March 25, 2020
For more information contact:
Joe Weedon, 202-277-9410
WTU Urges DCPS to Release Laptops to All Students in Need
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) President Elizabeth A. Davis issued the following statement today.
“The WTU’s top priority during this public health crisis is the safety of our city’s teachers and students. However, as we enter this new and uncharted territory, teachers across the city are increasingly concerned about the digital divide that plagues our city.
“DCPS must act TODAY to ensure all students, in all grades, have access to computers as we embark on Distance Learning across the District. We urge the Mayor and DCPS to act immediately to ensure widespread access to computers for all families in need by expanding device distribution to include Middle and Elementary school students.
“In the coming days, public health experts expect the crisis facing our nation to grow. Each day that we delay is another day that students will go without access to their lessons and interactions with their teachers and potentially undermine efforts to distribute them.
“We recognize that there are additional barriers that must be overcome during this crisis. The distribution of laptops will not solve all our concerns. We are working with local TV stations as well as DCPS to make video lessons available to students and their families, and we must also identify ways to further expand Wi-Fi access to all students.
“The gaps that have become apparent across our city during this crisis are not new. We have long known that they have existed. They impact the achievement of our students and the success of our teachers and schools. As we emerge from this crisis, we hope to work with our city’s elected leadership to re-examine the impact of the digital divide and opportunity gaps on our students, reform our teacher evaluation and school accountability metrics to de-emphasize federally-mandated standardized tests that reflect these gaps, and to prioritize reforms to close the achievement gaps that plague our public schools.
“We encourage all families and community members to follow the advice of local public health agencies during this crisis. The latest updates, including locations where students can obtain free meals, are available at https://coronavirus.dc.gov/.”
# # #