Democratic mayoral candidate Maya Wiley unveiled her education agenda on Thursday, saying her plan to improve the city's public school system will address communities where increases in gun violence have resulted in the death and injury of young New Yorkers.
"The idea that we think the solution is more police rather than thinking about why the guns are being shot in the first place means we are refusing to pay attention to what solves the problem," Wiley said.
Wiley and education advocate NeQuan McLean went on a walking tour of Bedford-Stuyvesant Thursday, stopping at local schools and locations where young people have recently been shot at or killed.
McLean, who has lost both a nephew and his brother to gun violence, said he's supporting Wiley's plan because it includes trauma-informed learning, mental health services in schools and more resources so students stay off the street.
''Gun violence has plagued our community,” McLean said. "The way we educate our Black boys, the way we educate our students, it all ties, and if we are going to act like it doesn't tie then we are fooling ourselves.”
Wiley's plan is a multi-pronged approach that starts with trauma informed learning and mental health services for students. She also wants to spend $100 million to hire more teachers and create smaller classrooms. The plan also calls for universal broadband and curriculums to reflect the city's diversity.
"If you provide trauma-informed care in schools, particularly starting in communities that have had high rates of trauma from gun violence, you bring violence down and you bring graduation rates up," Wiley said.
The release of Wiley's education agenda comes as the United Federation of Teachers is weighing their endorsement. She was one of four candidates invited to a forum with members last week.