To the Editor:
It is urgent and imperative to provide for Oregon students’ educational needs while protecting their health and that of their teachers and communities. Let’s use a 21st century tool to avoid a bleak future for our state’s students, both immediately and in the long term.
Internet-connected tablets and/or laptops will allow students to continue to pursue their educational needs. Devices with built-in cameras enable real-time interaction with teachers and other students.
Other states provide their students with tablets and/or laptops and Oregon can too. Already in Crook County, every high school student has a Chromebook and kindergartners have iPads. Students in grades 5-12 in the Sisters School District have district-issued Chromebooks.
What’s the cost? Oregon has 588,000 K-12 school children. Chromebooks retail for about $150. Buying in bulk, cost would be around $58 million.
Oregon’s public colleges and universities educate 162,000 students. A Dell Latitude 5300 retails for $1,300. The cost of a bulk purchase would be around $162 million.
The issue of internet access can be significantly addressed via partnership agreements with internet service providers and using smartphones as mobile hotspots.
Providing for at-risk students and those with individual education plans is important. And already hard-working teachers will need support to deliver effective online classes.
Finally, when the current C-19 crisis passes, computers will be well-used in regular and hybrid classrooms.
Please consider urging your state legislators to support computers for all Oregon students.