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It builds on the findings of a study on Broadband and Student Performance Gaps released in the weeks before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (Hampton et al., 2020). That report highlighted the low levels of broadband access by rural Michigan students and the detrimental impact from a lack of access on their academic performance, educational aspirations, career choices, and general well-being. In 2022, we returned to the same schools that we first surveyed in 2019. We asked students about their experience with Internet technologies and with learning from home during the pandemic. Our findings paint a picture of how rural school districts and other stakeholders rapidly mobilized to address a national crisis. In a remarkably short period of time, schools accessed state and federal resources to close gaps in rural Internet access and computing devices.
The Digital Opportunities Compass offers a framework to assist in the development of state plans that meet the reporting and assessment requirements of IIJA and DEA but go beyond access and affordability to fully harness the benefits of digital technology. As communities and states develop plans to improve digital equity, it is important to establish a shared framework to establish goals and priorities, to identify opportunities, and monitor progress toward these goals.
Research team: Johannes M. Bauer (Quello Center, MSU)
Achieving a high overall vaccination rate is crucial for overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. To prevent widening inequalities, it is also important to increase vaccination rates among the diverse populations that are most gravely affected by the pandemic. Governmental, healthcare, and policy groups need data to guide their strategic vaccination campaigns. This policy brief presents insights from data collected shortly before vaccines were formally approved. Our analysis helps to understand the factors that influence the willingness to be vaccinated and informs strategies to reach vaccine hesitant populations.
Download Quello Center Policy Brief
School districts face difficult choices. Large scale shifts in public education to an online curriculum must consider inequalities in broadband access, devices and skills, as well as parental and caretaker involvement. However, these inequalities cannot be overcome immediately. Unless schools decide against online teaching altogether because of these concerns (a strategy that has disadvantages for connected students), they need to find responses that minimize potential disadvantages for vulnerable populations. Key considerations are (1) offering of measures to improve the capacity of teachers, parents and learners to adapt to online learning, (2) appropriate design and use of distance learning, and (3) short-term measures to improve access to broadband. Quello Center Policy Brief 01-20 lays out options for short-term and long-term responses to the crisis.
A new study from Michigan State University warns that gains made to address broadband and internet connectivity in Michigan rural communities are
Digital Opportunities Compass: Metrics to Monitor, Evaluate, and Guide Broadband and Digital Equity Policy Reposted from the Benton Institute for