NEW YORK (WABC) -- Election Day to determine New York City's next mayor is less than two weeks away, and the state of public education remains one of the most critical and controversial issues in the race.
Two decades ago, after Rudy Giuliani's run as mayor, high school graduation rates were just 50%. Now they're close to 80%, but the schools, many critics say, are still way below their potential.
Both candidates, Democrat Eric Adams and Republican Curtis Sliwa, visited schools Friday.
Adams unloaded on city schools, calling that his number one priority.
He plans to shake up a lot of long-time contracts that he says are not producing results in our schools.
"How do we have the same people doing the same delivery of educational services, getting the same results, and we have not said it's time for you to go," he said.
Adams also continued to insist his rival should not be taken seriously.
"Curtis Sliwa faked crimes," he said. "He faked crimes. He faked a kidnapping. He faked robberies. How do we even take him seriously? So trust me when I say Curtis Sliwa is the least of my concerns."
Sliwa, meanwhile, was in the Bronx thanking school safety officers after five guns were recovered in two days at city schools.
"If a school is not safe for teachers, administrators, workers, custodians and, most importantly, children to come to, then were going backwards, not forwards," he said.
Sliwa also claimed in the waning days of this campaign that he's starting to really irritate Adams.
"I am under his skin, I am all over his skin," he said. "I will whip him again in the debate on Tuesday night."
Adams insisted he isn't worried or bothered.
"Curtis is not significant in this race," he said. "He's a clown. And New York City is not his circus."
This is now crunch time in the campaign, as early voting starts Saturday. The final debate is Tuesday night on our WABC, and election day is just over a week away on November 2.
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