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More than half of city students make the call: it’s a snow day

More than half of New York City’s public school students didn’t come to school today after Chancellor Cathie Black decided to keep schools open after a snowstorm.

Although most roads were plowed after nine inches of snow fell overnight, the Department of Education’s attendance figures show that only 46 percent of students came to class today. Students in elementary school had the highest turnout — about 50 percent of them showed up — but older students pulled the citywide average down.

Only 47 percent of middle schoolers and 37 percent of high schoolers came to school today. These numbers correspond to what we’ve been hearing anecdotally from teachers, who reported class sizes cut down by two-thirds or more.

“You can’t teach a real class with 30% to 50% of your students, so, what exactly was the point of this?” wrote one teacher in the comments section. Another said:

From my years of experience many students who show up to school on a day like this shut down. When you have a class that is half full or less the remaining students do not have the incentive the work (I disagree but some of it is understandable). There is even a greater possibility of having discipline problems because the students are far less focused.

Another teacher made the case for keeping schools open.

Why is it such a bad thing that the schools be open? For those two-thirds of students who can make it in, some extra studying, more in-depth analysis of a subject, or more personal attention can never be a bad thing.

A spokeswoman for the DOE said attendance figures for teachers will not be available until Friday.

Last winter, former Chancellor Joel Klein decided to close schools twice. First in early February after a snowfall and then again later that month when more than 17 inches of snow blanketed the city. According to the New York Times, the city has closed schools nine times for snow since 1982. The city’s figures are lower.

Attendance Rates:

For Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Citywide               46%

Elementary          50.5%

Middle                    47.5%

High School          37.2%

For Wednesday,  Jan 5.

Citywide              89.7%

Elementary         93.9%

Middle                  92.3%

HS                           80.3%