While holding candles in CD Roms and chanting "my school needs the other apples," more than 150 students and parents rallied recently at Turner at Green Elementary School in Southeast to focus attention on technology shortcomings in city schools.
"I've been in D.C. schools where the computers are so antiquated that you can't even download a basic pdf file," said former technology teacher Toval Rolston, who shared technology horror stories. "Our children don't have the tools to compete in today's high tech world."
District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) would receive $85 million dollars to prepare students for the 21st century through a provision of the American Jobs Act that will help lessen the local technology divide and give District children a better chance at competing for jobs later in life.
The U.S. Senate votes on the measure in the coming weeks.
Although the Jobs Act provision would also create 1100 school modernization jobs, currently while students at Turner at Green have access to a computer lab, according to school sources, the lab has no teacher.
The contrast between educational outcomes and life prospects between the rich and poor is stark: west of the Potomac River virtually all students will go to college, while east of the Anacostia River, only 1 in 20 make it to higher education.
DCPS student Tyesha Kennedy told the gathering, "As hard as I work, it's tough knowing I'm going to graduate behind suburban kids when it comes to technology; it doesn't have to be that way."