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High School Classes Continue. High School Buildings Open.

March 21, 2021 pm31 10:52 pm

Tomorrow is the day. High schools finally …..

Reopen? Bullshit.

High schools have been open since September. Even then, the bulk of our teaching was via zoom and other remote platforms. Tomorrow, the bulk of our teaching will be via zoom and other remote platforms.

In fact today more students will be fully remote than back in September.

Because they chose to be remote.

Something ridiculously high in high schools – what, 70%? More?

In fact high schools are reporting additional families switched to remote instruction since the de Blasio/Porter announcement.

So what’s happening?  

Tomorrow all high school buildings are opening, and some minimal version of “blended learning” will engage 10-20% of high school students. Over 90% of classes will remain on-line.

All buildings will open. With 15% of students. With less than 10% of classes. de Blasio will be talking about buildings, not students or classes.

Tomorrow de Blasio is making a great show out of opening the buildings. That’s all. It is a show. Instruction will continue for most students and most teachers on line. It is a political show. He wants to say he has opened schools. It is a political boast. He likes saying “New York City was the only large school district to reopen for in-person learning in September.” Actually, that last one is Mulgrew. Also a political boast. But whichever of these two is boasting obscures the fact that despite open buildings, despite some “in-person learning” New York City has been a largely remote-instruction city for schools, and an overwhelmingly remote-instruction city for high schools for these last seven months.

Both the DoE and UFT know that tomorrow’s change will have little practical direct impact on instruction. The Department of Education was most brazen. They know this is show. Read this from them:

  • Taking into consideration the complexity of high school scheduling, schools can come up with creative and flexible programming solutions to have students in buildings as much as possible, including having students engage in remote learning while reporting to school buildings in-person.

Do you see that last phrase? “including having students engage in remote learning while reporting to school buildings in-person” Do you know what that means? The DoE wants the kid, instead of sitting at her desk in her apartment, opening her laptop and joining her classes, to sit at a desk in school, open her laptop and join her classes.

The UFT’s email to high school members 2 weeks ago, signed by Mulgrew, Janella Hinds, and Sterling Roberson, discusses testing and vaccination, and safety protocols, but nothing about instruction, or work rules related to in-person instruction. That is not an oversight. You can open this and zoom to read it:

There have been some questions since, but most I have heard were about whether teachers who teach on-line need to come to the building? (may depend on whether they teach in-person as well?)

Why should we care?

We should care because de Blasio is perpetuating a fraud. And we know. And remaining silent would be remaining complicit.

We should care because every high school administrator should have just had their actual work, which might be related to kids’ wellbeing and kids’ learning, disrupted for two weeks, to make this little show work.

We should care because even with safety protocols in place, the additional risk to staff and students is not worth having kids in a classroom, headphones on, joining classes on their laptops.

We should care because people are getting sick in NYC every day. Instead of our numbers going down, they are going up. This is a bad time to throw a few thousand more into public transport.

Mercifully, the number will not be very large – but those who end up getting sick will get little comfort from that.

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