Schools and libraries may be the only places many students enjoy access to computers and the Internet. One non-profit's grant-funded program will test whether having computers at home can help students at two Los Angeles middle schools can improve their performance in math.
Playing academic video games or doing homework online might be typical in middle and upper income households. But many kids still don't have computer or internet access at home. One New York-based non-profit, CFY, maintains that increasing access to technology is the way to close the achievement gap and increase scores in what it calls "high-poverty schools."
CFY, with $7 million in donations from the big-players in education philanthropy, like the Gates Foundation, has already developed an online free curriculum called Powermylearning.com. Now CFY has received a $1 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation to take its methods into two South Los Angeles middle schools to test whether this tech-intensive approach can improve students' math scores. The two middle schools in the LA Unified School District are part of the Dr. Julian Nava Learning Academies. Two New York City public schools will also benefit from the grant.
The non-profit targets schools where over 75% of the students receive free lunch. It offers those students and their families free computers with internet access, plus a 24-7 bilingual help desk. The organization says its approachto instruction is already improving student achievement and engagement in schools across the country.