New York City Says It Can’t Afford Teachers’ Back Pay

New York City can’t afford to pay a lump sum due its teachers because of the new coronavirus, city officials said Thursday, reflecting a fiscal crisis that has already led to budget cuts and service reductions.

The city teachers union, which puts the amount due this month at $900 million, called Thursday for immediate arbitration.

First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan sent the union a letter saying the budget impact of the pandemic was “debilitating and not yet fully known,” and the city couldn’t afford to pay a lump sum due to active and retired teachers scheduled for this month under a 2014 agreement.

“It is the City’s desire to avoid the necessity for layoffs, and to make a retroactive payment at this time would therefore be fiscally irresponsible,” Mr. Fuleihan’s letter said.

The dispute comes during a hectic and tense back-to-school season. In August, the union threatened to strike if

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Online learning cannot just be for those who can afford its technology

A university student conducts open-air classes in a slum for underprivileged students

A university student teaches an open-air class for secondary-school students in Delhi. As schools move to teaching online, many students are left out because they lack access to laptops and broadband.Credit: Amarjeet Kumar Singh/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Every day, hundreds of millions of students, teachers and support staff, are participating in a learning revolution: the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the centuries-old tradition that students travelled to a physical institution to learn. Now, in many places, school and university classrooms are on laptops and smartphone screens, and the Internet has replaced physical books.

It’s been an extraordinary — and extraordinarily fast — transition, affecting everyone from the youngest children entering school right up to young adults in universities. Researchers are starting to study its full impact and its implications — for students, for staff and for the organizations that create and supply educational-technology platforms.

Tertiary education has been venturing into online education

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