AN EFFORT TO BRIDGE DIGITAL DIVIDE
A conversation that began around one Davidson family’s kitchen table has grown into a communitywide effort to end the digital divide in north Mecklenburg County. Now organizers of the movement – known as E3D for Eliminate the Davidson Digital Divide – are working on a pilot program that will bring 50 computers to those families at Davidson Elementary School who don’t have one. Ultimately, they hope the effort will serve as a model to be replicated across Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
Franny Millen, a seventh-grader at Bailey Middle School, was talking with her parents last fall about a disconnect between students who have computers at home and those who don’t.“I have noticed for a while now that not a lot of my friends have the same access to technology as I do,” said Franny, 12. “The thought of kids having lower grades than me because of not having any technology bugs me. Kids who don’t have technology have harder times at school.” In fact, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, 59.3 percent of economically-disadvantaged students at Davidson Elementary School – those who likely wouldn’t own a computer at home – passed both reading and math end-of-course tests during the 2011-12 school year, compared with more than 95 percent of non-economically disadvantaged students.