Teachers, principals and others who want to invest in the next generation of classrooms are scrambling to find an alternative source of funding.
Many school districts will not be able to cover the cost of the next computer or smartphone, while other districts may have to shell out cash to purchase them, according to reports.
School districts in the two New York metropolitan areas of Brooklyn and Manhattan are grappling with whether to pay for technology that can stream video from tablets or smartphones to classrooms.
The technology could help boost student achievement, but some educators worry that they will make classrooms more crowded, as students will be forced to share desks with more students.
Some districts in Brooklyn and New York City, including Brooklyn’s largest school district the New School, are struggling to keep up with the cost.
The New School has a goal to have 100 percent of its students attending school by 2020.
A recent study by the New York Times estimated that it would cost $3 billion to upgrade classrooms across the city.
Teachers and principals who want the technology say they can’t afford it, so they are resorting to selling their computers or smartphones at a discount, and they’re even looking at buying some used phones to sell to their students.
Teacher Michelle Schott says the devices have been a boon for her students.
“My students can access video with no need for the computer,” she said.
“It is like an iPad for my students.”
She says her students have enjoyed watching videos, and she has noticed a difference in their reading and math scores.
Schott says that she’s heard from a few students who are happy to buy the devices and have no plans to buy a new laptop.
But others say that they want to give up their old computer or smartphones.
The devices have not been available for purchase for years.
But in 2016, the New Schools Board of Trustees approved $1.5 million for upgrades to all school buildings, including classrooms.
Schools in the region have already begun installing the new technology.
“We’re going to make sure that all of our students have the latest technology,” said District 5 Superintendent Michael Cazaletta.
“The technology will be available to them, and the technology will help them.”
Cazalett says the upgrades will be rolled out over several years.
Teaching assistants at the Brooklyn school district say they have seen a change in students who use the tablets.
“They’re taking their laptops with them to school, and that’s not something I’ve seen,” said one assistant, who asked not to be identified because she was not authorized to speak to the media.
“I can tell you that they’re learning, and their academic progress has been amazing.”
But not everyone is happy about the new device.
“This is not the kind of technology that should be used in classrooms,” said Brooklyn resident David F. Gee.
“Teachers, principals, and principals in the city of New York are going to be paying for this.
It’s a massive burden for schools.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was “not interested” in selling or leasing his personal property to fund the new devices.
“I am committed to making sure that we have the best schools in the country, and this technology will not impact that,” he said.
De Blasio, who has called for teachers to be compensated for the cost, has also said that he would like to see a tax on the sale of the new gadgets.
But some educators say that a sales tax is not necessary because the new technologies have already been used in New Orleans schools.
“The technology is here already, it’s not going to impact that, so it’s a moot point,” said student-activist Mika Czerkiewicz.
“All we need is for the sales tax to be raised to fund a new program.”