To the Editor:
I’m surprised that local school boards haven’t contacted Xfinity by Comcast and asked them to help with a temporary internet connection for children of families who currently can’t afford this service.
Also, there are many grants available to help implement distance learning (computer-assisted instruction). In addition, laptop computers have become more reasonable, and it seems to me that somewhere along the line a deal could be made to supply (lend) computer laptops to families that don’t currently have one.
Companies want to help in this crisis. In both cases, these donations would be a total tax write-off, which could actually be a windfall for a technology company.
The school systems would have to hold sessions for adults to get them started in the use of these materials. Needless to say, this takes some time to establish, but it should have started the day schools had to close.
If there are an estimated 90,000 children, in New Jersey, without a connection at home to the internet, the fault lies with those in charge of crisis planning. Somehow, Philadelphia came up with 50,000 new laptops within a few weeks and handed them out to families with children in school. If they could do this, we could have also done this.
We could have also provided, for parents, instructions on how to best use this technology. Frankly, we dropped the ball on this.
The key to all of the above is this: "You have to ask for help if you need help." No company is going to come out and bang on your door. Some companies probably are very willing to help, if simply asked.
However, this didn’t happen. The 90,000 children without a computer and internet connection could be shaved down to almost nothing.
I’m suggesting that the state government immediately prepare to ask for help regarding the above, as an alternative to opening school in September.
Also, I suggest that ‘drill and practice’ elementary math programs be employed online. This can be accomplished by contacting the publishers of these elements and asking them to help out.
This can be done for math, language arts, and science at both the elementary school and high school levels. Most publishers can provide material software that is aligned with the state's annual testing program.
It is in the best interest of children, teachers, parents, publishers, and providers of computer hardware/software that this happens now. However, you have to ask for help.
Why am I so sure that help will be provided? I’ll answer this way: "From whom would you purchase millions of dollars of textbooks, computer hardware and software and classroom materials every year? Someone who helped you out in a crisis, or the company that slammed the door?”
I know who I’d work with in a heartbeat. Get off your rear and get to work putting this together.