2014 Projects

HB 936 Accessibility of Electronic Textbooks

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Members

Melanie Avery, Avery Strategy, LLC
Theresa Cry, Virginia Commonwealth University
Linda Haskins, Dominion
Branden Riley, Babcock & Wilcox

The economic and social consequences of the lack of access to technology for students in the Commonwealth of Virginia are real and significant.  This report provides a legislative racial impact analysis of House Bill (HB) 936, a proposed bill in the Virginia General Assembly, prohibiting school boards from making electronic textbooks available for students, unless the school board adopts a plan to ensure that e-textbooks are available on or before July 1, 2017. The bill focuses solely on developing a plan for installing prior to implementing electronic textbooks in K-12 classrooms.  Electronic textbooks are important as they offer updated content, ease of accessibility, multimedia features to enhance the learning experience, and the ability for educators to customize learning. Delegating this decision to each local school board in Virginia raises important potential racial implications, including the digital divide. Previous research suggests a correlation between the number of students receiving free and reduced lunch and the lack of availability of electronic textbooks.  Districts with high rates of students on free and reduced lunch have a high population of minority students. This analysis provides maps that capture the trends on the probability of providing electronic textbooks for high minority areas across the state.  The primary recommendation is to advance policy approaches that make electronic textbooks available to all K‐12 students in the Commonwealth of Virginia.