Teachers and students struggled with New York City’s new remote learning system on its launch day, with some schools barely able to locate kids and others struggling to get students and teachers logged in.
“It’s a s—show,” said a Bronx middle school teacher who cordoned off a section of her living room to conduct Google Classroom courses with her students. “A lot of them didn’t have devices to begin with, a lot never logged on if they had them, and the others are just constantly asking questions about how to use everything. It can only get better from here.”
One Brooklyn teacher said that she was juggling her own kids’ remote schooling while trying desperately to cyber-herd her own students, who were often trying to do their classwork somewhere other than their own home while their parents work.
Many, she added, were staying with grandparents who don’t have WiFi or another internet connection, forcing them to complete their work later in the day.
“Like a lot of things, kids with the resources and available parents are going to fare a hell of a lot better than those who don’t,” she told The Post.
Another teacher with kids said her home was turned into miniature schoolhouses with several classes taking place at once.
“I’m on the kitchen table with my class and each of my daughters are in their rooms doing their remote learning,” she added. “This is one top of my partner making calls and doing what he has to do for work on the couch. It’s tight.”
Tensions were building before Monday’s rocky rollout between some teachers and principals over remote learning expectations.
That growing friction prompted teachers union boss Michael Mulgrew to write an email Sunday urging teachers to resist micromanaging administrators.
“The union is working with the Department of Education to get it to rein in principals who want to micromanage their staff,” Mulgrew said in the message to members. “That kind of attitude is wrongheaded.”
But, the principals’ union head, Mark Cannizzaro, blamed “conflicting” DOE guidelines in a statement to The Post.
The DOE is not centrally tracking attendance and is relying on principals and individual schools to keep tallies.
Other parents and teachers told The Post they had better luck, reporting that the setup is not ideal but that they are managing with high attendance and engagement.
“Honestly I think the same teachers who have orderly classrooms in their buildings are going to be the same ones who make the best of this situation,” said an Upper East Side mom. “I have friends who have two kids in the same school. One’s remote learning has been incredible and the other’s in a mess. It really depends.”
Kids have also done their part to keep their routines intact.
Success Academy first-grader Leslie Rodriguez, of Harlem, set up a pair of dolls in school uniforms to fill in for her suddenly distant classmates Monday during a remote reading session.
The DOE has acknowledged that the system is going to be a heavy lift for many city schools and said the first week will be especially difficult.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza reiterated that defense and urged patience at a City Hall press conference Monday, where he promised the DOE was hustling to get computers or other equipment for public school families that lack them.
“We are literally flying the plane as we are building the plane,” he said. “What I saw today was nothing short of incredible.”
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