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  April 18, 2004

Join New York’s Brightest
By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Everyone knows New York’s Finest, Bravest, Strongest, and Boldest – they are the men and women who serve us so well in the Police, Fire, Sanitation and Correction Departments. Now, to attract the very best to become New York City public school teachers, we’ve launched a new ad campaign with the slogan: “Join New York’s Brightest. Teach NYC.”

Teachers are the lifeblood of our school system. No profession touches as many young hearts and minds. Here in New York City, the challenges that teachers face are great, but the rewards are even greater. There’s no better place to make a difference, and there’s no better time than now. After years of bureaucracy and neglect, we’re transforming the school system so every student has a chance to succeed. That’s why we need the Brightest leading our classrooms.

Finding them, however, is a tough task. Each year, we must hire a small army of teachers to replace those who retire and leave the system. We must ensure that these new recruits are well qualified to teach the grades and subjects to which they’re assigned – and lately we’ve had good success. During the current school year, the Department of Education has hired a record number of new teachers: 9,480 through January. Even more impressive is the fact that 96.5% of these teachers are state certified.

Compare that to the school year that began in 2001 – when only about half of the approximately 7,500 public school teachers the city hired were certified. While our record is good, we’re going to make it even better. The launch of “Join New York’s Brightest: Teach NYC” takes us one step closer to the goal of giving every New York student the education they deserve.

Want another reason the Brightest will love teaching here? They’ll be smack dab in the middle of the best classroom in the world – with our unparalleled diversity, our fascinating history, and our remarkable cultural vitality. Think of the field trips! Our theaters, museums, concert halls and galleries are already the best in the world – and, if this week is any indication, they’ll keep getting better.

On Monday, we announced a campaign to transform the Lincoln Center campus and turn West 65th Street into the “Street of the Arts.” And on Saturday, the doors opened to the newly redesigned Brooklyn Museum – home of the 2nd largest fine arts collection in the country! Not a bad week. Many other institutions are in the middle of exciting change: MoMA… the Brooklyn Children’s Museum… the New Museum of Contemporary Art – and the list of projects goes on. So does the list of the world’s greatest architects working on them – all of whom have been drawn to the creativity and vitality of New York.

It’s not surprising. Whether in culture or education - in finance or fashion - New York has a unique opportunity to attract the best and the brightest. And that is exactly what we are going to do.