City educators are scrambling to find what some officers worry are 150,000 or extra youngsters who haven’t but set foot at school — and others who don’t present up on a given day.
“Reach out to every absent student every day,” the Department of Education instructed principals final week in a memo obtained by The Post.
Schools have been instructed to observe up each day with every lacking child till they nail down the motive why she or he has not proven up — whether or not for sooner or later or by no means.
“Outreach to families may include phone calls, text messages, postcards, and where possible, home visits,” the memo says.
In one other pressing missive, principals instructed staffers that every one schools with greater than 20 % of students absent will get weekly visits from DOE higher-ups — a dreaded incidence. “We cannot continue in this direction,” one administrator warned.
“No one wants a visit from central when we’re understaffed and missing most of our paras (classroom aides who serve kids with special needs],” a instructor mentioned, referring to a personnel crunch since the vaccine mandate took impact Oct. 4.
“I think they’re getting a lot of pressure to make things look normal when we aren’t being given the tools and staffing we need to be normal for the students.”
The directives went out a day after the City Council’s schooling committee held an oversight listening to to get solutions on COVID-19 testing in schools, quarantines and scholar attendance.
Brooklyn Councilman Mark Treyger, the schooling committee chairman, mentioned he had heard from contacts that some 150,000 students “have not come into a building” since lessons began Sept. 13.
“Does that sound right?” Treyger requested LaShawn Robinson, the DOE’s deputy chancellor for School Climate and Wellness.
Robinson referred to as that determine “unofficially, far from accurate,” however she didn’t give a greater quantity. “We’re focused on every student, every day.” she mentioned. Treyger, who has urged the DOE to provide households a distant instruction choice, additionally hit a brick wall when asking First Deputy Chancellor Donald Conyers what number of students are attending metropolis schools.
“I don’t have that number to give you,” replied Conyers, the DOE’s second-in-command to Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter, who didn’t testify.
In the identical listening to, Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, mentioned he believes as many as 180,000 metropolis youngsters could not have come to college in any respect, and referred to as for better efforts to attain them.
Blasting the DOE’s lack of transparency, he charged, “They have an attendance figure for every day. They know how many kids didn’t show up. They are hiding this.”
Anxiety over COVID-19 is not less than partly to blame for students skipping college, a Brooklyn instructor instructed The Post. “Parents keep kids home a lot on unofficial quarantine like when cousins are exposed at other schools. They don’t care about the DOE’s quarantine rules.”
After the listening to, the DOE once more refused to disclose the uncooked quantity of students at the moment enrolled in its 1,600 schools.
The metropolis reported a complete 955,490 youngsters in Pre-Okay by way of highschool in the fall of 2020. That was down from 1,002,201 the 12 months earlier than, a loss of 46,711 students, in accordance to the Independent Budget Office.
But enrollment could have slipped additional throughout the turbulent 2020-21 college 12 months, when two-thirds of students have been instructed remotely and in-person attendance was low.
Officials ought to give the info they know as a substitute of “vague and offhand dismissals of public concern,” mentioned David Bloomfield, a Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad Center schooling professor.
“The DOE’s refusal to provide accurate enrollment and attendance figures is not only frustrating, but adds to public distrust.”
DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer promised the company will cough up some solutions quickly.
“We’ll be providing preliminary enrollment data after rolls close at the end of the month,” he mentioned Friday. “We’ve never done that before, but we are committing to getting it done.”
Officials mentioned DOE rosters at the begin of each college 12 months embody students who’ve moved or enrolled in several schools — which should be confirmed earlier than they’re discharged.