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Test program gives free laptops to students

April 30, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Students and their parents at Central Middle School in Riverside attended a training program to introduce a new pilot project in which every student will be given a new computer to aid in their education."This is one of two schools in the state that have this opportunity," said Riverside Unified School District Superintendent Richard Miller. "People behind us see (the program) expand out to other schools, particularly Title 1 schools."

Miller said he was pleased with the number of parents who see the value of computer training.

"There's a lot of excitement because they understand that it is access for their kids and family that they haven't had and it gives their students tremendous opportunity that without this they wouldn't have."

The computers will be assigned to each student like a textbook that students can use at school and take home.

"It's her own laptop to work on. Instead of us sharing one with the whole family, she has the opportunity to have her own and be able to communicate with her teachers," said Maria Irineo whose daughter goes to Central Middle School.

In many areas using personal computers for students' education is nothing new, but many families cannot afford to buy laptops or desktops for each individual student to use at home.

"The parents don't have the income for a computer at home or even a laptop," said Eric Mayhew who teaches at the school. "We want to try to take that divide and really bring it together so we don't have any difference between a low income student and a high income student as they leave our school technology wise,"