PHOENIX – High school freshmen got wired Wednesday morning with a dose of technology that they can keep indefinitely.
Sprint and The Sprint Foundation gave more than 5,000 freshmen at Phoenix Union High School smartphones, tablets and Wi-Fi hotspots.
It was all part of a program they call 1Million Project through which they plan to help 1 million low-income students close the digital divide by getting them access to the internet.
A Pew Research Center study shows there are about 5 million families with school-aged children in the U.S. that do not have access to the internet.
Most those families are black and Hispanic.
Chad Geston, the superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District, recognizes the issue.
"Until we continue bringing connectivity to the home and bring devices to all of our students’ hands, it would be difficult to prepare students for the society they're living in," Geston said.
Even before students make it to the “real world,” they face a real challenge to even complete homework.
Most teachers assign homework online -- about 70 percent, according to the same Pew Research Center study.
Without access to cyber space, it has been challenging for ninth grader Angel Amanzu.
"I couldn't get answers or the information I wanted,” he said.
A representative from Sprint said the tech devices are gifts. The students can keep them indefinitely.
The devices come with 3 GB of LTE high-speed internet service per month until the student graduates high school.
The program has launched, but a transitional program for these students as they prepare to go to college or other high education opportunities is still to be determined.
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