New Orleans District Bills Laptop Program as Cultural Shift
Thousands of public high school students in New Orleans received their own laptop computers this month—part of a $53 million technology initiative by the Recovery School District that aims to modernize some of the nation’s most rundown classrooms and improve achievement in a city where most students struggle to meet basic academic standards.
For the past two weeks, education officials issued laptops to nearly 4,000 students in the 9th through 12th grades in the recovery district’s eight high schools. Several hundred more laptops will go to 8th graders who failed Louisiana’s high-stakes exam last spring and were not promoted to 9th grade, said Paul G. Vallas, the superintendent of the state-run district.
The laptop program—which is costing the Recovery School District $1.67 million to lease the computers and software from Dallas-based Epic Learning for this school year—is remarkable for a city where, for decades, students in many struggling public schools did not even receive their...
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