Eric Adams calls out UFT to help NYC recruit talent to comply with class size law

Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday urged the powerful teachers’ union Tuesday to step up and help boost recruitment so that New York City can comply with the new state-enforced class size mandate.

Hizzoner called out the United Federation of Teachers a day after his Schools Chancellor, David Banks, insisted the Big Apple will need to triple its rate of hiring teachers just to meet the class-size law requirements.

“We need help from UFT because we have a teacher shortage issue,” Adams said during a City Hall briefing when asked about the mandate.

Mayor Eric Adams argued Tuesday the UFT needs to step up and help New York City boost recruitment among educators in order to comply with the new state-enforced class size mandate. AP
Mayor Eric Adams argued Tuesday the UFT needs to step up and help New York City boost recruitment among educators in order to comply with the new state-enforced class size mandate. AP

“We want the UFT to help us, everyday leaders to help us, on how are we going to attract people in. We have to attract more teachers into the system.”

While the Big Apple can manage to reduce classrooms sizes to comply with the law over the next two years, the mayor said the city still needs help to attract teachers.

“We are not looking to modify anything. The law is the law,” Adams said. “We want to partner with the UFT and department in the recruitment of these teachers.”

The city would need to boost recruitment by roughly 8,000 teachers in order to comply with the mandate, a DOE spokesperson told The Post, noting that approximately 4,000 teachers are hired in a given year to keep staffing levels flat.

The price tag of hiring that many teachers would set the city back between $1.2 to $1.8 billion annually, the DOE rep added.

Banks has repeatedly begged Albany for additional cash to help fund the costly mandate — arguing it will put a burden on the already strapped school budget.

“We’re in the middle of a national teacher shortage and we basically have to triple the amount of teachers that we are hiring in order to meet this law,” Banks said Monday as he testified before the City Council’s Education Committee budget hearing.

While New York City can manage to reduce classrooms to comply with the law over the next two years, Mayor Adams said the Big Apple still needs help with recruiting. Getty Images
While New York City can manage to reduce classrooms to comply with the law over the next two years, Mayor Adams said the Big Apple still needs help with recruiting. Getty Images

The DOE bigwig, who has previously warned some school programs could be axed in the coming years because of the mandate, added the city needed about $20 billion for capital improvements to create the additional space for classes.

The law, signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul in 2022, places a 20-student max cap on kindergarten through third-grade classes; 23 for fourth through eighth grade and 25 for those in high school.

To meet the requirements of the law, the city must ensure that 20% of classes meet the caps by the 2023-2024 school year and continuously increase the percentage to meet 100% by 2027-2028.

Asked about Hizzoner’s comments, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement: “Glad to hear it. We are always looking for partners to help bring talented new teachers into New York City public schools. Our students deserve it.”

Still, the City Council’s education committee chair Rita Joseph pushed back on the mayor’s calls for the UFT to play ball, saying it was the DOE’s responsibility to build a pipeline to hire more teachers.

Adams called out the union a day after his DOE Schools Chancellor David Banks (pictured) insisted NYC would need to triple its rate of hiring teachers just to meet the class-size law requirements. William Farrington
Adams called out the union a day after his DOE Schools Chancellor David Banks (pictured) insisted NYC would need to triple its rate of hiring teachers just to meet the class-size law requirements. William Farrington

“There’s always a shortage, I’ve told them many times they need to create a pipeline in order to hire educators,” Joseph said at a City Hall press conference on Tuesday.

Adams’ calls for greater union assistance to attract more teachers comes amid an ongoing riff with the powerful UFT over his gaining an extension of mayoral control over city public schools from Albany.

It also comes after the Adams administration struck a cushy, five-year labor union contract with the UFT last year that gave teachers a 20% pay hike.

Additional reporting by Vaughn Golden