FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND FLORIDA GOVERNOR BUSH ANNOUNCE JOINT EFFORT TO LOBBY CONGRESS FOR REAUTHORIZATION OF NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
Mayor and Governor Advocate for Common Sense Changes to Federal No Child Left Behind Law to Increase Accountability, Raise Standards, Recognize Progress and Attract and Retain High Quality Teachers
Lessons Learned in Florida School System Show Importance of Accountability and Parent Engagement in Closing the Achievement Gap
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today joined Florida Governor Jeb Bush to announce that they will lobby Congress together for common sense changes and reauthorization of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. In August, Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Bush outlined four areas of the law that needed improvement in order to ensure America's schools raise standards, increase student performance across the board, and close the achievement gap. The Mayor and Governor will take this message to Washington, DC to lobby for reauthorization of the law, which expires at the end of 2007. Mayor Bloomberg made today's announcement after a "listening and learning" tour of Miramar Elementary School in Broward County, Florida. Under Governor Bush's "A+" accountability system, Miramar Elementary - a historically underperforming school - made dramatic gains in student achievement. Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Bush were joined by New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education John Winn, Chairman of the State Board of Education Phil Handy, and Miramar Elementary Principal Philip Bullock for today's announcement.
"Under Governor Bush's leadership, Florida has become a pace-setter in education reform," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Florida's experience proves that accountability is critical to making meaningful progress in student achievement. If you set high standards, empower school leaders and hold them accountable, you will make significant gains in student performance and begin to narrow the intolerable achievement gap. This is the spirit embodied in No Child Left Behind. Governor Bush and I will work together to persuade Congress to make a good law even better, so that we truly leave no child behind."
"Florida and New York City have embraced principled education reform by setting high standards and accountability for students, measuring and publicly reporting how students are performing and providing rewards and consequences for results," said Governor Bush. "I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Bloomberg as we advocate for reform regarding the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act."
"Florida's reforms serve as a road map for school districts nationwide," said Chancellor Klein. "If we are to turn around our schools, particularly those that educate poor and minority children, we must move from a culture of excuse to a culture of accountability, with empowered leaders holding themselves, teachers, and students to high expectations and high standards."
In October, Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Bush addressed more than 400 members and guests of the Association for a Better New York regarding improvements to America's public schools and NCLB. Both praised the accountability measures in the law, but advocated for enhancements that would ensure student achievement is more effectively and practically promoted across the nation.
Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Bush proposed to strengthen and improve the No Child Left Behind law in four principal ways:
New York City Education Reforms
Four years after gaining mayoral control over the New York City school system, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein have implemented successful education reform initiatives, increasing accountability in the City's schools and expanding the authority of principals. This comprehensive approach has been built on three inter-related principles - leadership, empowerment, and accountability.
Leadership: An organization needs great leaders at all levels to be successful. Principals are at the center of the City's school reforms. To enhance leadership, the DOE has:
Empowerment: As the City has held schools accountable, it has given them increased decision-making power and control over their own resources. This year, 332 schools opted to become "Empowerment Schools." In return for signing performance agreements, principals at these schools receive:
Accountability: Last Spring, New York City launched a comprehensive accountability initiative that holds all schools responsible for progress, performance, and quality. The initiative includes:
From the 2001-2002 school year to the 2004-2005 school year, the gap in Grade 4 Math scores between white students and their Black and Hispanic peers has decreased by 16 and 14 percentage points, respectively. Grade 4 English scores have shown similar improvement, with the gap between white students and their African American and Latino peers decreasing by five and seven percentage points, respectively. In addition, New York City schools last year had the highest on-time graduation rate in nearly 20 years - 58.2% of the class of 2005 graduated on time. This is the highest graduation rate since the City began tracking in 1986. In 2006, at 15 of the City's new small high schools - a Bloomberg Administration innovation - 73% of students graduated on-time.
Under the Bloomberg Administration, violent crime in schools has decreased. In the 2005-2006 school year, major crimes were down 9% in City schools and total violence was down 12%.
In addition, the City is moving forward with its sweeping five year, $13 billion DOE Capital Construction Plan which will reshape the physical plant of the New York City public schools. In November, Mayor Bloomberg and Bear, Stearns & Co. completed the sale and transfer of $650 million in New York State-financed school bonds, the first state-funded installment towards the DOE Capital Plan. The proceeds of the bond sale will be used to pay for the construction of 66,000 classroom seats and the renovation of school facilities. Combined with the seats created from 2003 to 2005, the Administration will provide nearly 106,000 classroom seats across the City, alleviating pockets of overcrowding and reducing class size.
Stu Loeser/Virginia Lam (212) 788-2958
David Cantor (Department of Education)
Kristy Campbell (Governor Bush) (850) 488-5394
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