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Saturday, May 22, 2021

NYC Educator: What Do Large Schools Need to Reopen?

NYC Educator: What Do Large Schools Need to Reopen?
What Do Large Schools Need to Reopen?

UFT President Michael Mulgrew has a column in the NY Daily News laying out a program for reopening. Mulgrew correctly points to the safeguards we insisted on as a reason schools were relatively safe this year. He asks that schools reach out to parents and enact a remote option for those who still aren't comfortable. These are all good ideas, and I think they apply to most city schools.

My school, however, is a little different. We routinely operate at somewhere around 240% capacity and the city doesn't give a hoot how uncomfortable or unhealthy that is. One of the first things I did as chapter leader was to get our school in the media, and we've been covered in not only all three major newspapers, but also on TV. We even had Bloomberg and Klein make cheery, misleading statements about us, because what were they gonna do? Fix the problem?

Surprisingly, though, their DOE did take a shot at it. UFT arranged a meeting at Tweed in which our then principal gave up a group of selected students, and for that they agreed to give us smaller incoming cohorts. They also agreed to more carefully screen incoming students, so that they couldn't simply say they lived where they did not. I personally had students who officially lived in Fresh Meadows who could never make it in on time, because their actual journey from the Bronx took them so long. 

Uncharacteristically, the Bloomberg people kept their word. Somehow when de Blasio came in, every aspect of our deal was left swirling the bowl. The selected students came back, and so did the veritable swarms of incoming CONTINUE READING: NYC Educator: What Do Large Schools Need to Reopen?