A study released in March 2014 by the National Center for Education Statistics, Condition of America’s Public School Facilities: 2012-13, reveals that the technology infrastructure in more than 20 percent of U.S. public schools was rated as inadequate as of the 2012-13 school year.
Technology infrastructure in the study was defined as “facility access to voice, video, and data transmission in classrooms and administrative areas of the school….[including]…wiring for computer workstations and other electronic equipment in program areas.”
For the 99 percent of schools with permanent buildings, 21 percent rated their technology infrastructure as fair or poor. For the 31 percent of schools with portable (temporary) buildings, the percent rating their technology infrastructure as fair or poor rises to 33 percent.
Ratings were conducted on a four-point scale. ‘Fair’ means “a feature or system meets minimal conditions but is not dependable, breaks down frequently, or has other limitations. It is a feature or system that would require some upgrading to be considered in good condition.” ‘Poor’ means that “a feature or system as it exists is inadequate to meet even minimal needs of the school.”
Moreover, it appears that school size is negatively associated with adequacy of technology infrastructure. That is, schools of less than 300 students appear to be more likely to have an inadequate technology infrastructure than schools with more students.
The findings of this study should serve as a stark reminder that while there are many schools across the U.S. that can and are beginning to take advantage of digital learning opportunities, there are still far too many that remain on the wrong side of digital tracks.