NEW YORK, NY – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and education and technology advocates today called for reforms to city schools’ technology curriculum and purchasing policies to better prepare them for a tech-driven world, in advance of next week’s statewide vote on Proposal 3, a $2 billion school bond authorization.
“There’s no other way to put it: our public schools are behind in almost all aspects of technology,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The technology gap begins with a lack of adequate internet access, extends to insufficient staff training and curricula, and ultimately the failure to offer students any certification in technology proficiency that can help them advance their education or get a job.”
Brewer called for the DOE to create a comprehensive plan to ensure technology access and instruction in all schools. “Children must engage in computational thinking and coding starting in elementary school, and teachers need the equipment and bandwidth to teach that,” Brewer said. “I’ve called on Chancellor Fariña to establish a Technology Diploma to help high school seniors who wish to pursue Computer Science in college and as a career.”
Borough President Brewer also asked for a review and revision of the City’s capital hardware purchasing policies to reflect real-world technology life cycles. “A five-year requirement for laptops and tablets saddles students, teachers and administrators with outdated hardware and makes up-to-date software almost impossible to operate. If the $2 billion bond issue known as Proposition 3 passes next week, we have an opportunity to get tech-sector spending and curricula aligned with today’s real educational needs—if we start now,” Brewer said.
“The students and teachers in NYC public schools deserve world-class technology, and the curricular support to learn most effectively with technology. These tools are imperative for our city’s civic strength and economic competitiveness,” said Daniel Rabuzzi, Executive Director of MOUSE, a nonprofit with programs in 80 NYC schools. “MOUSE is thrilled to support the Manhattan Borough President’s call for a comprehensive technology in schools plan which includes hardware, connectivity and curriculum/training.”
Liz John, Director of Programs for Computers for Youth-NYC, said, “When combined with high-quality support and training for teachers and families, educational technology can play an important role in empowering students to take ownership of their learning and prepare for their future. Every student deserves access to a 21st century learning environment.”
“NPower is proud to stand on the steps of City Hall today in support of our youth and measures to ensure they have the best possible technology at their fingertips. We know how crucial a technology education can be in changing the lives of young New Yorkers. We’ve seen it happen through our Technology Service Corps program as well as with the New York City public school children we have reached via The Community Corps initiatives,” said Stephanie Cuskley, CEO of NPower.
On October 3, B.P. Brewer wrote Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña proposing creation of a Technology Diploma. (PDF link to letter.)