The program started in Southern California’s Los Angeles and Riverside county school districts and has now expanded to Northern California’s Oakland Unified School District.
The problem this program solves is obvious: Work in many classes requires home access to computers and high speed broadband internet. Unfortunately, many low income families can’t afford these tools. So how can those children learn the skills they’ll need in an increasingly technological world if they don’t have access to computers and free high-speed internet? How can they succeed in an increasingly digital future? How can they escape poverty in the 21st century if they only learn to use 20th century tools?
But the program doesn’t begin and end with the students. Far from it. Teachers are trained to integrate technology into their classrooms and lessons. And children can’t get their computers until their parents complete the first of three training sessions.
School2Home has set an ambitious goal: To give computers to more than 500 low-performing middle schools and 400,000 students across California.
If you’re wondering how School2Home can afford such an expensive giveaway, the answer is simple. Generous public and private groups such the California Emerging Technology Fund, L.A. Unified, AT&T, Comcast, Google, IBM and Verizon have all made major contributions. For example, AT&T and Verizon are contributing more than $60 million to get the program off the ground.
Although we certainly appreciate the effort and the money, do not confuse AT&T’s and Verizon’s their contribution with magnanimity. They were actually strong-armed into making thw contributions by the California Public Utilities Commission. The PUC ordered the establishment of the California Emerging Technology Fund and mandated the contributions before it would approve the mergers of SBC and AT&T and Verizon and MCI back in 2005. But no matter what the companies’ motivations may have been, they have pitched in enthusiastically.
And how does School2Home define itself? The organization’s website says, “School2Home recognizes the equal importance of the school and home environments as places for learning, and works to enrich student opportunity by creating stronger connections between the two. Its large scale, evidence-based approach, and public-private partnership make it an unprecedented effort, both in California and nationally.”
As we said at the top of this article, School2Home is currently available only in certain test schools in Los Angeles, Riverside and Oakland, California schools. But we’re confident it will be successful and quickly roll out statewide. We can only hope that others states look at their success and roll out similar programs.
We’re behind you 100%, School2Home. And we’re behind the kids 110%.
Please let us know if we at Cheap Internet can do anything to help.
Program information: School2Home