Tallahassee, FL (STL.News) Today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced that 32,614 laptop computers are being distributed to 34 mostly small, rural school districts throughout Florida and the Florida A&M University Developmental Research School. This was made possible through a partnership with the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium (PAEC), Northeast Florida Educational Consortium (NEFEC) and Heartland Educational Consortium (HEC), and three additional school districts that are not members of a consortium.
“Today’s announcement speaks volumes about how the Department of Education, our school districts and our teachers are coming together to ensure Florida students have the resources they need to continue their education through the COVID-19 crisis,” said Governor DeSantis. “Florida is truly raising the bar for distance learning.”
“I am grateful our staff at the Department were able to quickly identify funds and work with Florida’s educational consortiums, whose membership is made up of smaller rural districts that often need help consolidating resources, and determine the gaps in device accessibility for students, many of whom are low income and in need of this critical support,” said State Board Chair Andy Tuck.
When the COVID-19 crisis indicated the need for distance learning, the Department proactively began calling laptop suppliers throughout Florida and reaching out to Florida’s rural county school district consortia to identify both available supply and demand.
“I am grateful for the work that all 67 county school districts did to implement their distance learning plans by March 30, and I’m equally grateful to support these students in districts that lacked the resources to fully equip their students and teachers for success,” said Commissioner Corcoran. “Nearly all of these students are low-income students, and Florida making the extra effort to fight for these students is another example of how Florida never relents in the fight to close achievement gaps.”
For more information on the Florida Department of Education’s response to COVID-19, please visit http://www.fldoe.org/em-response/index.stml.