NYC Pays Big Money for Bad Tech

MO' MONEY, MO' PROBLEMS: The NYC Department of Education has been ordered to pay $41 million to educators as part of a court settlement to compensate teachers who, due to tech issues, were asked to work beyond their mandated 6 hour and 20 minute workday. Problems began as the district rolled out a new system--the "Special Education Student Information System" or SESIS for short--to help schools transition to a paperless method to keep track of special education documents. But the plan quickly came under fire as educators complained that they were unable to use the system due to slow Internet connections, glitchy software, lack of computers and poor training. In order to complete reporting requirements, teachers worked extra hours at home. The union filed grievances and the case ultimately went to arbitration.

As NYC pays anywhere from $800 to $50,000 per teacher, EdWeek explores the implications and liability issues that this case raises for districts looking to make big purchasing decisions. On the one hand, it may be a warning sign for districts to be more cautious in rolling out new technology. But it could also motivate them to better collaborate and consult teachers along the way.

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