Detroit Students To Receive 50,000 Laptops And Free Internet As Part Of $ 23 Million Investment
STRAIT – A coalition of Detroit-based businesses and philanthropic organizations on Thursday announced a plan to put a tablet computer with high-speed LTE Internet connectivity, as well as technical support, in the hands of every student from kindergarten through to Grade 12 Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) before the end of the school year.
Watch the press conference live above.
The “Connected Futures– supported by the DTE Energy Foundation, the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), the Kellogg Foundation, Quicken Loans, the City of Detroit, General Motors and the Skillman Foundation – works to address digital inequity in the city of Detroit, a problem they say was exacerbated when students were forced to learn from home following the COVID-19 pandemic. The DPSCD estimates that 90% of students in the neighborhood do not have access to a device and the Internet.
The plan is that the the first six months of internet connection will be fully subsidized, during which time students will switch to a low-cost wired connection.
“When our leadership team started prioritizing COVID-19 relief efforts, the issue of digital inequity for students in Detroit rose to the top,” said the president and CEO of DTE Energy, Jerry Norcia. “We recognized that we needed to act urgently to bridge the digital divide for these students and equip them with the tools to thrive in the 21st century. Today, the Detroit community is committed to the future of our children. It is time for us to level the playing field for students in Detroit. “
The majority of Detroit students have not been able to take advantage of online learning tools or connect with their teachers via video chat despite the district’s best efforts, according to DPSCD.
“This has been part of our long term plan for DPSCD for three years, as we have invested in technology in schools, but these investments have not impacted the lack of connectivity at home,” he said. said Dr Nikolai Vitti, Director of DPSCD. “The ability for our students to access the educational platforms they use during the school day from home will improve their learning throughout the year, not just during this crisis. We know our kids are doing exponentially during the school year, but when they come back in September, they’ve lost much of their progress from the previous school year. We are sincerely grateful to the DTE for leading the charge on this initiative and for the many funders who have stepped forward to support our students.
The organizers said that Connected Futures The program was designed with “sustainability and responsibility at the forefront”. DPSCD and DTE have hired a project manager for this initiative. DPSCD, the City of Detroit, DTE, Quicken Loans and the Skillman Foundation have created a committee to oversee the long-term initiative – monitor critical data points, discuss any issues that may arise and jointly resolve issues, said organizers.
“When we look back at that time in 10 years, we will see that this moment changed the trajectory of education in our city,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “We have risen to the challenge of this pandemic and found a way to forge something positive for our children. It will be a defining moment of pride in Detroit for many, many years to come.
Copyright 2020 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.