FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND CHANCELLOR KLEIN ANNOUNCE FIRST-EVER CITYWIDE K-8 SCIENCE CURRICULUM AT BROOKLYN TECH - WHERE MORE AFRICAN AMERICANS PASSED COLLEGE BIOLOGY LAST YEAR THAN ANY HIGH SCHOOL IN AMERICA
Brooklyn Tech Led Nation in Number of African-American Students Scoring Three or Higher on 2006 Advanced Placement Biology Exams
Department of Education Will Spend $60M in Next Two Years to be Invested in Books, Supplies, and Support for Science Core Curriculum
New Science Assessments in Grades 3-8 will be Included on Schools’ Progress Reports to Tell Parents How Well Their Individual School is Teaching Science
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced that the New York City Department of Education will invest $30 million in classroom materials and support for schools to implement the City’s first-ever core science curriculum starting in the 2007-2008 school year for grades 3, 4, and 6. An additional $30 million is earmarked the following year for grades K-2, 5, 7, and 8. The new citywide science curriculum, which builds on the Mayor’s plan for $444 million in new science labs and equipment, will be accompanied by rigorous new standards that will help schools assess the success of their students in mastering scientific concepts and inform parents how well individual schools teach science. The Mayor and Chancellor made this announcement at Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene, which had the largest number of African-American students earning passing marks in College-level Biology of any school in the United States, as measured by 2006 Advanced Placement scores.
“The young scientists at Brooklyn Tech are pointing the way forward, and we want to ensure that students across the city have the opportunity to follow their lead and excel in the sciences,” said Mayor Bloomberg. The 21st century economy will be driven by scientific advances, and it’s never too early to start learning some of the basic tools. This major new investment in science education will help prepare students not only for high school courses such as biology and chemistry, but also for exciting and successful careers in science – and I have no doubt that some of the students at Brooklyn Tech are already on their way. I congratulate each of them on their outstanding accomplishment, as well as for the national recognition they have received. I am proud of their success and of the example they have set for their fellow students.”
“These students’ commitment to excellence and success is a great model for all of us,” said Chancellor Klein. “I am deeply proud of their work. I also want to recognize their teachers, the principal, and their families for their roles in helping these students and others reach their potential and succeed at the highest academic level.”
“Although our 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress science scores show that New York City students outperformed comparable cities, we have a long way to go,” said Andres Alonso, Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning. “By investing in a citywide science curriculum with aligned assessments, we are making good on our commitment to improve student outcomes in science. We saw historic gains in Math and English Language Arts test scores following the implementation of core curricula in these subjects, and now it is time to focus on science.”
Following on the Chancellor’s promise last fall to improve science education, the new citywide science curriculum will be implemented in grades 3, 4, and 6 in the 2007-2008 school year. This spring, principals may begin ordering new textbooks and supplies to support the curriculum, with materials available in both English and Spanish. New materials will also be available to help teachers design new lessons, and additional classroom time will be devoted to science instruction. In the 2008-2009 school year, the curriculum and its supporting materials will be extended to all other primary grades (K-2, 5, 7, and 8). Schools may follow the curriculum using textbook or experiment-focused courses, or a combination of the two; the choice will be theirs.
To ensure that students are meeting standards and mastering the material, to track and evaluate student progress, and to let parents know how well their schools are doing teaching science, schools will now conduct periodic and annual assessments in science subjects. Next year, 3rd and 6th graders will take these citywide science tests, which will complement the statewide tests given in grades 4 and 8. The following year, 5th and 7th graders will also take a citywide science test. (Students in grades 4 and 8 will continue taking the state assessment and there will be no additional city test for them.) Test results will be included on each school’s annual progress report, and schools will be held accountable for their performance – both by parents and administrators.
Last year, 22 African-American students at Brooklyn Tech earned scores of “Qualified,” Very Qualified,” or “Extremely Well Qualified” (3, 4 or 5) on the College Board’s Advanced Placement Biology exam. AP Exam scores of 5 are equivalent to the top A-level work in the corresponding college course. Scores of 4 are equivalent to a range of work representing mid-level A to mid-level B performance in college, and scores of 3 are equivalent to a range of work representing mid-level B to mid-level C performance in college. Each of these scores is high enough to earn credit for a biology course at most four-year colleges and universities. The College Board’s recently-released Advanced Placement Report to the Nation described Brooklyn Tech’s program as “exemplary.” In its report, the College Board also named Townsend Harris High School in Queens as the nation’s top-ranked large high school in the AP World History Exam.
The Mayor’s plan to spend $444 million on new science labs and equipment is part of his historic 10-year $13.1 billion school construction plan, which will also help add 100,000 new classroom seats by 2009.
Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker (212) 788-2958
David Cantor (Dept. of Education)