A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by these actions and programs. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, people who have been re-assigned from their life and career. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
A federal judge advanced a lawsuit
to expedite the roll-out of WiFi to homeless shelters across the city.
There are more than 114,000
homeless students in New York City.
The class-action suit was filed on
behalf of homeless students across the city who have been unable to access the
internet in homeless shelters during periods of remote learning this
The city provided students with
iPads with unlimited cellular data, but many students have had trouble getting
proper cell service.
A lawsuit aimed at forcing New
York City to provide WiFi for students in homeless shelters is moving forward
to trial. US District Judge Alison Nathan ruled last week that the class-action
suit brought by homeless parents and the Coalition of the Homeless would
proceed to expedited discovery in preparation for a trial."Without
internet connectivity, homeless students are deprived of the means to attend
classes," Nathan wrote in the opinion that accompanied the decision.
"And because homeless children who lack internet access and reside in New
York City shelters cannot attend school for as long as that deprivation exists,
the City bears a duty, under the statute, to furnish them with the means necessary
for them to attend school."Some homeless students are still unable to
access the internet from a shelter for more than nine months since Mayor Bill de
Blasio first announced remote learning on March 15, 2020 at the start of the
coronavirus pandemic lockdown. New York City schools have approximately 114,000
homeless students according to Advocates
for Children report cited by the judge.
The city's original plan was to provide iPads with
unlimited cellular data to students without access to WiFi, first partnering
with T-Mobile. After students weren't able to access T-Mobile service in many
shelters, the city switched to Verizon, but some students continued to be unable
to connect to school.
On October 26, 2020, Mayor de Blasio announced that
the city would install WiFi in all shelters, but officials cautioned this
wouldn't be complete until the summer of 2021.
"It should come as no surprise that the City
lacked any real legal basis to prevent this lawsuit from proceeding," said
Susan Horwitz, supervising attorney of the education law project at the Legal
Aid Society, wrote in a press release.
"Despite months of pushing the City to address
the root cause of the problem, City Hall continues to advance ineffective
solutions while families in shelters suffer. We look forward to seeing all
shelters equipped with working WiFi, far in advance of the city's stated goal
of summer 2021."
City officials said they are working to get
WiFi to students in shelters.
"The Court's decision
indicates that the City has worked hard to provide internet connectivity to the
plaintiffs and is continuing to do so," Nick Paolucci, the spokesperson of
New York City's Law Department, wrote in a statement to Business Insider.
"The City shifted to remote learning in the context of an unprecedented
pandemic and we are working hard to address the needs of all