first_imgIn September, the district’s school board voted to continue with remote learning for most students through the end of the semester, citing health concerns, despite Ms. Felder’s recommendation to implement a combination of in-person and online classes.To help students connect, the district has distributed over 1,500 hot spots, often several to each family. Yellow buses outfitted with Wi-Fi regularly rumble outside apartment complexes and housing developments. And for weeks, shuttered school cafeterias, once redolent with the scent of chicken nuggets and quesadillas, functioned as internet hubs.But with no child care provided, few parents brought their children, prompting the district to close them last month.Today, many parents use a map of public Wi-Fi locations to help their children get online, and students can often be seen hunched over laptops in cars parked within the invisible range of wireless routers. “It just adds insult to injury when you’re forced to sit in a McDonald’s parking lot to learn,” Ms. Felder said.For months, Ms. Felder and other local officials have been lobbying the state for systemic solutions, rather than Band-Aid fixes like hot spots. “We need cell towers and broadband,” she said. “That’s something we cannot build ourselves. We need the government to step in and make this happen.” The challenge of closing the digital divide can be particularly daunting in states like North Carolina, home to the nation’s second-largest rural population and a geography that spans mountains, swamps and barrier islands.About 100,000 of the state’s 1.5 million K-12 students were unable to connect to online services in August, according to the Department of Information Technology. More than 75,300 cellular hot spots were provided to schools by late October, and the state is trying to connect other students with public Wi-Fi locations and community grants for broadband infrastructure.But politics has also hampered the state’s connectivity. In 2016, Republican state lawmakers won a legal battle to halt the spread of municipal broadband providers, which had increased competition by serving residents where commercial networks had been unwilling to go.In Orange County, which is home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and just west of some of the state’s biggest cities, more than 5,200 households lack broadband internet access, including an estimated 1,100 students in the local school district, said Monique Felder, the superintendent.She noted with frustration that the district is just a few miles away from the state’s prominent Research Triangle Park, where IBM, Cisco and dozens of other information technology companies employ thousands of people. The strain is even more profound two hours’ drive south in Robeson County, where coronavirus test positivity rates have consistently been more than double the state’s 5 percent benchmark for reopening, leading the school board to extend remote learning through December, a district spokesman said. “It’s un-American,” said Ms. Felder, who pointed to unaffordable pricing and a lack of cell towers as having contributed to the problem. “I can’t wrap my head around the fact that we live in a place where you have all this technology, yet we have families who can’t access the internet in the comfort of their home.” The technology gap has prompted teachers to upload lessons on flash drives and send them home to dozens of students every other week. Some children spend school nights crashing at more-connected relatives’ homes so they can get online for classes the next day. “It’s not fair,” said Shekinah, 17, who, after weeks trying to stay connected to classes through her cellphone, was finally able to get online regularly again last month through a Wi-Fi hot spot provided by the school. “I don’t think just the people who live in the city should have internet. We need it in the country, too.”Millions of American students are grappling with the same challenges, learning remotely without adequate home internet service. Even as school districts like the one in Robeson County have scrambled to provide students with laptops, many who live in low-income and rural communities continue to have difficulty logging on.About six million K-12 students lived in households without adequate online connectivity in 2018, according to a study of federal data by Common Sense Media, an education nonprofit that tracks children’s media use.- Advertisement – Sherry Park, the principal of South Robeson Intermediate School, said about 60 of her 310 students live in cell service “dead zones.” Every two weeks, their parents come to the school to exchange drives filled with completed schoolwork for new ones, uploaded with lesson videos and assignments.Sharon Hunt works 12- to 14-hour days teaching eighth-grade math at the school. In a voice frayed by exhaustion, she described a grueling schedule: teaching online in an empty classroom from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., after which she returns home to spend several more hours compiling flash drive presentations before grading assignments.Most of her students live in rural areas, and half of the students in one of her classes have no internet access. One family has to walk to the nearest crossroad to get cellphone reception. Ms. Hunt said she tries to answer their questions over the phone, but both teacher and students know it’s not the same.“You can tell in their voice that they’re struggling, but once we’ve kind of talked through some things, they sound better,” she said. “That’s all I have to go on until I get their work.”The lack of internet access has reshaped the home lives of some students. Clarissa Breedan, an unemployed cosmetologist, lives with her parents and two children in a double-wide trailer home outside the small town of Roland. This fall, her four nieces have also stayed there during the week, so they can get online for classes, only going home to their parents on weekends. In Baltimore, where a recent study found that nearly 20,000 households with school-aged children lacked broadband internet or computers, the public school system is providing internet connectivity to an estimated 44,000 students, or 55 percent of the district’s total enrollment, officials said. Josie Hunt lives on the outskirts of Roland; the only internet access there is via satellite for $140 per month. But she canceled her subscription in September after a barrage of extra charges incurred from remote classes made the service unaffordable. And a broadband provider said laying a cable to her home would cost $12,000.“I’d rather not ever have internet if I have to pay that much,” said Ms. Hunt, who is disabled and whose husband works odd jobs.Without it, her son Nehemiah, 14, has been forced to rely on flash drives to do his school work, with devastating results. “In school I made all A’s and B’s,” he said. “Now I’m failing.”center_img All the companies gave the same answer: Service is not available in your area.The response is the same across broad stretches of Robeson County, N.C., a swath of small towns and rural places like Orrum dotted among soybean fields and hog farms on the South Carolina border. About 20,000 of the county’s homes, or 43 percent of all households, have no internet connection. – Advertisement – Before the coronavirus, that was mainly an obstacle for students doing homework, and it was an issue that state and federal officials struggled to address. But the pandemic turned the lack of internet connectivity into a nationwide emergency: Suddenly, millions of schoolchildren were cut off from digital learning, unable to maintain virtual “attendance” and marooned socially from their classmates. Some of the girls sleep in reclining chairs because there aren’t enough beds. “We have to do what we have to do,” Ms. Breedan said. – Advertisement – Shekinah and Orlandria Lennon were sitting at their kitchen table this fall, taking online classes, when video of their teachers and fellow students suddenly froze on their laptop screens. The wireless antenna on the roof had stopped working, and it couldn’t be fixed.Desperate for a solution, their mother called five broadband companies, trying to get connections for their home in Orrum, N.C., a rural community of fewer than 100 people with no grocery store or traffic lights.- Advertisement – The Trump administration has done little to expand broadband access for students, both before and during the pandemic, said James P. Steyer, the chief executive of Common Sense Media. “There was no federal strategy, and it was left to the individual states to come up with a patchwork of solutions,” he said.When Congress passed a coronavirus relief package in March, it provided billions of dollars for emergency education needs, but none specifically for closing the digital divide. Despite advocacy from groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Steyer said, Republican leaders in Congress blocked efforts to add such funds.“The tragedy is this is not a Democratic or Republican problem,” Mr. Steyer said. “It is simply not fair that a poor family in a rural area or a low-income urban area does not have the resources to send their kids to school in this pandemic.”Desperate for workarounds, schools across the country have scrambled to distribute mobile hot spots and internet-equipped iPads. Districts everywhere from Wisconsin to Kansas to Alabama have transformed idle school buses into roving Wi-Fi vehicles that park in neighborhoods so students can sit nearby and log in to classes.last_img read more

first_img NBA Finals 2019: Stephen Curry expects DeMarcus Cousins to bounce back from ‘rough’ Game 3 “Mr. Stevens’ behavior last night did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization,” the statement read. “We’re extremely disappointed in his actions and, along with Mr. Stevens, offer our sincere apology to Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors organization for this unfortunate misconduct.”There is no place for such interaction between fans — or anyone — and players at an NBA game.” Related News NBA Finals 2019: Raptors aren’t focused on who is or isn’t playing for Warriors Warriors injury updates: Klay Thompson to play Game 4, but Kevin Durant out The spectator who shoved Kyle Lowry during the Raptors’ 123-109 victory over the Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals is more than just a fan. The man involved in the incident has been identified as Warriors part-owner Mark Stevens, the team confirmed Thursday, while issuing an apology for Stevens’ actions.  NBA spokesman Mike Bass issued a similar statement later in the day, saying Stevens will not be permitted to attend games as the league reviews the incident. “A team representative must be held to the highest possible standard and the conduct of Golden State Warriors investor Mark Stevens last night was beyond unacceptable and has no place in our league,” the statement read. Lowry flew into the seats while chasing after the ball early in the fourth quarter, landing on several courtside spectators. He was trying to regain his balance when Stevens reached over two seats and shoved the Raptors star.Stevens was later escorted out of Oracle Arena, and the Warriors announced he will not attend any of the remaining NBA Finals games. Here’s the fan that gave Kyle Lowry a bit of a push that had Lowry frustrated pic.twitter.com/A41HCGdMAY— Board Man Gets Paid (@cjzero) June 6, 2019Lowry was frustrated after the game, calling for the NBA to permanently ban the spectator.”The fans have a place; we love our fans,” Lowry told ESPN. “But fans like that shouldn’t be allowed to be in there, because it’s not right. I can’t do nothing to protect myself.”But the league does a good job, and hopefully they ban him from all NBA games forever.” Lowry says there is no place at an NBA game for the fan who pushed him on the sideline. pic.twitter.com/dHG9sPKtis— ESPN (@espn) June 6, 2019National Basketball Players’ Association president Michelle Roberts released a statement Thursday afternoon expressing her concern over the incident.“We are closely monitoring both the Warriors’ and the league’s continued investigation into this matter and anxiously await their conclusions and response,” Roberts’ statement read. “The NBPA has previously expressed its support of a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy with respect to verbal and/or physical assaults perpetrated against players. Stevens’ status as a member of the ownership group does not alter that view.”Game 4 of the NBA Finals is set for Friday at 9 p.m. ET (ABC). The Raptors hold a 2-1 lead over the Warriors.last_img read more

first_imgRevenue fell to $394.8 million compared to $462.3 million in 2005. Katzenberg was optimistic about the company’s 2007 and 2008 release slate. The company is releasing the third installment in its “Shrek” franchise in May and “Bee Movie” in the fall. Next year, the company is planning on releasing “Kung Fu Panda,” starring Jack Black, and a sequel to “Madagascar.” “For the first time since going public, we will be executing on the business model that we first envisioned, releasing one original film and one sequel,” Katzenberg said. The company went public in October 2004.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! About half of the sales were driven by the release of “Over the Hedge” into the home video market. However, costs associated with sales – including the write-off – more than doubled at the same time to $219.9 million, offsetting revenue growth. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected a loss of 42 cents per share on revenue of $158.9 million. Speaking during a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg summed up the company’s 2006 performance as mixed. “While both of our overall home video performance and the theatrical success of `Over The Hedge’ were positive this year, our second release, `Flushed Away,’ did not live up to our expectations,” Katzenberg said. For the full year, the company reported net income of $15.1 million, or 15 cents per share, compared with $104.6 million, or $1.01 per share in the same prior-year period. DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. said Tuesday it swung to a loss in the fourth quarter as the film animation studio took a partial write-off due to lackluster box office receipts for its film “Flushed Away.” For the three months ended Dec. 31, the Glendale-based company reported a net loss of $21.3 million, or 20 cents per share. The company posted net income of $63.2 million, or 61 cents per share, in the same quarter in 2005, which included a tax benefit and strong performance from the studio’s “Madagascar” DVD. The fourth-quarter results included a pre-tax charge of $109 million for the film “Flushed Away,” which did not perform well at the box office. The write-off of film costs reduced fourth-quarter earnings by 80 cents per share. Revenue rose to $204.3 million from $172.9 million in the prior-year period. last_img