Walk into any classroom in Alpaugh Unified and you will see teaching and learning using the latest technology. Students collaborate on digital documents, give presentations on interactive whiteboards, conduct research and even apply to colleges on Chromebooks.
But for many students in Alpaugh, a small rural town about an hour north of Bakersfield in Tulare County, that online connection stops once the school day ends. And Alpaugh is not alone. Only a third of rural California households have internet access, compared to 78% of urban households, limiting the number of students who can finish online homework assignments.
California has invested millions to improve internet access both in schools and communities and those efforts to connect households is paying off. California families with access to the internet only via smartphone dropped from 18% in 2017 to 10% this year.