Parents in New York are “concerned” by the US Department of Energy’s silence on the migrant plan as the school year approaches

In three weeks, public school students in New York City are returning to classrooms, but with few details about the plan for some 18,000 immigrant students and a bus strike looming, parents are panicking.

Where does Big Apple Schools Chancellor David Banks stand ahead of the first day of school on September 7th?

According to multiple sources, NYC’s top educator and his fiancée Sheena Wright, the city’s First Deputy Mayor, are currently vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard.

“Everybody needs a break, I get that, but … but he’s the leader of our school system,” Yiatin Chiu, a parent representative from Brooklyn, told The Post.

“We are only a few weeks away from the start of the school year. As the symbolic leader of our school system, I would like to hear that he is just as concerned as parents are about what is going to happen in our schools.”

The Education Department’s split comes at a time City Hall sources have warned that the Big Apple is preparing for a huge new wave of asylum-seeking students – leading parents to worry about what, if any, plans , are in place to help schools cope.

Parents from New York City have told the Post they are "alarmed" about the city's Ministry of Education's scant details about the plan to place migrant children in city schools.
New York parents have told the Post they are “concerned” about the city’s Department of Education’s tenuous details about its plan to place immigrant children in city schools.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Chiu, whose daughter attends a middle school in south Brooklyn, said parents have been met with radio silence over the expected influx of new migrant children.

“Parents are alarmed,” she said.

“It is truly irresponsible when city authorities fail to prepare principals or principals. It wouldn’t surprise me if they want to keep the parents in the dark.”

She added: “School management needs to know what to do!”

School Chancellor David Banks is currently on vacation on Martha's Vineyard before the start of the school year.
School Chancellor David Banks is currently on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard before the start of the school year.
Paul Martinka

Craig Slutzkin, a finance officer and member of the District 2 Community Education Council, said he hadn’t been given any “specific plans” either, but he expects work to be done behind the scenes.

“I would hope that the DOE would actually make them and specifically focus on appropriate staff being deployed in the appropriate schools, for example bilingual teachers, where large numbers of asylum-seeking children are expected,” said Slutzkin, whose son used the PS340 in on West 17th Street.

“I’m a little concerned that we haven’t heard much from the Department of Energy on this topic, but that’s something they’ll probably want to find out before consulting.”

Another concerned Manhattan parent spokesman, who asked not to be named, expressed outrage that the Department of Energy’s failure to provide the details, including whether schools in close proximity to migrant shelters will employ more teachers who are fluent in Spanish, would be equal to a “five” – ​​alarm fire.”

“I panicked myself and we need answers with concrete steps and who will be held accountable,” he said.

The father said the parents had written to Banks for answers, but claimed they “haven’t been approached and answered yet.”

“It will be an interesting first week of school for schools that have not yet had to deal with the refugee crisis,” warned the father.

According to the mayor's office, there were 18,000 immigrant students in the city's public school system as of July.
According to the mayor’s office, there were 18,000 immigrant students in the city’s public school system as of July.
Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

City officials confirmed Wednesday that Energy Department officials were on site at various shelters across the five boroughs to help enroll thousands of migrant children in public schools.

The number of migrant children enrolled in the city’s schools topped 18,000 in July, Fabien Levy, the deputy mayor for communications, said during a briefing on the asylum-seeker crisis on Wednesday.

Ted Long, a senior official with the city’s public hospital system, added that health workers also vaccinated 30,000 children in shelters ahead of the new school year.

Adding to the migrant crisis, Banks warned at a parent advisory meeting last week that a possible school bus drivers’ strike could also affect up to 150,000 of the city’s students as the school year begins and negotiations with the Amalgamated Transit Union are ongoing.

If that happens, the city has detailed contingency plans in place — including providing students with MetroCards and a “reimbursement for use of alternative transportation,” which could include “free rides.”

“With so many emergencies and school starting in a few weeks, this is the worst time for a vacation,” said a source from City Hall, referring to both the migrant crisis and a possible bus drivers’ strike.

Banks, who sources said was willing not to attend in person at an education policy panel meeting Wednesday night while he was on vacation, did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment.

The Department of Energy and City Hall also did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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