Mayoral candidate Eric Adams continued to mingle with his opponents on Sunday’s campaign, avoiding the latest round of attacks on his views on remote learning and class sizes in the city’s schools.
Adams, who led recent polls in the Democratic primary, was criticized after a video from months ago reappeared, which showed him saying that a teacher could, in some circumstances, lead a remote class of 300 to 400 students.
On Sunday, he said he spoke badly and intended to say 30 to 40 students. He also said he was referring to summer classes and optional enrichment for high school students.
“It’s silly,” Adams said after a campaign event in Jamaica, Queens. “This is just the season we’re in.”
Adams, the president of the Brooklyn neighborhood and a former police officer, has been a favorite target of his opponents since he leapt to the top of the polls. The controversy over class size arose after enemies attacked him over questions about his residence after a POLITICAL history document discrepancies in records.
Early voting in primary started this weekend.
Adams called for a mandatory school year throughout the year., saying remote learning can allow education to continue through the summer, with fewer teachers teaching large classes online for a few hours a day.
“If you do a full-year school year using new remote learning technology, you don’t need the kids to be in a school with multiple teachers. It’s just the opposite,” said Adams in a Citizens Budget Committee forum in February. “You could have a great teacher in one of our specialized high schools to teach three to 400 students who are struggling in math, with the skillful way they are able to teach.”
The comment came to attention after a clip of Adams’ comments was posted online by Andrew Yang supporter, YouTube presenter Matt Skidmore.
Attorney Maya Wiley held a press conference on Sunday to go after Adams on the issue and ask for smaller classes.
“Eric Adams, what did we not understand before Covid about our digital divide? Have we talked about this for decades? ” she said at the event in Jackson Heights. “We weren’t providing enough services or diagnosing our kids with learning disabilities, and online learning doesn’t work for them. What have we not learned about class size? ”
“Did online learning work for you? Did it work with your kids? Was it a good thing? Is it a model? No,” said Wiley. “Who are you talking to? Who are you talking to? What research were you looking at? Because I don’t understand. I don’t understand as a mother struggling with my own children with online learning. I don’t understand as a member of the community, listening to the that my neighbors were passing by, talking to people about what they were up against. And I certainly don’t understand as a civil rights lawyer and policy expert.”
Wiley, who works with a more liberal education platform compared to the more moderate Adams, got the endorsement of Queens city council member Danny Dromm, a former teacher.
“I can’t believe Maya’s opponent, Mr. Eric Adams, really thinks you can virtually teach three or 400 students in a class,’” Dromm said. “Has he ever been in a New York public school classroom? This is impossible.”
Adams says he overcame his own learning disability, which he only discovered when he was a student at a community college, relegated to tutoring.
“I have a learning disability. And I know the contact a child needs,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“I struggled to end distance learning and put children back in schools. I believe that. We need this human contact. And that was an opt-in program that we talked about and that we still maintain,” he said. “We’re going to use remote learning as an optional tool, but that’s not our main source of education.”
Adams had previously said that his year-round school year would be mandatory.
He criticized Wiley, who during a debate last week he refused to answer whether NYPD officers should stop carrying guns. She later said she supports keeping armed police.
“I was really surprised that any chief executive would stop with the thought that you would take guns off the cops when we’re seeing such a huge increase in gun violence,” he said. “We shouldn’t take guns off the police on patrol, we should take illegal weapons off the streets.”
Adams spoke at two Queens churches on Sunday and stood with Jamaica Muslim Center leaders to denounce a hate attack who killed a Muslim family in Canada.
He said his dream of becoming mayor is now within his grasp. “It’s the last nine days of a 24-year journey,” he said.