NYC Tech Shortcomings Prompt Big Payout for Educators
A $41 million-and-counting settlement being paid to educators in New York City public schools could have big implications for school districts across the country struggling to provide adequate technology and Internet bandwidth for their employees.
In April, the New York City department of education began paying back wages to more than 30,000 teachers, school psychologists, social workers, and others after an arbitrator agreed with the United Federation of Teachers that many of its members had been improperly forced to work beyond their contractually mandated workday when implementation of a new student-information system was plagued by slow Internet connections, glitchy software, a lack of computers, and poor training and technical assistance. Initially, the legal decision went largely unnoticed outside of New York City, but experts have recently seized upon its potential significance.
"This is the first time I am aware of a public school system being held accountable, in a legal manner and with real dollars attached, for the quality of its broadband infrastructure, software implementation, and training," said Douglas A. Levin, the executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association, or SETDA, based in Glen Burnie, Md. "Schools and districts are now on the hook for following through on their promises...
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