In North Carolina, 23,550 students, 5.24 percent of the state's high school population, dropped out in 2006-07 according to the News and Observer, the biggest number in seven years and a 6 percent increase from 2005-06. Short-term suspensions rose 2.1 percent in over the prior school year and long-term suspensions were up 2.7 percent. High school dropout and delinquency are known precursors to crime and poverty.
North Carolina’s educators are confronted with a broad range of educational challenges. Some students excel while many fail for a variety of reasons including dysfunctional homes, abuse, gangs, and crime. Teachers often do double work as they prepare different lesson plans for students with and without the benefits of a home computer. Yet, drop-out rates continue to increase. Over the four year period, some student groups experience drop out rates as high as 50% (while prison construction plans make headlines!).
Millions of tax dollars and innumerable wasted lives are involved in this complex societal conundrum. Access to computers have been shown to reduce the dropout rate, but their cost has been prohibitive for far too many. The Purple Elephant Computer Factory offers an affordable alternative, the $100 refurbished desktop. Will a computer in every home provide incentive, an alternative to the gang activity that now appears so attractive to our youth? Will an investment of $100 keep a kid in school (and out of prison)? We, the people of North Carolina, desperately need to find out.
“America’s killing fields today are not just in Afghanistan or Iraq. Our children and grand children are killing each other in Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham, Fuquay Varina, and Lizard Lick -- over the color of their shirts! Can an alternative to gangs be as simple as owning a home computer?”
David O. Hinton, Captain, US Public Health Service (Retired)
Founder, The Purple Elephant Computer Factory