Frustrated city families are fed up with the chronic delays in critical school admissions guidance for next year.
After repeated pledges to reveal City Hall’s plans for the complex application process, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that the information will now be revealed by the end of this month.
“We had some additional challenges in the last few weeks that we had to focus on with the coronavirus, but this month we’ll announce all the admissions approaches,” Hizzoner said at his daily briefing Wednesday.
But Deborah Alexander, president of Community Education Council 30, rejected City Hall’s defense for the delays — and said it was presenting “permanent residence behind the eight ball” as an excuse.
She argued that the DOE has had nine months to fashion an admissions plan and that already dazed families have been left to wander in a fog for too long.
“The DOE held community meetings in May and said we’d have an answer over the summer,” she said. “Two seasons and a string of excuses later and we are still in the dark. As not only a parent, but a taxpayer, I’d like to know what the DOE — that has a dedicated admissions and enrollment department — has done for nine months on the issue.”
Sources said the department will take a small first step in preparing parents for the process this week by providing login codes to the agency’s admissions website.
But no additional details have been made available beyond that and registrations have yet to open.
With complaints mounting, Hizzoner was quizzed back on Nov. 2 about the ongoing lack of admissions guidance — including deadlines, entry criteria and applications processes — and said answers were imminent.
“Don’t have a specific date, but we will speak to that in the next week or two, we’re going to have updates for people on how we’re going to handle that going forward,” he said at the time.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza gave a similar timetable at a meeting on Oct. 29.
De Blasio said Wednesday that he empathized with compounding parental stress while highlighting the unprecedented challenges posed by the coronavirus this year.
“I’ve been through it myself in non-pandemic times and I have to say to all parents I understand the admissions process is filled with anxiety and concern — even when there isn’t a pandemic,” he said Wednesday. “Of course, people are feeling so much. We have to get it right given that we’re dealing with entirely different realities.”
School admissions are likely to be thoroughly revamped for next year after the coronavirus crisis erased most conventional metrics — including state test scores, attendance, and conventional letter grading.
“We’ll announce the plans this month, we’ll get to work, everyone will be able to ultimately know their admissions decisions for their kids in time,” de Blasio said Wednesday. “We want to get it done quickly. I do hear the concerns of parents, we’ll have the plan out this month.”