A new state-by-state report shows the digital divide is much larger than previously estimated for America’s K-12 students and it affects the nation’s teachers as well. With distance learning likely this fall at schools across the country, this new report from Common Sense Media provides timely guidance for federal and state lawmakers for addressing unequal access.

For Minnesota, the report finds:

  • 249,845 students without high-speed internet connection
  • 162,607 students without devices

These figures are far greater than current estimates from the Minnesota Department of Education.

Cost to Address 

What would it cost to address this divide nationwide?  The one-year price tag is estimated to be at least $6 billion and as much as $11 billion for students and an additional $1 billion to close the divide for teachers, according to the report, Closing the K–12 Digital Divide in the Age of Distance Learning.

Key Findings

  • About 15 to 16 million K–12 public school students, or 30% of all K–12 public school students, live in households either without an internet connection or a device adequate for distance learning at home

  • About 9 million K–12 public school students live in households with neither an adequate connection nor an adequate device for distance learning.

  • This digital divide is a major problem for students in all 50 states and all types of communities, but is most pronounced in rural communities and households with Black, Latinx, and Native American students.

  • From 300,000 to 400,000 K–12 teachers live in households without adequate internet connectivity—roughly 10% of all public school teachers—and 100,000 teachers lack adequate home computing devices.

Download the report and view full infographic.