Scott Stringer, the comptroller of New York City, has sons who are 7 and 8 years old. Over the last three months, like many parents, he’s tried to navigate what schools are optimistically calling “remote learning” while he and his wife both worked from home. It’s been, he told me, “one of the most challenging things I ever had to do in my life.”
So when he hears from parents desperate to understand what’s happening with schools in September, he empathizes. As in many other cities, if New York public schools reopen, students will likely be in the classroom only part-time. But no one knows if that means that students will attend on alternate days, alternate weeks or — Stringer’s preference — in half-day shifts.
“Parents have no more information today about what schools will look like in the fall than they did last March,” he wrote in a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City schools chancellor, Richard Carranza, last week.
Yet the nightmarish withdrawal of the key social support underlying modern parenthood is being presented as a fait accompli, rather than a worst-case scenario that government is mobilizing to prevent. “This school system should be leading the country on figuring out how to bring our kids back,” said Stringer. “And there’s no creativity. There’s no energy behind it.”