BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Schools in Baltimore County will be expanding student laptops this month as part of one of the nation’s largest digital overhauls of a school district.
According to our media partners at The Baltimore Sun, companies have until Friday to seal bids for a contract to supply more than 100,000 county students and teachers. The new contract will replace a deal that provided the county 150,000 laptops four years ago.
While the Board of Education focuses on getting the new contract completed, questions and criticism is swirling around the county. A state lawmaker has called on state education officials to audit district technology contracts after an investigation revealed school leaders have worked as paid consultants for a company that represents education technology firms.
Parents and teachers have also expressed frustration with computers breaking down and students visiting unauthorized websites. They are also concerned with the amount of time elementary students spend on the devices. Parents have reported that their children are able to hack through the district’s security system to access unauthorized sites.
The Johns Hopkins University Center for Research and Reform in Education reported teachers have also seen this taking place. The center reported over three quarters of teacher surveyed indicated inappropriate use of technology at least occasionally. Elementary, middle, and high school students were mentioned playing games, visiting unapproved websites, or using programs on their devices.