Oregon school lets students borrow laptops for home internet access

Just as finals approached, David Orozco’s family decided to drop internet access to save money. But the Canby High School senior had a group project on Bosnia and Herzegovina due in Economics class, and he needed to look up music on YouTube for choir practice. Now, school leaders have presented a possible solution to Orozco’s problem, reports the Oregonian. Last month, they launched “Check It Out,” a program that allows students to borrow laptops and wireless modems for free internet access at home. The program sheds light on a predicament facing families as they search for ways to trim budgets. Although many now consider online access essential for academic success, nearly one-third of U.S. households have no internet connection, according to data from a 2009 Census Bureau survey. At Canby High School, where a striking one in 17 students is considered homeless, there’s often a waiting list for the laptops and wireless modems, especially on weekends. “We definitely know there’s a need for the program,” said principal Pat Johnson. Each night, students can check out one of 10 laptops bought by the school and one of 20 wireless modules, which were provided free of charge by Cricket Wireless. Though the school’s computer lab has 40 computers, it closes at 5 p.m., he said. These days, every laptop gets checked out every night, and 90 students—including Orozco—have turned in permission slips to participate…

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