Opinion
Education Opinion

Why All School Buses Should Have Wi-Fi

By Matthew Lynch — August 30, 2017 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Ask what students do on their bus ride to school every morning and you’ll get a variety of answers: texting friends, chatting with neighbors, listening to music and sometimes - completing unfinished homework.

Depending on where a student lives in relation to school, their bus ride may be twenty to forty minutes long. And what’s accomplished during the morning or mid-afternoon rush? Chatting and texting and snacking and scribbling to complete worksheets.

What if we treated school buses as an informal first period? What if our students’ school days started the minute they stepped on their bus and took a seat? For some students, that equates to over an hour more each day of learning and productivity.

And what’s standing in their way of problem-solving and essay-writing on the go? Aside from a short attention span and the desire to chat with friends, there’s often no internet access.

Options like SmartBus allow students access to Wi-Fi that automatically filters out inappropriate content, social media distractions, and entertainment sites like Netflix and Spotify.

School has taken a technological turn for the better and more assignments and study materials can be found online. If students have access to working Wi-Fi they have access to instant intellectual improvement.

There are so many reasons why school buses should have Wi-Fi. Here are just a few to mention at your next PTA meeting:

1. Schools are Struggling: According to the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment, a cross-national test that measures global academic development, the United States ranks 38 out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. In short, students from the U.S. lag behind other students from developing countries around the world. Everyone has a different idea on how to solve our education crisis, but, as previously stated, Wi-Fi access on school buses allows some students over an hour more each day for homework completion and online learning. We need a solution to our academic shortfalls, and there’s no harm in increasing a child’s access to resources that only improve their potential for intellectual growth.

2. Increased Homework Completion: Homework is only helpful if a child actually completes it and according to schoolbusfleet, districts who’ve implemented technology on school buses have seen homework completion rates rise. While it sounds farfetched, not all students have internet access or, more likely, computer access at home. When the bus becomes an extension of materials they’re provided at school, students have the freedom to complete assignments without the distractions that come from an unpredictable household or spotty Wi-Fi.

3. Kids are Overbooked! Check the school planner of any high school student in 2017 and you’ll see lists of activities taking up every minute of their free time: sports practice, tutoring, SAT prep, part-time jobs, and social lives. On top of after-school activities, many students are overloaded with homework, especially if they’re enrolled in honors and AP courses. That means students have limited time for sleep and fun - two things essential for every teenager’s growth, development, and mental wellbeing. Having Wi-Fi access on the school bus carves out extra time for overworked students to complete assignments and catch up on school projects.

4. Wi-Fi on Wheels Can be Cost-Effective: Limiting Wi-Fi access to education-related content saves bandwidth which cuts costs to begin with. Additionally, onboard Wi-Fi could shift the cost burden away from the transportation department and towards instructional departments. If school buses serve Title 1 schools, there’s funding for bus Wi-Fi because limited Wi-Fi serves an instructional service.

5. Reduce Anxiety and Improve Behavior: Many kids with behavior issues need a distraction to keep cool. If students are anxious about bus rides for whatever reason, have ADD, or simply can’t sit still, it’s a nightmare for bus drivers trying desperately to maintain some sense of order onboard. Providing kids with Wi-Fi helps students look forward to bus rides and have something to toy with other than each other.

If worksheets on wheels are a piece of cake for every student, today’s busy kids will have no problem cranking out the beginning of an English essay or solving a few online algebra problems en route to school. Provide your students with more time for homework and productive distractions to improve their intellect and overall wellbeing.

What are your thoughts on school buses equipped with controlled Wi-Fi? Comment down below!

The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP
Education Massachusetts National Guard to Help With Busing Students to School
250 guard personnel will be available to serve as drivers of school transport vans, as districts nationwide struggle to hire enough drivers.
1 min read
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass. Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, activated the state's National Guard to help with busing students to school as districts across the country struggle to hire enough drivers.
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass.
Michael Dwyer/AP
Education FDA: ‘Very, Very Hopeful’ COVID Shots Will Be Ready for Younger Kids This Year
Dr. Peter Marks said he is hopeful that COVID-19 vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds will be underway by year’s end. Maybe sooner.
4 min read
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate health, education, labor, and pensions hearing to examine an update from federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2021. On Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, Marks urged parents to be patient, saying the agency will rapidly evaluate vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds as soon as it gets the needed data.
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate health, education, labor, and pensions hearing to examine an update from federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2021.
Jim Lo Scalzo/AP