USA

DOE hides abysmal attendance numbers amid NYC schools reopening: critics

The city Department of Education is hiding abysmal attendance in many schools on its website by omitting the numbers of students showing up, critics say.

Mayor de Blasio admitted last week that only 283,000 students — about a quarter of the one  million enrolled — have set foot in classes “at least once” since schools reopened. De Blasio had earlier claimed about 500,000 were coming in.

But DOE spokesmen refused to say how many students have shown up more than once or on a regular basis, raising doubts about de Blasio’s ability to deliver the classroom instruction he promised.

“Concealing the attendance data is a tacit admission that the administration has been unable to provide in-school instruction in a way that has garnered the confidence of families in NYC,” said Eric Nadelstern, a deputy chancellor of teaching and learning under ex-Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

The DOE, with a current budget of $34 billion in taxpayer funds, “has a legal and moral obligation to provide data as basic as whether the kids are coming to school,” he said.

The DOE did not reveal any attendance data for the first month after schools reopened.

Last week, under pressure from The Post and other media, the DOE started posting daily attendance rates at each of 1,600 schools — but only percentages, not actual numbers.

The DOE claimed citywide average daily attendance up to 88 percent. Its website also listed widely varying rates of students attending classes in-person and online at each of 1,606 schools.

The  DOE would not explain why it omitted the numbers.

In addition, the website listed as many as 421 city schools –a quarter of the system —  without any attendance data. 

Some teachers say the tallies at their schools have hit rock-bottom.

At Forest Hills HS, which has 3,800 students, only 42 or so students showed up on Wednesday —  roughly a third of those expected to attend, staffers said.

“It feels like ghost building,” social studies teacher Jordan Pincus told The Post.

Social Studies teacher Jordan Pincus at Forest Hills High School.
Social Studies teacher Jordan Pincus at Forest Hills High School.Helayne Seidman

Only a few students sat in some classrooms — all with windows open for ventilation– while dozens of other classrooms stood empty. All the teens logged onto laptops to take classes led online by teachers at home or elsewhere in the building.

“Not a single student is getting instruction from their teacher live and in person,” Pincus said. “Nobody.”

The students stay in the same rooms all day, with lunch brought to them. They eat during online classes.

Pincus teaches social studies remotely four days a week. Once a week, he simply stands watch over kids taking classes online.

“I’m at home when I’m teaching. The only time I’m in school is when I’m not teaching,” Pincus said.

Pincus does not take attendance of students in the rooms. An aide comes around with a class roster to do so.

On Friday,  the DOE website listed 94 percent of Forest Hills students attending remotely, and 25.8 percent of kids scheduled to attend in-person showing up.

A Brooklyn high-school teacher said he rounds up students taking various courses remotely, and puts them in one room.

“It’s the one I’m babysitting,” the teacher said. “The kids call it ‘study hall.’”

Staffers call homes to ask why other kids did not show up. “There are so many absent students it gets scary,” he said.

The DOE’s lax grading policy will further mask the no-shows. While kids are encouraged to participate in remote or blended learning each day, “attendance will not be a factor in student grades,” says the 2020-21 policy unveiled last week.

An NX, or “course in progress,” will replace a failing grade, the policy states.

Mayor de Blasio agreed more students are no-shows, but said they are logging onto classes from elsewhere.

“We have kids who . . . participate more remotely on the days that they are supposed to be in school,” he told WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer Friday.

“We have school seats that are sitting (empty) during the day,” the mayor added. “That’s creating a dysfunction we have to address because we can’t have a seat going to waste. There’s plenty of kids who would like to be in those seats.”

In a sudden about-face, the  DOE announced it will give families only one more chance to switch from fully remote to blended learning classes, with sign-ups due Nov. 2-15. That cut-off outraged many parents who had planned to make that decision after January.

Football news:

Griezmann about his childhood: I tried to get into 10 clubs in France, but no one gave me a chance
Austin Matthew McConaughey (co-owner) is preparing for MLS: all season tickets have been sold, although there are only 2 players in the team, and the stadium (for $240 million) is still under construction
Lineker on Liverpool: Huge praise for Klopp's spectacular performance despite injuries
Griezmann on the match with Argentina at the 2018 world Cup: Offered Deschamps 4-4-2 and personal custody of Messi. He listened
Ex-inter defender Maicon may move to Sona from Serie D
IFAB about playing with your hand: Not every touch of the ball is a violation. The final decision rests with the referee
Griezmann on leaving Atletico: I needed a change. The decision was very difficult