Classroom Technology

See the Cities Best (and Worst) Positioned for Virtual Learning

By Alyson Klein — January 27, 2021 1 min read
Image of Seattle skyline

Virtual learning continues to be a tough lift for most city school districts in the country. But some urban school districts are much better positioned for remote learning than others simply because of the cities where they are located, concludes a recent analysis.

The findings underscore longstanding concerns about digital equity that have been heightened by the pandemic.

So where is the best city to be for virtual learning?

Seattle. (Yes, the home of some big tech companies, including Amazon and Microsoft, although it is not clear there’s a direct connection.)

And what city’s tech infrastructure was least prepared for online learning?

Detroit.

That’s according to an analysis, published Jan. 18, by Grand Canyon University, a private, for-profit Christian school in Phoenix that offers online learning options.

The analysis examined a mix of factors, including: how many households across the city have a home computer, how many have a broadband internet subscription, the average number of people in each household, the median household income, the average hourly rate for tutors, the annual cost of infant care, statewide school spending, and the statewide percentage of children in poverty.

It also factored in the percentage of kids age 2 to 17 diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder with Hyperactivity because, according to GCU, research has shown that students in that population have a particularly tough time with digital learning.

Seattle’s high ranking is partly due to its high median household income of more than $85,000, meaning that families have the means to pay for broadband access, computers, and daycare. Detroit is low on the list in part because 20 percent of households do not have access to a computer.

Here are the top ten cities best positioned for virtual learning:

  1. Seattle
  2. Virginia Beach, Va.
  3. Portland, Ore.
  4. San Francisco
  5. Salt Lake City
  6. Denver
  7. San Diego
  8. San Jose, Calif.
  9. Raleigh, N.C.
  10. Minneapolis

And here’s the bottom ten:

  1. Detroit
  2. Memphis, Tenn.
  3. New Orleans
  4. Miami
  5. Birmingham, Ala.
  6. Cleveland
  7. Dallas
  8. Hartford, Conn.
  9. San Antonio
  10. Kansas City, Mo.
Related Tags:

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
Professional Development Webinar
Building Leadership Excellence Through Instructional Coaching
Join this webinar for a discussion on instructional coaching and ways you can link your implement or build on your program.
Content provided by Whetstone Education/SchoolMint
Teaching Webinar Tips for Better Hybrid Learning: Ask the Experts What Works
Register and ask your questions about hybrid learning to our expert panel.
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
Families & the Community Webinar
Family Engagement for Student Success With Dr. Karen Mapp
Register for this free webinar to learn how to empower and engage families for student success featuring Karen L. Mapp.
Content provided by Panorama Education & PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

User Experience Analyst
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Senior Business Analyst - 12 Month Contract
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Coordinator of Strategic Partnerships
Camden, New Jersey, United States
Camelot Education
Senior Director Marketing
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Camelot Education

Read Next

Classroom Technology Spotlight Spotlight on Instructional Tech
In this Spotlight, evaluate if current usage of ed tech is working and more.
Classroom Technology Popular Interactive Math Game Prodigy Is Target of Complaint to Federal Trade Commission
Prodigy is “aggressively” marketing to children, say 22 education and consumer protection organizations. The company disputes the claims.
3 min read
A multi-ethnic group of elementary age children are in the computer lab using laptops. A little boy is watching a video and is listening to music.
FatCamera/Getty
Classroom Technology Low-Income Children Less Likely to Experience 'Live' Contact With Teachers, Analysis Finds
Children from lower-income families are less likely to have internet access, limiting their interactions with educators.
2 min read
Image of a student working on a computer from home.
iStock/Getty
Classroom Technology Opinion Outschool CEO on How to Engage Half a Million Virtual Learners
Amir Nathoo, CEO of Outschool, discusses how offering classes on topics like Minecraft and Harry Potter can engage students in learning.
10 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty