There's a technology gap in Mecklenburg County for some local students - not at school, but at home. A North Mecklenburg group is trying to close that digital divide. And now it has been recognized as the most innovative in the nation.
A Davidson group called E2D - for Eliminate the Digital Divide - has made big strides over the past three years in closing the gap between technology haves and have-nots in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Founded three years ago, E2D provides free computers to families that lack them, along with training and low-cost internet access.
Last Thursday, the program was honored as the “most innovative” in the US in the first Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards. Leaders accepted the award at a National League of Cities meeting in Nashville.
The idea for E2D came about after a Bailey Middle School seventh grader, Franny Millen, noticed that many kids in her school didn’t have home computers. She thought it wasn't fair and realized they were at a big disadvantage because many assignments required computers.
Her father, Pat Millen, and the family started the project, obtained grants and computer donations, and since then have delivered computers to more than 800 families at 18 schools.
After starting with schools in north Mecklenburg, they expanded this fall to five of Charlotte's poorest high schools. Putting computers in students' homes not only helps students keep up with classwork, but gives parents access to schools' electronic communication and grade tracking systems.
E2D and the town of Davidson were among six winners - other winners all were major cities – Philadelphia, Seattle, Austin, Chattanooga and Washington, DC.
Listen to our Nov. 9, 2015, "Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins" about E2D and the issue of the digital divide, "Closing the Student Technology Gap at Home"
See E2D's website http://www.e-2-d.org/