As the clock ticks down on Mayor Bill de Blasio, his Department of Education is falling apart.
The DOE won’t share attendance data, but it’s resorting to robocalls to thousands of public school parents in a pathetic bid to get missing kids back to school. The 40-second message features Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter insisting schools are “safe and supportive environments” and “the classroom is a better place for your child this year.”
Hmm. DOE reps told the City Council last week that attendance is normal. Then why the calls? And why sit on the numbers, which have to go to the state by Oct. 31? Late last week, the agency claimed that citywide daily attendance is at 88 percent — which in fact is down from the pre-COVID levels.
Meanwhile, Porter and her staff have wasted time on moves to shut down Gifted & Talented programs that both major mayoral candidates say they’ll keep. And the DOE is failing every kid who’s trying to figure out which high schools to apply to for next fall: It’s failed to hold the traditional fairs and to issue the guidebooks for the city’s 400-plus high schools and 700 specialty programs. Eighth-graders and their families are stuck clicking through a cumbersome online portal that requires searches for each school’s site.
In the name of equity, the DOE has also eliminated geographic-based high-school admissions and tamped down academic screening. Parents are left clueless on what makes sense for their kids.
And Porter & Co. only just announced dates for the exam that governs admission to Stuyvesant and the other top high schools — in early December, weeks after the usual time. The de Blasio DOE hates the whole system; it’s plainly bent on making it as messy and confusing as possible.
Which will likely drive more families out of the system. One parent, Vito LaBella, told The Post, “We’re [also] taking the Catholic high-school tests. We just need to keep all options open.” It’s a safe bet he speaks for hundreds, even thousands, of others.
At this point, the DOE should be running on autopilot, leaving it to the next mayor and chancellor to make any changes. But de Blasio’s team seems focused on covering up its failures while causing as much destruction as possible on their way out the door.
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