District of Columbia Public Schools Student Technology Equity Act of 2019
Introduced: March 19, 2019
Co-introducers: Councilmembers Charles Allen, Robert White, Elissa Silverman, Mary Cheh, Brianne Nadeau, Vincent Gray, and Anita Bonds
Summary: To require the development of a comprehensive multi-year student technology plan for the District of Columbia Public Schools that achieves a one-to-one device-to-student ratio for grades 3-12 and provides for the adequate repairing, maintaining, and updating of information technology in schools.
Councilmember Grosso's Introduction Statement:
Along with Councilmembers Charles Allen, Robert White, Elissa Silverman, Mary Cheh, Brianne Nadeau, Vincent Gray, and Anita Bonds, I am introducing the District of Columbia Public Schools Student Technology Equity Act of 2019.
Last summer, I heard from students at my youth-led education town halls who shared that the access to adequate technology in their schools was a major hinderance to their academic pursuits.
Slow and outdated computers, laptops missing keys, spotty Wi-Fi, and students forced to share devices are just a few of the complaints students have voiced.
In 2019, this is unacceptable.
Studies have shown that adequate access to technology has a positive impact on student test scores and imparts modern skills they will need to fully participate in a 21st century economy.
Up-to-date and ample technology in our schools would also improve their ability to seamlessly administer annual standardized testing, which has presented logistical challenges in years past.
The DCPS Student Technology Equity Act of 2019 requires the mayor to periodically convene a steering committee of DCPS, the Chief Technology Officer, educational stakeholders, and information technology experts.
The steering committee will be responsible for engaging the public, assessing the current state of education technology, identifying gaps in student fluency, and determining the adequacy of information technology support for each DCPS school.
This needs assessment will form the basis of a Comprehensive Student Technology Equity Plan that will lay out a road map to ensure there is one device per student in grades 3-12 in the next 5 years.
It will also include a framework to maintain and update technology in our schools and recommendations on how to close the gaps in student technology fluency.
At the end of February 2019, DCPS released a budget that would invest $4.6 million in technology for FY20 and provide a three-to-one technology device ratio for all students and a one-to-one ratio in grades 3, 6, and 9 in SY2019-2020.
While this is a great first step, a comprehensive, multi year technology plan and a strategy to maintain and update this education technology in DCPS is necessary.
In closing, I want to thank student leaders who participated in my town halls for raising their concerns last year and Digital Equity in DC Education for their continued advocacy for improving technology in our schools.