Williams Responds To In-person Learning Data And Deadline Announcements

October 26th, 2020

Press Release

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams released the following statement in response to announcements from Mayor Bill de Blasio that just 280,000 students have attended in-person instruction in the last month, and that parents' one chance to opt-in to hybrid learning will be from November 2-15.

"As the administration rushed to reopen schools, I encouraged parents to keep their children at home if possible - in evaluating the city's in-person efforts so far, we have to look at the number of students reached, and the number of promises abandoned. After all of the last minute changes, all of the risks faced, confusion and stresses stoked, and money wasted, only 280,000 students received in-person education in the last month - just a quarter of the city's public school students and hundreds of thousands less than the administration had touted. At the same time, not enough resources are being put into ensuring high-quality remote learning is accessible for all students, and the city has still not provided remote learning devices to all students who need them.

"Parents are choosing to keep their children home in an expression of a lack of trust in this administration or its ability to manage a re-opening rooted in safety and equity. At the same time, should they choose to re-enroll in hybrid learning, the administration is providing just one opportunity to do so. This puts families in a difficult position of having to make a long-term assessment based on an ever-changing reality, with little information or transparency. The city itself has failed in that regard, and it fails now, again, in providing safe and satisfactory options for students, parents, and school staff who have had to endure an alternating absence and incompetence of leadership."

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