Rhode Island has plans to bring computer science education to all of its public schools, but some older school buildings may have difficulty handling new technology because of aging electrical wiring and other outdated systems.
WJAR-TV reports that It found inadequate conditions in school buildings in Providence, the state's largest school district. Inspection reports for 2015 found that in 21 of 37 schools, power strips and extension cords were chained together to get electricity to computers and other high-tech devices. The average school in Rhode Island is more than 58 years old.
"Too many of our schools are falling apart," Gov. Gina Raimondo says. "Kids deserve better. Teachers deserve better. We have to rebuild them."
Raimondo has lifted a moratorium on state funding for school buildings, authorizing $20 million in funding last year. Another $9 million is on the table this year.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has pledged $20 million in bond money over the next two years to upgrade the city's schools.
State Education Commissioner Ken Wagner, says rebuilding aging schools will take years, but the computer science initiative must move forward in the meantime. In elementary schools, the commissioner says, computer science skills often can be taught offline, without using actual computers.
In middle and high schools, the new state funding and help from corporate partners will help upgrade older buildings.
Video from WJAR-TV: