Many parents have slid back into a more typical daily routine as their kids returned to school in-person.
Some like Jazzmin Miles of the Bronx said it’s a welcome change after a chaotic and challenging year of kids learning from home.
Miles, a mother of three, is grateful to again be picking up her children at the end of the day and helping them with their homework.
The scene was very different last school year, when Miles said poor internet service at home made virtual school for her kids impossible. Miles said each of her children missed more than 30 days of school.
She said she repeatedly asked the school for help, but was reported by the school to the Administration for Children’s Services
“I just felt like everything was against me when it comes to the world,” Miles said. “I didn’t have no support, nothing like that, I felt like there was nothing out there to help me or my kids.”
Miles connected with The Children’s Village, where Corey Reynolds, a social worker with the nonprofit, said he began helping the family after Miles was referred from ACS.
“We talked about how we can reach the guidance counselor, we sat down and we mapped out what we needed for her children,” Reynolds said.
The city Department of Education and ACS would not comment on the specifics of the case, but ACS maintains it made clear to the DOE that a lack of internet access was not a reason to report educational neglect.
ACS does not track the number of reports filed over a lack of internet access, but said state figures show a drop in educational neglect reports over the past few years. In 2019, there were 226 reports of educational neglect made between Sept. 1 and Oct. 14. In 2020, that number was 99 during the same time period. This year, there were 69 reports.
ACS also says it’s been working closely with the DOE to make sure reports are filed only when appropriate.
Eventually, Miles said she decided to transfer schools a few week after the academic year began because the laptops her children received were out of date and did not support the program needed for online learning. The new school sent her kids home with new laptops.
“I never even thought that we would need Wi-Fi in order for my kids to start school or go to school,” Miles said. “Now they feel like they’re not locked out of the world; they feel like there’s people out there to really help them.”