As new school year looms, poll finds parents deeply divided on many issues

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A new survey of city parents revealed deep divisions on several schooling controversies ahead of the new academic year.

Organized by the pro-accelerated learning advocacy group PLACE-NYC, the poll of more than 5,000 city families found divides on issues ranging from mandatory masking and vaccinations to the availability of remote learning.

PLACE, which backs Gifted and Talented programs and the specialized high school admissions exam, found that 52 percent of parents were in favor of in-person schooling this year — while 37 percent preferred an all-remote format.

Another 11 percent backed a hybrid mix of classroom and home learning.

Among those who supported a full return to classrooms, 56 supported mandatory vaccinations for teachers and staff while 53 percent supported compulsory mask use in schools.

The poll found that 52 percent of parents were in favor of in-person schooling this year.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

PLACE said their results varied sharply by geographic area, with south Brooklyn and north Queens — which both includes several high-performing districts — showing a greater preference for remote learning.

A majority of Staten Island parents backed in-person learning with optional masking while Bronx respondents supported a masking requirement by a two to one margin, the group said.

Only 18 percent of respondents supported the vaccine requirement for kids and personnel involved with high school sports.

The survey asked parents who were thinking of leaving the public school system about their motivations.

Truman High School
Just 18 percent of respondents supported the vaccine requirement for kids involved with high school sports.
Gabriella Bass

According to the results, 30 percent cited a preference for remote learning, 29 percent cited their skepticism about the DOE’s ability to handle the Delta variant surge, and 25 percent said they wanted to wait for a vaccine for kids 12 years old and under.

Of those who said they are not returning to DOE buildings, 75 percent said they are planning to homeschool, 17 percent are tapping private or religious schools, and another 8 percent are leaving the city outright.

The group said that only 26 percent were confident that the school year would start on time in light of the Delta variant and other complications.

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