Remote learning for students via city schools has been hit-or-miss. That cannot continue in the upcoming school year; students have lost enough learning time already.
When the pandemic hit, schools were unprepared to switch to remote learning. Many students lacked the technical equipment and online access necessary to engage. In response, the city stepped up to provide the needed technology to hundreds of thousands of students. But much more needs to be done.
Start with the stunning recent revelation, for example, that the Department of Education can’t say how many students have been receiving online instruction or for how long. That’s unacceptable.
The school system and its leaders, especially Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza, have an obligation to be prepared for whatever form of learning will take place next year. By September, they must have in place a working remote-learning platform that allows for real-time instruction, attendance collection and remote participation.
The city needs to get clarity that teachers will be willing to engage in actual interactive lessons. It should not come to this, but if the teachers union pushes back, DOE should furlough any teachers who are incapable or unwilling to teach online.
Students, too, must be nudged to participate in remote learning. In addition to taking attendance, school brass must make clear that traditional grades will be assigned, whether students are learning in schools or remotely. The excuses must end.
Ray Domanico is a senior fellow and director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute. He is the author of the recent report, “NYC Student Achievement: What State and National Test Scores Reveal.”
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