New NYC Council bills would require more information on students struggling with remote learning

Michael Elsen-Rooney, New York Daily News

A bill up for vote Thursday in the City Council would require the Education Department to provide more detailed information on students struggling with remote learning.

“We need a much more serious, deeper look into the remote learning experience and its impact and who is falling behind, who needs the most help and supports,” said Council Member Mark Treyger (D–Brooklyn), the author of the bill.

The bill, which cleared the Education Committee Tuesday and will get a vote in the council Thursday, mandates specific data on the number of students who were referred to summer school last Spring, broken down by school district and other categories.

Students are usually referred to summer school when they fail to pass one or more course. City schools officials said in May more than 100,000 students would be required to take a virtual summer class — more than twice the number required to take a makeup course the year before. Some students struggled with new technology, unfamiliar teachers, and dense coursework in the city’s summer school program.

The City Council legislation would also require the Education Department to provide a more detailed breakdown of which students still need tech devices for remote learning, and a closer look at the demographics of students whose families chose remote-only learning, district-by-district.

The bill would require three reports a year while the Education Department is conducting remote learning, with the first due in March.

A related bill from Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, also up for a vote Thursday, would require the DOE to provide monthly reports with detailed attendance data for remote learning.

“Tracking student attendance rates allows us to hold the DOE accountable for ensuring that our students have the ability to access all of their classes remotely,” Williams said.

Education Department spokeswoman Danielle Filson said “since the start of the pandemic, we have been focused on making sure every student has what they need to succeed in remote learning. We support this legislation and have provided City Council with many of these data points since the fall.”