E-government processes are related to technology use and citizen participation in politics. With regards to public administration, e-government refers to the transformation of government processes using interactive communication tools. The Internet is one appropriate way of improving interactive communication processes among people and institutions at all levels. Disparities in students’ learning in the New York public schools have been caused by inequitable access to learning opportunities. The problem has been aggravated by economic and social segregation in the city.
Some of the factors causing the disparities in education among students in the New York public schools can be addressed through ICT usage.
Several studies have shown that discriminatory access to learning resources is one cause of the difference in students’ performance.
- The US Federal government initiated programs such as eRate and Title I funds usage in purchasing academic resources, in a move to address equity concerns related to differential access to digital tools and the Internet (Darling-Aduana, 2020). The programs, however, were availed to well-performing students while lower-performing, minority students were sidelined. Online classes improve student’s interactivity in the learning environment and participation in problem-solving and critical thinking tasks (Darling-Aduana, 2020). However, students from low-income family backgrounds are disadvantaged as they cannot use these digital tools for learning.
- While conceding that inequality could result in differences in students’ academic achievement, Hart et al. (2019) agree that digital learning tools can help in solving the problem due to availability and increased Internet speeds which reduces geographic constraints experienced by poor students in remote areas. Due to the scalability of educational software, applications and online classes can be accessed by students throughout a state and the entire state.
The inequality in education access among students in New York public schools is a matter which concerns all the students from all the races in the city, the school administration, the students’ parents and guardians, and the state and federal governments.
Causes of inequitable access to learning opportunities
There are other factors alongside economic and racial segregation which cause inequitable access to learning opportunities. In the study by Hart et al. (2019), other factors related to family resources such as parental education and household composition can result in disparities in education among students. The study also notes that school resources such as the student-teacher ratio and school facilities also influence students’ learning. The US Department of Education (n.d) states that structural barriers such as inequitable funding systems aggravate the identified problem since most needy schools in low-income communities receive little local and state funding contrary to expectations. According to the US Department of Education (n.d.), few students from low-income and minority families complete their education since they face expulsion, suspension, dropouts, and are less likely to access qualified teachers and effective curricula.
- The state government of New York should increase its funding to schools in low-income areas to facilitate the procurement of academic resources.
- More teachers should be employed in populated schools to lower the student-teacher ratio. When more teachers are employed, there will be increased contact with the students on the teachers’ part which can facilitate the process of knowledge transfer.
- The government in collaboration with established telecommunication companies should avail affordable, reliable, and high-speed Internet services to the students for academic purposes. Students from low-income families should be provided with laptops to facilitate their online classes. More specifically, the stakeholders can tailor education-specific data offers to the student to enable them to extend their learning to the Internet even from home, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. High-speed internet would ensure that students from remote areas do not miss learning programs due to geographical issues.
Handling Learning Disparities during the COVID-19 Pandemic
After the closure of schools due to the pandemic, the school administrations enrolled students in remote online classes. Online learning ensured that learning continued while at home. On March 22, 2021, the New York City mayor Bill de Blasio ordered a section of the students back to schools while others stayed at home to proceed with remote learning. (Shapiro, 2021). Shapiro relates that low-income and minority students were also allowed to return to school, which is an important precedent.
Provision of laptops and internet services to deserving students. The city Department of Education should assess the students’ background to identify the needy and minority students who may be allocated laptops which they can use for academic research. A laptop like Lenovo would cost about $300 and suppose the government wishes to sponsor about 500,000 students, which would be around $200,000,000 inclusive of data services.
To assess the success of the recommended solution, the exam results of the students provided with laptops will be analyzed and a comparison made to their preceding results.
- E-government is concerned with transforming government procedures through interactive communication tools.
- Digital learning tools are one e-government strategy to promote education.
- Economic and racial segregation aggravate learning disparities among students in New York City
- ther factors such as family background and availability of school resources affect students learning.
- Education disparities can be solved by empowering needy and minority students with digital learning resources such as laptops and the Internet.
- However, there is no certainty that the provision of laptops and the Internet can improve students’ performance as this depends on other factors such as self-discipline, availability of power, and teacher or parental supervision.
Darling-Aduana, J. (2020). High school student experiences and learning in online courses: Implications for educational equity and the future of Learning [Doctoral dissertation, Vanderbilt University]. Vanderbilt University Institutional Repository.
Hart, C. M., Berger, D., Jacob, B., Loeb, S., & Hill, M. (2019). Online learning, offline outcomes: Online course taking and high school student performance. AERA Open, 5(1), 1-17. Web.
Shapiro, E. (2021). New York City high schools will reopen in pandemic milestone. New York Times. Web.
The US Department of Education (n.d). Equity of opportunity. Web.