New Jersey Department of Education

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Digital Divide and 2020 NJDOE Technology Data Collections

On July 16, 2020, Governor Murphy unveiled his Administration’s plan to address unmet pre-K-to-12 student technological needs in New Jersey schools, commonly referred to as “the digital divide.” To equip students with the learning devices and internet connectivity needed to close the digital divide in areas of highest need, the plan leverages innovation and support from private partners; $10 million in CARES Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, plus up to $44 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) funds, for a total of $54 million to support public schools; and an additional $6 million in CRF funds available for nonpublic schools.

The State’s plan for reopening schools makes clear that remote learning will continue to play a role in students’ education throughout the 2020-2021 school year. Many districts have opened with hybrid schedules that include both in-person and remote learning components, while others will begin the year entirely remotely as they plan to implement in-person health and safety standards. Additionally, families in every district around the State have the option to select fulltime remote learning for their students according to local district policy. The prominence of remote learning in 2020-2021 education models underscores the importance of prioritizing students who otherwise would lack access to a learning device and/or internet connectivity.

Student Device and Connectivity Weekly Information Sharing

Summary for Week of February 17th    

Beginning in mid-October, each week local education agencies, including charter schools, Renaissance School Projects, and Approved Private Schools for Students with Disabilities (APSSD) are required to share information on the number of Pre-K 3 to Grade 12 students currently needing devices and/or internet connectivity and the barriers preventing students who need a device and/or connectivity from having access to them. The following summarizes the results of this collection.

Response Rate

  • Overall, 99.8% of entities (829 of 831) have shared information on student devices and connectivity.
  • “Entities” that are required to report include not only all school districts, but also charter schools, Renaissance schools, and Approved Private Schools for Students with Disabilities (certain non-public schools approved by the state to serve special needs students)

Digital Divide

  • To date 99.4% (824 of 829) of all respondents have shared that they have bridged the digital divide by reporting zero students currently needing a device or connectivity or both a device and connectivity.
  • This number increased by 2 from last week, when 822 entities reported zero need.

Student Device and Connectivity Needs

  • Statewide, entities report 98 students (approximately 0.007% of statewide enrollment) currently needing a device, connectivity, or both. This is down 22.2% from last week. The table below provides a breakdown of the numbers.

  Weekly Digital Divide Data Collection*

Dec. 30th

Jan. 6th

Jan. 13th 

Jan. 20th

Jan. 27th

 Feb.3rd 

 Feb.10th 

 Feb.17th 

% Change  Feb. 10th to Feb. 17th 

Entities Reporting

810

810

812

828

828

828

829

829

0.0%

Students that Need Both a Device and Connectivity

597

597

463

15

15

15

3

3

0.0%

Students that Need a Device Only

6,959

5,980

4,326

1,723

266

53

31

31

0.0%

Students that Need Connectivity Only

1,263

1,140

411

190

132

127

92

64

-30.4%

Total Need

8,819

7,717

5,200

1,928

413

195

126

98

-22.2%

*Note: These data are as reported by school districts or other entities that are required to submit.

  • While the Department continues to refine these submissions and work collaboratively with the entities to better understand their reported data and to ensure that it accurately reflects their needs now, or for this school year, district-reported data might reflect human error or misunderstanding of the requested information.

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