Educators worry this will pose a disadvantage for families who don’t have reliable Internet access.
Tiffani Torres leads the student group Teens Take Charge, which pushes the city education system to communicate more with high school students and correct inaccurate information in paper guides. While the digital application guide is supposed to be “mobile friendly, searchable, and interactive,” Torres is concerned, like the Bronx guidance counselor, that a digital guide and portal will have negative consequences for certain students.
“I went to a middle school in an area where parents don’t really have the time or resources to understand the high school application process so a lot of students totally rely on the books,” Torres said.
Critics argue that lack of information accessibility in this process is part of what makes the city’s school system one of the most segregated in the country.
Schools are combatting this reality by potentially holding more workshops on the new digital materials. Families will also be allowed to use computers and get trainings on the guide at high school fair events over the next several months, an official said. They added that parents can also visit a Family Welcome Center to use the online system or work with school counselors, according to Chalkbeat. But the Bronx counselor says that is not enough support.
“So if a kid can’t go to the library, for example, or if I’m a parent and I work late hours and I can’t come to the school,” the Bronx counselor said, “how do we best support our families who may not have access to this online system?”