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Parents Reveal What It Would Take To Get Them Back Into NYC Public Schools

According to Chalkbeat:

Overall, K-12 enrollment has dropped by 9.5% since the pandemic began. Officials are expecting 30,000 fewer K-12 students to be on the rolls this fall compared to last year. 

In this most recent school year, three-quarters of schools saw fewer students, a Chalkbeat analysis previously found. Enrollment of Black and white students dropped by 7.5% each, while it dropped by 5% for Asian American students and 4.5% for Latino students….

In the 2020-21 school year, most grades in the city’s traditional public schools saw enrollment declines, except for eighth, 10th, 11th and 12th, according to the IBO. The most steep drop was in pre-K for 4-year-olds and kindergarten.

Then, last school year, every grade saw fewer students except the city’s free preschool program for 3-year-olds, which more than doubled as seats have expanded. The biggest decreases were in third grade, followed by sixth grade. First and fifth grades were next. In turn, some of the smallest declines were among pre-K for 4-year-olds, kindergarten, and high school grades except for tenth grade.

However, when comparing to pre-COVID, the largest enrollment drops last year were in pre-K for 4-year-olds, followed by second grade, then kindergarten, third grade and first grade. 

New York School Talk asked those families who are still in the city, but have opted out of traditional public schools for their children, what it would take to get them to come back.

Here is what they told us:

MB: My kids aren’t in public school because there is only one building in the district that is physically accessible. It’s not a complicated cultural issue. It’s just not prioritizing the infrastructure that would allow me to even enter the lottery for a school I would want for my kids.

MK: In order for me to begin to think about trusting my daughter in the schools I need to see and hear discussions. Children who have lost family due to covid are not acknowledged and services are not provided to help them deal with this trauma. Families such as mine are also worried about commuting on multiple trains and then having our daughter shuffling from her classroom to shared spaces throughout the school, with cases rising.

NP: My concern is that in many top-rated schools the curriculum is subpar and inadequate, so parents are expected to supplement on their own or by hiring tutors. As a result, test scores are high and the school uses that to prove their curriculum is good. Parents leave because they don’t want to continuously supplement and do the teacher’s job instead of teachers. This is not a criticism of teachers, this is a criticism of the curriculum/system.

LL: We weren’t happy before pandemic in Winter of 2019, due to the Teacher’s College program & lack of phonics instruction in kindergarten. In addition to lack of workbooks, homework, or even tests like a traditional school experience. 

AK: I would love to send my child to public school if I could feel confident they would teach to her more advanced level. I don’t think they will and I am worried she will be bored and not challenged. So maybe I would come back if there were smaller class sizes and if they will allow her to work with more advanced (older) children. 

NS: We are pulling our K and 2nd grader from our wonderful, small, Brooklyn public so as to avoid the middle school lottery. Making admissions a pure lottery is driving tons of families out of public, and we realized we needed to jump now if we are going to get the placement we want (since few privates have significant middle school intake). What would convince us to come back to public? Changes to admissions that respect differentiation and allow for families to choose their school. 

AR: Honestly, I don’t think there’s any way the DOE could get me back in the system, nor do I think that is their job. As citizens, we must make sure that there is good public school funding (which NYC does have). Is the DOE spending that money well?  I don’t see evidence of it. 

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What do you think?

One thought on “Parents Reveal What It Would Take To Get Them Back Into NYC Public Schools

  1. Why do parents leave?
    There is no certainty in admission. The possibility that your child will have to travel on crime ridden subways out of their district. This does not happen in other boroughs or the suburbs.
    The dumbing down of standards and lack of transparency in admission. Lack of trust. Nothing being done to stimulate or assist in helping our brightest students who learn at a more rapid rate.

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