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DOE Faces Backlash for Not Releasing School Enrollment and Attendance Numbers

First-grade students at P.S. 377 in Ozone Park (Ed Reed /Mayoral Photography Office)

Oct. 8, 2021 By Allie Griffin

The New York City Department of Education is facing backlash for not releasing public school enrollment and attendance numbers for the school year thus far.

City Council members along with the head of the city’s powerful teachers union criticized the DOE for what they say is a lack of transparency at a council education committee hearing Wednesday.

United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew said he believes the city has the data but has not released the numbers because the DOE is hiding the high levels of students missing class.

He estimated that as many as 180,000 public school children have been out of school this year, according to the New York Post.

“They know how many kids didn’t show up… They are hiding this,” Mulgrew said.

Chair of the Council’s Education Committee Mark Treyger also questioned DOE officials as to why they have not released any raw attendance numbers.

“It is unfathomable to me — and insulting to this committee and to the public — that they will not share the attendance data and information,” he said, according to the Post.

The DOE has posted daily attendance records by the percentage of students in class, but it has not provided the number of students attending class versus the number missing class.

Treyger said the lack of information is creating distrust of the system among parents.

“This should be basic. This should not be controversial,” he said. “The fact that we don’t share how many kids are enrolled in our school system right now is unacceptable to me and, quite frankly, further erodes trust with the public.”

A DOE spokesperson directed a reporter to the attendance percentages when asked to provide the attendance numbers. The spokesperson added that the enrollment numbers will be released at a later date.

The Post reported that the DOE said the figures won’t be finalized until the end of the month.

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