NYC Parents, Remote-Learning

NYC Parents Outraged by DOE’s Summer Remote-Learning Simulation

New York City parents are not happy with the Department of Education (DOE) after being asked to log on alongside their children for a remote-learning simulation during summer break.

New York City parents are not happy with the Department of Education (DOE) after being asked to log on alongside their children for a remote learning simulation during summer break. The move is set to help the system better prepare for this form of learning following a technical meltdown on a snow day in February 2024.

Families are being asked to voluntarily log into their school systems on June 6 for a non-instructional activity during a pre-scheduled time slot. Administrators warn that the more people who participate, “the more accurate and useful” the data from the event will be. According to the New York Post, given the new expectations, parents are even more enraged about the winter incident.

“I didn’t even know about this. But I won’t be participating,” said Manhattan parent Alison Devlin.

“I don’t think my son will participate because he’s wrapping up his senior year, and we don’t have time for this nonsense,” said another mother from the same New York community. Starita Boyce Ansari, a parent of a Manhattan high schooler, added, “Instead of remote learning, invest in remote tutoring. Schools in public-housing zip codes have far less support than those in townhouse zip codes.”

Faculty members have also voiced their concerns about the remote-learning activity.

“I think this decision is completely asinine and indicative of how this broken bureaucracy tries to function,” said Adam Bergstein, an English teacher at Forest Hills High School in Queens. “To assume students will be getting up and logging on a computer for no pedagogical reason is not only a waste of time but highly unproductive for all parties involved.”

Another teacher from a Brooklyn middle school who wished to remain anonymous said that the DOE’s decision to change the date previously set aside for professional development into one to test out remote learning is “misguided and a useless waste of resources.”

“The DOE is sending its instructional staff the message that they do not value the professional development they have on offer and would rather have us test a system that will have little to no impact on the remainder of the school year and will have to be retested in September anyway,” the source said.

They added, “That, or they feel it is not in their best interest to spend time helping their already overburdened instructional staff develop best practices to reflect the evolving landscape of education, particularly in areas of instructional technology.”

The remote-learning simulation results from the aforementioned February incident, when school Chancellor David Banks assured city public school families that their system was prepared to go virtual during a snow day. Instead, when thousands attempted to log into the system, they were met with glitches and error messages.

At the time of the incident, Banks blamed IBM, citing that the firm responsible for handling authentication for the virtual platforms was “not ready for prime time.”

Banks also urges families to participate in the virtual remote training session to ensure that they are better equipped to go remote in the future.

“In a world where extreme weather conditions are more commonplace, it is essential that our school system is prepared to pivot to virtual learning and that our students don’t lose critical instructional hours,” said Banks in a statement. “We are encouraging every family to participate in this test to help us ensure that our families are ready to go remote if and when the time comes.”