New York City is the largest school district in the country. While everyone understands that Covid-19 has unleashed havoc on the city and the schools, it is less clear why schools were so unprepared to switch into an emergency learning model. At a recent press conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that “something like this will happen again,” then noting, “We had to close the schools. Well, why weren’t we ready with a tele-education system?”

Elsewhere, I have argued that the city really has to appoint a digital learning czar, preferably as a deputy chancellor or similar leadership level to ensure that she or he has the decision-making power, authority, and funding needed to both handle the current crisis while also laying the groundwork for the future. Based on what I’m observing, these are the first clear steps a new deputy chancellor of digital learning should take:

“...define and disseminate the most effective digital learning models for schools and homes; lead a multi-agency task force to ensure digital equity right now, including family device distribution and free broadband programs; set up an instructional helpline where parents and teachers can get pedagogical support, not just technical; and, finally, quickly assess how iLearnNYC and WeTeachNYC can be better leveraged to support schools’ current efforts.

For the whole argument, check out my op-ed over at the New York Daily News.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what the city is doing well and what could be improved. Please use the COMMENTS area to tell me what you think.