New York teachers are responding after Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested remote learning could replace classroom instruction after the COVID-19 pandemic.

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On Tuesday during his daily COVID-19 briefing, Cuomo wondered if online learning could replace sitting in a school classroom after COVID-19.

“The old model of everybody goes and sits in a classroom and the teacher is in front of that classroom and teaches that class and you do that all across the city, all across the state, all these buildings, all these physical classrooms,” Cuomo said. “Why? With all the technology you have?”

Cuomo also announced the state is working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a blueprint to reimagine education in the new normal.

"The last few months have been an incredibly stressful time full of change, but we have to learn and grow from this situation and make sure we build our systems back better than they were before," Cuomo said. "One of the areas we can really learn from is education. When we do reopen our schools let's reimagine them for the future, and to do that we are collaborating with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and exploring smart, innovative education alternatives using all the new technology we have at our disposal."

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As New York begins to develop plans to reopen K-12 schools and colleges, the state and the Gates Foundation will consider what education should look like in the future, including:

  • How can we use technology to provide more opportunities to students no matter where they are;
  • How can we provide shared education among schools and colleges using technology;
  • How can technology reduce educational inequality, including English as a new language students;
  • How can we use technology to meet educational needs of students with disabilities;
  • How can we provide educators more tools to use technology;
  • How can technology break down barriers to K-12 and Colleges and Universities to provide greater access to high quality education no matter where the student lives; and
  • Given ongoing socially distancing rules, how can we deploy classroom technology, like immersive cloud virtual classrooms learning, to recreate larger class or lecture hall environments in different locations?

After the governor's briefing New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta released the following statement today regarding the governor’s comments about reimagining education in New York:

“NYSUT believes in the education of the whole child. Remote learning, in any form, will never replace the important personal connection between teachers and their students that is built in the classroom and is a critical part of the teaching and learning process — which is why we’ve seen educators work so hard during this pandemic to maintain those connections through video chats, phone calls and socially distant in-person meetings. If we want to reimagine education, let’s start with addressing the need for social workers, mental health counselors, school nurses, enriching arts courses, advanced courses and smaller class sizes in school districts across the state. Let’s secure the federal funding and new state revenues through taxes on the ultrawealthy that can go toward addressing these needs. And let’s recognize educators as the experts they are by including them in these discussions about improving our public education system for every student," Pallotta said.