The phrase “the homework gap” was coined by Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel before the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, we heard stories or witnessed students sitting in restaurant parking lots or at fast-food tables with their computers to connect to the Wi-Fi. Schools equipped buses with hot spots so students could do their homework riding to and from school. Over the weekend, they deployed buses with hot spots into neighborhoods that lacked reliable broadband. They sent computers and other devices home with students. Districts kept their doors open after hours for students to connect.

This was all happening before the pandemic. In March 2020, most schools closed their buildings and continued teaching online. Hot spots were handed out with computers and other devices. Some districts even turned to drone technology to help get their students connected to the internet so they could attend online classes.

Our cover story for this issue, “Bridging the Homework Gap,” by national education writer Greg Toppo, looks at how the pandemic made an already bad situation worse. School districts all over the country have made valiant efforts to connect their students, but it’s clear that schools can’t do this alone. Broadband connections are no longer a luxury. They should be considered a necessity.

Also in this issue, Contributing Editor Glenn Cook writes in “Love, Not Hate” about districts helping their students feel safe in the wake of violence against Asians in America. Associate Editor Michelle Healy, in her article, “Under Pressure,” talks to school board members dealing with the unprecedented stress of board service during the past year.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Until next issue . . .

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2020 State of the Association

Full of challenge and change, 2020 was like no other year. NSBA's State of the Association provides a snapshot of the association's advocacy and member services work as well as our ongoing transformation.