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New Yorkers Call For Transparency As Mayor De Blasio Refuses To Share School Attendance Records

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's been a month since some New York City students went back to schools, and now parents and some politicians are calling for more transparency.

The mayor is being accused of withholding vital information about the students in schools and those who are not.

Repeatedly asked for public school attendance numbers, Mayor Bill de Blasio again argued they fluctuate so wildly he needs even more time, continuing to deny New Yorkers the big picture of city schoolchildren who are absent, not learning and slipping through the cracks.

Schools: The New Normal

The mayor on Thursday admitted many parents don't like either choice in his administration's plan: full-time remote learning, or the blending of remote with some classroom time.

"You have that phenomenon we did not anticipate which is parents who are still in a blended status. Some days, they're having their kids go to school, some days, they're not," de Blasio said.

"This is an indictment of the mayor's hybrid model plan," City Councilman Mark Treyger said.

Treyger chairs the education committee and is a former high school teacher.

He says one large high school in Brooklyn has only 6% of students showing up.

RELATED STORY: City Council Holds Virtual Hearing On School Health, Safety; Data Shows Lower Attendance, Engagement Among Black And Hispanic Students

He also rejects as way too low the estimate that 77,000 school kids lack devices and/or internet access.

"The number is far greater," Treyger said.

"What do you think the number is, ballpark?" CBS2's Dave Carlin asked.

"I believe that we have over 100,000 kids without devices, that we have thousands more sharing," Treyger said.

A Department of Education spokesperson told CBS2 increased staffing plus 100,000 devices will be "delivered soon."

Approximately 54% of students are in remote learning with 46% blended.

RELATED STORY: Mayor De Blasio Claims City Cannot Afford $900 Million Owed To Teachers, Citing Fiscal Crisis Caused By Pandemic

CBS2 spoke to parent John Pastor, of Middle Village, who calls it a mess.

"Kids who are online learning are getting short-changed," he said.

Middle Village resident Barbara Farion, with two daughters in middle school, says they do not enjoy the blended approach.

"They have five days in a month in school, just five days a month," she said. "Different teacher on remote learning and different in person ... It's not like supposed to be."

RELATED STORY: Child Psychologist Tells Parents Not To Be Too Involved With Kids During Remote Classes, Says Helicopter Parenting May Cause More Problems

The Department of Education says teachers are not required, nor are they forbidden from teaching both live and in-person at the same time, but the teachers' union is against it.

CBS2 will demand answers of the mayor to show us attendance numbers and reveal the staffing shortage in our schools.


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