. She's kinda like my foster kid. A niece of my dad's former caregiver. Such a great kid."
Estella, parent, says:
"Tengo un niño de 10 años y está en quinto grado. es muy inteligente y creativo. Es complicado para nosotros tenerlo al corriente con sus responsabilidades escolares y desafortunadamente el distrito al que pertenecemos no le facilitó las herramientas necesarias para mantenerlo ocupado y activo en sus actividades escolares, a lo cual yo estoy muy preocupada porque no cuento con lo necesario para tenerlo al corriente en tareas y conocimiento. Nosotros hacemos lo que podemos pero honestamente ocupamos una computadora para que mi hijo pueda tomar sus clases en línea. Como padres ya no sabemos qué más ponerlo a hacer porque nosotros no tenemos el conocimiento que tiene el maestro para que siga aprendiendo. Aquí lo único que podemos hacer es ponerlo a leer o a practicar matemáticas. Pero ni su papá ni yo sabemos sobre ciencias o historia. Estamos preocupados porque el niño está perdiendo tiempo y práctica. Si tuviera una computadora, entonces él podría utilizar programas para seguir aprendiendo y podría tener una rutina del estudio, pero desafortunadamente no la tiene."
Natalie, teacher, Los Angeles, says:
"I had a student use his mobile device as a hotpot and I felt so bad when he shared his screen. It took him about 3 minutes to click on a link to upload his assignments. He is still turning all assignments but, wow! the kids has patience!"
Corrine, teacher, Los Angeles, says:
"Teachers are also struggling, not the same way but still. Many have to spend money to increase bandwidth or to buy new routers. Or struggle to be online with low connections, trying to teach on zoom."