Hispanic families in Dallas ISD are less likely than White and Black families to have high-speed internet at home, survey finds

January 13, 2022

DISD parents trust the private sector over the government to provide a high-speed internet network and they overwhelmingly believe that a government-built network would result in higher property taxes.

(DALLAS, Texas, Jan. 13, 2022) — Hispanic families in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) have nearly universal access to high-speed internet service, but have not adopted such service in the same percentages as non-Hispanic families have due to language barriers and a lack of awareness of programs offering the service at little or no cost, according to a new Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation (TxHPF) survey of parents with school-age children who live within the boundaries of DISD.

Nine out of ten parents responding to the survey (87%) have high-speed internet in their home, but white parents (96%) are more likely to have high-speed internet than black (87%) and Hispanic (81%) parents. Among parents with a child participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), 83% have high-speed internet at home, compared to 93% of those who do not participate in the NSLP.

Families who do not have high-speed internet service at home were most likely to cite the monthly cost as the primary reason why.

“High-speed internet is widely and readily available to Dallas ISD families, but there continues to be gaps in adoption of high-speed internet that have materialized along racial and economic lines,” said TxHPF CEO Jason Villalba. “In a post-pandemic economy, we know that virtual learning modules are absolutely indispensable to educating our children. Connectivity, via high-speed internet, is an essential utility and unquestionably necessary to achieving this goal. If Hispanic families remain technologically disadvantaged, Hispanic children, who represent over 50% of the future workforce, will be left behind. This is simply unacceptable.”

The survey found that most parents who live within DISD boundaries do not know about low-cost high-speed internet plans provided by AT&T and Spectrum, or about the FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Hispanics who prefer to interact in English are much more likely to know about those programs than those who prefer to interact in Spanish, who comprise a majority of the Hispanic families attending DISD. The findings underscore the need for more robust outreach campaigns — especially in Spanish — to make parents more aware of these benefits.

It also found that parents living in DISD are more likely to trust a private company (36%) to provide them with reliable high-speed internet than a local government entity, including the DISD (11%), with 36% trusting both equally and 17% trusting neither.

More than three-quarters of parents with children in DISD (78%) believe that a high-speed internet network built and maintained by Dallas County or the Dallas ISD would cause property taxes to go up, compared to only 6% who believe it would cause property taxes to go down and 16% who believe taxes would remain unchanged.

“DISD parents do not want the school district or the county to build, implement or maintain its own high-speed internet system,” Villalba said. “Our parent-centered research shows that most parents believe that if the government does attempt to build its own system, the result will be higher property taxes.”

The fielding period of this study was from October 20, 2021 through November 30. A total of 460 surveys were administered by ReconMR of San Marcos, Texas, of which sixty-six surveys were conducted over the telephone using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) software, while 394 surveys were conducted online via utilizing Computer Assisted Web Interviewing (CAWI). The CAWI respondents were either sent a text message invitation that included a unique link to the online survey for that individual, or upon being reached by telephone, requested a link be emailed or texted to them.


About the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation
The Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation operates as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated and committed to analyzing and exploring the political, economic, social, demographic, and familial attitudes and behaviors of Texas Hispanics. The Foundation conducts surveys, polls, research, data collection and analysis concerning the Hispanic population in Texas. You can find more information about the Foundation at www.TxHPF.org.

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