In a large, urban school district like Duval County — where fully half the kids in the public schools are on free or reduced lunch — poverty is real, and widespread. The achievement gap remains stubborn and formidable.
Later this summer, the Duval County Public Schools will attempt to narrow the divide with its DCPS Laptop Recovery Program. Students will be able to purchase a used but fully functional laptop for $50. Employees of the school district can get one for $75.
We’ve had an infusion of new laptops,” says Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.
“Three years ago we were at 3-to-1 as far as device-per-student. Now we’re at about 1.5-to-1. And we’ve had to move out a lot of our older computers and laptops,” he told WJCT. “They’re fully functional.”
Vitti says use of the laptops will increase student access to blended learning and online educational resources. It’s also revenue for the school district, which currently sends old technology devices to a recycler for $20 bucks a pop.
The program should launch in late summer or early fall. Each month a new high school will be used as a Saturday pickup site.
After a series of news cycles dealing with everything from lawsuits over transgender bathroom access in schools, to controversy over testing, and more, the laptop program is an easy layup for Vitti and should prove very popular.