The Great Equalizer


Kaitlin Bethay, Staff Writer

Midnight. You’re typing up the conclusion to your paper that’s due tomorrow morning. It’s a good thing you have Internet access around the clock, right? Or are you taking it for granted?

For some students, living in a household without a computer is a reality. Yes, even in this day and age, not everyone has access to the Internet. But with schools moving towards “paperless classrooms,” students without Internet are getting left in the dust.

Technology is rapidly advancing, and it’s important to utilize what the magnificent minds of our generation have created for us.

Going “paperless” not only helps the environment, but also gives students infinite resources that they can use to study (provided of course that they have access to a computer). Technology is indeed a wonderful thing, and we should use it.

However, there is one problem: technological dependence. Teachers expect students to have Internet access and form their lesson plans accordingly. When they get the unexpected question “What should I do if I don’t have a computer?” most would say to that there are plenty of ways to get it done.

The number one way, being of course, the library.

True, the library is a great source of information, but their hours don’t fit most students’ busy schedules.

The high school library closes at 4 PM and opens at 8 AM. Thirty minutes before and after school is hardly enough time to finish an essay or online physics homework. The Keller Public Library would be the next best bet.

However, the latest they stay open during the week is 8 PM, and that’s only Monday through Wednesday. You could say it provides you with a simulation of what college might be like, but most colleges have libraries that are open until at least 11 PM.

In order to meet the requirements of online homework, a student without a computer has to tailor their entire schedule to fit in the assignment.

For busy students, this is a major hassle.

Staying after school until 6:30 PM? You’re down to an hour and a half before the public library closes. Unless it’s Thursday, Friday or a weekend, it would already be closed.

Most students depend on the precious late night hours to complete what needs to be done, but not having Internet access makes it ten times more difficult to accomplish this.

Every hour counts, and no one should have to compromise what they’re involved in just because they don’t have the advantage that everyone else has.

Education is supposed to be the great equalizer, but it’s certainly clear that those who have access to the Internet 24/7 have the upper hand. To those who think the percentage of those who do not have Internet access is too small to be significant, think again.

Conducted by the Census Bureau, a study in 2010 found that 30 percent of people in the U.S. do not in fact have access to the Internet. Hardly insignificant.

In order to put less strain on someone who falls within the 30 percent, teachers should either give an alternative assignment or confirm with the student that the due date will allow a sufficient amount of time for the work to be completed.

With everything from online textbooks to online quizzes, it’s easy to forget about those who find a simple email to be inconvenient. It’s the school’s job to remember the needs of its students, so that in the end, everyone can have a fair chance.