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Survey Indicates "Digital Divide" Growing in Tulsa Public Schools

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Despite a $38 million bond issue last year emphasizing classroom technology, Tulsa Public Schools educators say more needs to be done.

Educators recognize a growing gap — referred to as a "digital divide" — between wealthy and not-as-wealthy students. District spokesman Chris Payne said they recently surveyed nearly 1,200 teachers, principals and staff.

"About 74 percent said that they do think the gap is widening and it's going to create issues trying to get kids college and career ready — that it is definitely an issue," Payne said.

Also, 87 percent said it’s important students have computer or tablet access at school and at home.

Payne said with so much testing done on computers now, technological literacy is sometimes taken for granted.

"It's kind of a big deal if you're expected to sit down and take a test and know how to use the technology," Payne said. "So, we do have some bridging of the gap that we need to do. We need to ensure that we have enough technology in the classroom to help get kids familiar with it so they can be successful."

The district expects the survey results will factor into an estimated $400 million bond proposal a development committee may recommend this month.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.