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Expand chart
Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

About 7 in 10 teachers assign homework that requires broadband access, but nearly 1 in 3 households don't have it.

Why it matters: The "homework gap" affects 12 million U.S. school-age kids, according to the Senate Joint Economic Committee. Students with less access to digital tools are at risk of falling behind their peers who are more connected.

By the numbers:

  • 15% of households with school-age children don't have a high-speed connection at home, per Pew Research Center. That number is higher among low-income households, one-third of which lack broadband access.
  • 35% of teens say they at least sometimes rely on their cellphone to finish their homework, according to Pew. That number creeps up to 45% for teens living in households that earn less than $30,000 a year.
  • 12% of teens say they at least sometimes use public WiFi to complete homework assignments because they don't have a connection at home.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel calls the homework gap the "cruelest part of the digital divide."

"It's the most important issue of digital equality we face. It's not about indulgent surfing online, it's about teaching students how to use resources online to supplement how they find information and understand the world. We're going to harm their ability to perform jobs, the majority of which now require digital skills."
— FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel

Possible solutions: Rosenworcel has proposed using excess funds from spectrum auctions to fund initiatives to narrow the gap, like providing library loans of WiFi hot spots.

  • Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) have proposed a bill that would equip school buses with WiFi.

Go deeper

16 mins ago - Health

Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine

Photo illustration by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Moderna announced that it plans to file with the FDA Monday for an emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine, which the company said has an efficacy rate of 94.1%.

Why it matters: Moderna will become the second company to file for a vaccine EUA after Pfizer did the same earlier this month, potentially paving the way for the U.S. to have two COVID-19 vaccines in distribution by the end of the year. The company said its vaccine has a 100% efficacy rate against severe COVID cases.

The social media addiction bubble

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Right now, everyone from Senate leaders to the makers of Netflix's popular "Social Dilemma" is promoting the idea that Facebook is addictive.

Yes, but: Human beings have raised fears about the addictive nature of every new media technology since the 18th century brought us the novel, yet the species has always seemed to recover its balance once the initial infatuation wears off.

Young people's next big COVID test

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Young, healthy people will be at the back of the line for coronavirus vaccines, and they'll have to maintain their sense of urgency as they wait their turn — otherwise, vaccinations won't be as effective in bringing the pandemic to a close.

The big picture: "It’s great young people are anticipating the vaccine," said Jewel Mullen, associate dean for health equity at the University of Texas. But the prospect of that enthusiasm waning is "a cause for concern," she said.