The report released this week on the city's yeshivas seemed alarming. Just two of the 28 yeshivas city officials visited met state educational standards. But on Friday, Mayor de Blasio said a lot of progress is being made, while also issuing a warning.

"All but five are going to get where they need to get. There are five that I think if they don’t make serious progress soon, they’re going to be in real danger of financial sanctions or worse," said de Blasio.

Separately, independent city watchdogs this week said the de Blasio administration had engaged in political horse-trading, agreeing to delay an earlier, interim report on the status of its investigation... part of a deal to extend mayoral control of city schools. But as de Blasio pointed out, there was no evidence politics had played a role in the investigation itself.

"The specific issues they looked at had no bearing on the outcome here that I'm talking with you about, which is what will actually reach children. And the report made very clear there was no wrongdoing," said de Blasio.

In fact the report used different language, saying only that no laws or regulations were violated. It did largely pinned blame for the investigation's slow pace on the yeshivas' own resistance and on state regulations.

"If I could have given the order day one: whatever you're doing you must do this tomorrow, I would have done that. It’s not how it works. And the real control is by the state and we have to work with their ground rules," said de Blasio.