/Mississippi students can’t get laptops because of Chinese human rights violations

Mississippi students can’t get laptops because of Chinese human rights violations

Nonprofit Mississippi News CLEVELAND — The district’s order for virtual learning is being held up by human rights violations against Chinese manufacturing companies. In preparation for virtual learning, the district ordered 2,515 Chromebooks. However, they will not arrive in time to start school due to the backorder created by these human rights violations. According to a U.S. Department of Commerce press statement, 11 Chinese companies were added to the Entity list by the U.S. Department of Commerce on July 20 for using “forced labor” and “abusive DNA collection” to harass Muslim minorities. These companies are prohibited from purchasing U.S. technology or other goods, and the Entity List informally discourages U.S. businesses from doing business with them. In a press release, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ros stated that this action would ensure that U.S. goods and technology are not used in China’s deplorable offensive against Muslim minorities. These Chinese companies were manufacturing parts for U.S. electronic companies like Samsung, which makes Chromebooks. After being contacted by the district’s chromebook vendor, Neil Gong, Cleveland School District technology director, said that he learned about human rights violations and the implications it would have on students. Gong told the school board that nearly all top-tier manufacturers, such as Apple, Samsung, and Dell, use multiple companies and manufacturing facilities overseas. “So they’re scrambling for other manufacturing companies to move that manufacturing at the moment. It will take at least six weeks to get Chromebooks. The Mississippi Association of School Superintendents and the Mississippi Department of Education said that they have not heard of any other districts in the state facing this problem. However, a school district from Alabama is currently in a similar position. The MDE recently approved $165million in bid awards to vendors to supply Chromebooks and Apple devices for children across the state. Cleveland School District will use the existing devices in its classrooms to address the shortage. Gong stated in an email that virtual students will use their own devices. Although enrollment numbers for 2020-2021 have not been finalized yet, the last academic year Cleveland Schools District served 3,352 students. For the fall, the school district offers both traditional and virtual learning. As of August 10, 1,037 students had chosen virtual learning. Parents had to indicate on a form that they have internet access and a computer device in order to opt for virtual learning. Teressa McCarty is the deputy superintendent of operations for the Cleveland School District. She said that the delay won’t prevent the school from starting on September 8. “Our goal is for us to be a one-stop district so that every student can have a Chromebook. They were slowly being obtained. McCarty explained that this delayed us from getting our Chromebooks. This impeded our goal to increase the number of Chromebooks for teacher and student use. McCarty said: “Education is always at the forefront. “The principals and directors have done a remarkable job in planning and have provided over 100 hours training for teachers and other employees.”_x000D