‘300-400 students’: Despite virtual education’s utter failure, NYC mayoral frontrunner sees massive expansion

A top Democratic candidate for New York City mayor is embracing what many believe is a terrible idea regarding the primary education of the city’s students: Increase the size of classes to hundreds of students per teacher and hold all classes online, as became the norm during last year’s COVID-19 pandemic, which is currently fading.

“By using the new technology of remote learning, you don’t need school children to be in a school building with a number of teachers,” mayoral candidate Eric Adams told talk host Matt Skidmore.

“It’s just the opposite. You could have one great teacher that’s in one of our specialized high schools to teach 300-400 students who are struggling in math with the skillful way that they’re able to teach,” Adams noted further.

In a follow-up Twitter post, Skidmore noted, “It gets worse,” claiming that Adams “wants NYC kids to get only 6-7 hours of sleep per night” while “he speeds through school zones and sends his own kids to schools in New Jersey.”

The subsequent tweet contained screengrabs of several “School Zone Speed Camera Violations” allegedly linked to Adams, a retired NYPD officer and current Borough President of Brooklyn who was briefly a Republican.

Nothing in Adams’s biography mentions having a background in public education, though his campaign page’s “About” section notes he is “a proud product of New York City public schools.”

Users took to social media to rip Adams for his policy suggestion.

“We literally just spent a year proving that ‘new technology’ sucks when it comes to teaching children. How does anyone still think the future is remote schooling? I’m so confused,” conservative writer Karol Markowicz posted.

Experts warned late last year that keeping kids who were not susceptible to contracting or spreading the virus out of in-person learning for months on end was not only harmful to their development but will have enduring repercussions.

“We’re going to almost need a New Deal for an entire generation of kids to give them the opportunity to catch up,” Executive Director of Share Our Strength Billy Shore said in December, adding that as of now, “we don’t even know what we’re going to be dealing with.”

“Recovery from [Hurricane] Katrina wasn’t a one-year recovery. We didn’t just bring the kids back and everything fell into place. And this will be the same,” added Betheny Gross, the associate director for the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington.

“I don’t think we can just start school next fall and say, ‘Everything’s going to be OK,'” Gross told NBC News.

“If we fail to address this, we’re just compounding trauma. We’re compounding loss,” Barbara Duffield, a homeless child advocate via SchoolHouse Connection, also told NBC. “A student who is homeless, who has a disability, who has been traumatized by the racial violence we’ve seen this year, and then to be disconnected from arguably the only universal support system is disastrous.”

Other Twitter users pushed back on Adams’s suggestion as well.

“This is madness. No one can teach hundreds of students. And no student can learn like that. Adams has no idea what he’s talking about here. The teacher’s unions need to respond immediately to this,” former Baltimore Sun investigative reporter Victoria Brownworth wrote.

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Jon Dougherty

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