Bushwick Daily Op-Ed: Covid-19 Has Disrupted Students’ Education, but We Cannot Drop the Ball Further by Tai Abrams
New York City’s students and educators are going through unprecedented times. In the course of only one week, 1.1 million public school students had to switch to a completely remote learning environment. Add in the unique challenges many underprivileged families face with lack of access to the Internet and technology, and we know many of our most vulnerable students are at risk of falling even further behind.
But, amidst all of the hardship and challenges, we cannot take our eye off the prize for the sake of our students’ futures. As the founder of AdmissionSquad, a non-profit education organization that specializes in getting high-achieving middle schoolers into top NYC high schools, top colleges and exposed to leading careers, I’m worried about the anxiety my students are feeling.
Fortunately, there is a bipartisan effort underway currently in the City Council to pursue action on stemming these long-term effects. I’m supporting legislation in the City Council that would require universal test prep for every kid. Council Members Ben Kallos and Robert Cornegy alongside Public Advocate Jumaane Williams introduced a bill that would finally mandate the DOE come up with a plan to make sure every public-school student has access to the tutoring they need for success. The bill also calls to remove other barriers, such as the longstanding practice of holding the SHSAT on the weekends, which privileges kids whose parents can transport them to the site. By providing the test on a weekday and mandating kids take it unless they opt-out, all students will have the opportunity. Now is the time to start thinking about how to bring systemic change that will increase access for all students through this crisis and beyond.