KCPS students still without laptops, access to Internet

KANSAS CITY, MO - Thousands of students in the Kansas City Public Schools District still don't have laptop computer, even though the district says they've paid more than $1 million for them.

Andrea Flinders, president of the Kansas City Federation of Teachers Local 691 said the district just hasn't prepared. She says the district is still trying to figure out how to get Internet access in classrooms. She also says the laptops should be distributed by next week.

But, that is not the only technology problem facing students in Kansas City. Many find it difficult to do their homework because they don't have access to the Internet at home.

One parent, Nadia Whitley, said she doesn't want her kids to be at the back of the class.

"I don't want them to fail. I don't want them to be at the bottom of the pile. I want them to be on top," Whitley said.  

Whitley's kids are part of the 70 percent of students in the district who don't have access to the Internet at home, making it challenging to do research and complete assignments.

As a single mother with one income, she says there is no room for in her budget.

"You either choose to feed your family and maintain your home or you get the Internet, and in these days and times you have to make that choice," she said.

With limited choices for her three teens, who attend Northeast High School, they end up asking friends and neighbors for help. While they're out looking for an Internet connection, Nadia is worried about her children's safety.

"It's cool while its bright outside. It's cool even when the sun goes down a little bit, but when it gets dark I get wary because you never know what's going to happen."

Connecting for Good, a local non-profit, is working with the Kansas City Public School District to find a solution to the problem. Wednesday, the school district declined to talk on camera about Internet access for the majority of their students. They also declined to talk on camera about the future of their laptop program.

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