Eric Adams, Curtis Sliwa and their visions for New York schools

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Is extending the school day or year the mayor’s next response to improve the education of nearly a million New York City students?

Democratic candidate Eric Adams and Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa say they think kids should spend more time in class.

While Mayor Bill de Blasio had a clear signing education plan – a preschool for all 4-year-olds in town, a successful program he is now expanding to 3-year-olds – none of the candidates on the ballot November 2 vote did campaign on a big education idea. But both candidates seem confident that one way to help students who missed school during the pandemic is to have them stay longer or during the summer months.

Applicants have other visions that could potentially take the country’s largest school system in a different direction, and they want to expand gifted and talented programs as well as strengthen vocational and technical education.

During their debate last week, Adams said he believes the school day or year should be long. Sliwa said he would like to see a school year stretch from Labor Day to the end of July.

Research shows some advantages over time. Students in underperforming Florida schools saw their reading scores increase after the school day was extended, and another study found that sending struggling eighth graders to school summer reduced their likelihood of dropping out of high school. But extending the day or the year is an expensive proposition that would surely generate a backlash from families, who might want their children to have a summer vacation or a job, as well as teachers, especially since many have been depleted in the past two years.

Ultimately, whoever gets elected as the next mayor and whoever he designates as chancellor of schools will have influence at some point, as the needs of the students are enormous after a loss of teaching hours while Billions of federal stimulus dollars are flowing to schools to try and meet these needs.

Adams, a former police officer and current Brooklyn Borough president, said he would “reintroduce” professional and technical programming.

“We need to reintroduce CTE programming. These technical skills that can enable certificates so that people can have paid employment, we have to do that, ”Adams recently said on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show.

Other educational priorities that Adams spoke of included: “bringing back the joy of learning” by providing teachers with more resources; shifting the focus of education from Kindergarten to Grade 12 to include “pregnancy to work”; and focusing on supports such as screening for dyslexia.

“Thirty percent of the prison population in this country, according to one report, is dyslexic; 55% of Rikers Island inmates have learning disabilities, ”Adams told WNYC. “We are preparing our children for failure by not giving children and families the support they need. “

Sliwa, radio personality and founder of the Guardian Angels, is a big supporter of cutting the education department’s budget and expanding choices for families by advocating for the creation of more charter schools as well. than private and religious schools.

“I want more education, not less education. More parish school education, charter school education, vocational training not only in public schools but in charter schools, and religious schools and private schools, ”Sliwa recently said on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show. . “Give these young men and women marketable skills like my cousins ​​had, who were on the verge of making the triple life without parole in Attica under the influence of Italian organized crime. They became carpenters, electricians, plumbers. They ended up being small entrepreneurs, employing others, paying social charges. “

Here is the candidate’s position on other education issues:

Gifted and talented

De Blasio recently said he plans to transform the city’s gifted and talented curriculum, getting rid of the controversial test for 4-year-olds, implementing “accelerated learning” for all students from kindergarten to preschool. Year 2, and then screening all new Grade 3 students for subject-specific crash courses.

Sliwa said in the first debate that he would expand the gifted program to all schools, even if only two or three children are eligible in some schools. Adams wants to not only provide more accelerated learning opportunities, but also for students who “learn differently” and may have learning difficulties.

Adams said he might rethink the gifted test.

“I don’t think a 4-year-old who takes the exam should determine the rest of their school experience,” he said during last week’s debate. “This is unacceptable.”

Vaccines for students

De Blasio has so far said he is opposed to a vaccination mandate for New York City public school students, believing that such a directive could be a barrier to staying in school.

Sliwa is also opposed to such a mandate for similar reasons.

“Are we going to kick them out?” Are we going to kick them out? What kind of compassion and care is this? he said during this week’s final debate.

Adams, on the other hand, supports a vaccine mandate. He also said he was “open” to a remote option for families of unvaccinated children.

School safety

De Blasio has vowed he will transfer the city’s roughly 5,000-strong school safety officer force from the NYPD to the Education Department by June – when he is removed from his post. The role of uniformed but unarmed school security officers has been the subject of debate for years, with some civil rights activists claiming officers criminalize low-level bad behavior, disproportionately among black and Latino students. .

Adams and Sliwa prefer to keep the school security guards under police control.

“We need to have school safety officers who are trained, well paid and excellent at conflict resolution,” Adams said at a recent WPIX11 Mayors Forum.

He also said he wanted students to have a say in their schools’ overall safety plan and would create a “public safety stakeholder committee” made up of parents, students and children. educators to get feedback on things like metal detectors.

Adams also believes the city could harness new technology that could help identify guns without scanning and without having to “dehumanize children.”

Sliwa wants to keep school security guards under NYPD surveillance and would keep metal detectors in school buildings.


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