Summary of “Why Millions of Teens Can’t Finish Their Homework”

In what’s often referred to as the “Homework gap,” the unequal access to digital devices and high-speed internet prevents 17 percent of teens from completing their homework assignments, according to the new Pew analysis, which surveyed 743 students ages 13 through 17.
Black teens are especially burdened by the homework gap: One in four of them at least sometimes struggle to complete assignments because of a lack of technology at home.
The homework gap can have major consequences, with some studies suggesting that teens who lack access to a computer at home are less likely to graduate from high school than their more technologically equipped peers.
The “Challenge to complete homework in safe, predictable, and productive environments can have lifelong impacts on their ability to achieve their full potential,” wrote John Branam, who runs an initiative to provide lacking teens with internet access, in an op-ed for The Hechinger Report last year.
While disadvantaged students can resort to public libraries and other venues that offer free Wi-Fi, such alternatives are still major obstacles to finishing homework every night.
“Your aunt has internet access [at home] but she lives a 40-minute bus trip across town,” Barnum wrote, illustrating the roadblocks for teens without internet access.
The researchers’ forthcoming book, The Digital Edge: How Black and Latino Youth Navigate Digital Inequality, chronicles the ways low-income students of color get around not having access to the internet and a computer.
In what Watkins calls “Social hacking,” students often “Reengineer their socioeconomic circumstances in order to get access to technology that they otherwise would not have access to.” For example, the researchers observed that students without such resources at home were adept at developing relationships with teachers who could, say, give them special weekend access to laptops and software for use at home.

The orginal article.