Council member: Every NYC student should have the right to a laptop as 77K lack devices

A cart is used to hold and organize school-owned laptops to be distributed to students in need for remote learning in Manhattan.
A cart is used to hold and organize school-owned laptops to be distributed to students in need for remote learning in Manhattan. Photo credit Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- As the city still faces challenges making sure every student is connected for remote learning, there's a proposal for a more permanent fix.

At this point, all 1.1 million school kids in New York City are learning remotely either part-time or full-time.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza recently acknowledged that 77,000 students don't have internet-capable devices for remote learning.

The Department of Education said it’s working on it, but Council Member Ben Kallos said more needs to be done. He and other elected leaders are proposing making the right to have a laptop a guarantee for all public-school students.

“Now is the time to make it a law that every single public-school student should have a right to a laptop and an internet connection during their education,” Kallos said.

Every family that says it doesn’t have a laptop could get one, he said, and they’d come at a discount.

“We could break up the costs over years and give these kids a laptop that they can use and keep for five years,” Kallos said. “Buy them a new one every five years.”

The devices would also come preloaded with what Kallos calls “culturally responsive” textbooks to reflect the city's diversity.

“There's no reason why New York City should continue to buy textbooks made for white people in Texas,” he said.