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Indicator of the Month: Internet Access in Public and Private Schools
NCES: 1999005
February 1999

Internet access in public and private schools

Indicator of the Month - February 1999


The Internet, with its vast array of information, can broaden the learning resources available through schools by providing teachers and students with connections to remote libraries, schools, and government agencies. Information found on the Internet can broaden students knowledge base, and having Internet access can prepare students for an increasingly technological workplace. Examining patterns of Internet access in schools may help determine how many students will be prepared to use this technology effectively in the future.

  • Between fall 1994 and 1997, Internet access in public schools increased from 35 to 78 percent. However, in fall 1997, 27 percent of instructional rooms had Internet access.
  • In fall 1995, public schools were more likely to have Internet access than private schools (50 versus 25 percent). Additionally, public schools had a higher percentage of instructional rooms with Internet access than private schools (8 versus 5 percent).
  • Public schools with a high percentage of low income students (71 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch) were less likely than schools with a low percentage of low income students (less than 11 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch) to have Internet access in fall 1997.
  • In fall 1997, public schools with a high minority enrollment (50 percent or more) had a lower rate of Internet access than public schools with a low minority enrollment (less than 6 percent). Moreover, public schools with a high minority enrollment had a smaller percentage of instructional \rooms with Internet access than public schools with a low minority enrollment.
  • In both public and private schools with Internet access, teachers were more likely than students in these schools to have access to e-mail, news groups, resource location services, and the World Wide Web.

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