Printer Friendly Format Email a Friend

PR- 104-07
April 9, 2007


More than 100 Leaders from Across the City Co-Sign Open Letter to New Yorkers Supporting Continuing School Accountability and Equity

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel I. Klein today welcomed dozens of civic, religious and community leaders from across New York City to the Department of Education headquarters in Tweed Courthouse as they and scores of others - more than 100 in all - released an open letter to New Yorkers backing the Mayor's and Chancellor's continuing next steps for more accountability and equity in public schools.

"These New Yorkers are about as diverse a group of independent leaders that you will find anywhere.  They all care deeply about our children, the City and its future," Mayor Bloomberg said.  "By joining us today, they are standing up for our children's interests - not the special interests.  Their commitment underscores the fact that this is an issue that all New Yorkers have a stake in. And if we can come together, if we can get this right - as I know we will - then we can continue improving the quality of education that our children receive."

"I am thrilled to have so much support from so many distinguished New Yorkers dedicated to improving our City's schools.  We have made real progress, but we must do more to create the kind of schools our students and families need and deserve," Chancellor Klein said.  "Working with the leaders gathered here today, I am confident that we will take our efforts to the next level and open doors for all of our City's students."

The text of the letter follows:

April 9, 2007

Dear New Yorkers,

Until Mayor Bloomberg took charge of the city's schools, student performance had been all but stagnant for decades. Now, because of the first phase of the Children First school reforms the Mayor and the Chancellor have enacted, New York City's students are making real progress. Thousands more students are graduating and the New York City graduation rate is higher than it's been in more than 20 years. Students' progress in reading and math is now outpacing gains in the rest of New York State.

But our schools are still not serving all New York City children as they must.

For the sake of our children, we need to act. And we need to act now. If we don't take the smart next steps the Bloomberg administration has outlined, we risk failing the children of New York City. That's a price that we are not willing to pay.

The reforms make sense. Schools need the authority and the resources to build the right educational program for every child, and to ensure that they're getting the job done, they must be held accountable for their students' academic success in all subjects from math and reading to the arts and science. Schools also must be funded fairly.

Our students and their families, indeed all New Yorkers, deserve the kind of schools and the kind of school system that our Mayor and our Chancellor are creating. We can't put special interests ahead of the interests of children. This Mayor has it right - we need to put our students' interests first. We urge all New Yorkers to join together to support these reform efforts. These reforms have real promise and will make schools better for the people who matter most: Our children.


Laura Acosta, Executive Director - The Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation

Bill Aguado
, Executive Director - Bronx Council on the Arts

Rev. Lawrence Aker
, Pastor - Cornerstone Baptist Church

Jean Alexander
, Executive Director - Caribbean American Center of New York

Rev. Miguel Amadis
, Pastor - Iglesia el Camino

Dr. Ian Amritt
, Executive Director - Unitas

Rev. Tony Baker
, Pastor - St. Philips Baptist Church

Will Baker
, CEO - The Impact Coalition

Philip Banks, Jr.
, President - 100 Black Men of New York

Tony Bennett
, Founder - Exploring the Arts

Richard Berlin
, Executive Director - Harlem RBI

Rev. A.R. Bernard
, Founder and CEO - - Christian Cultural Center

Alex Betancourt
, Executive Director - East Harlem Tutorial Program

Nick Blatchford
, Founder and Executive Director - New Heights Youth

Lee Bollinger
, President - Columbia University

Eric Brettschneider
, Executive Director - Agenda for Children Tomorrow

Rev. Francisco Burgos
, Pastor - Quinta Iglesia

Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III
, Pastor - Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York

Geoffrey Canada
, President and CEO - Harlem Children's Zone

Pamela Cantor, M.D.
, President and Executive Director - Turnaround for Children

Rev. Manuel Castillo
, Pastor - Abrigo del Alticimo

Maria Alvarez Castro
, President and CEO - Manhattan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Rev. Marcos Castros
, Pastor - Iglesia Jesucristo Salva y Sana

Jaimie P. Cloud
, President - The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education

Rev. Hector Crespo
, President - NYC Clergy United for Justice

Darwin M. Davis
, President and CEO - The New York Urban League

Rev. Angel Diaz
, Pastor - Iglesia Behtel

Itai Dinour
, Co-Executive Director - City Year New York

Raymond Domanico
, Senior Education Advisor - Industrial Areas Foundation-Metro NY

Lue Ann Eldar
, Executive Director and CEO - Casita Maria

Rev. Dr. Floyd Flake
, Senior Pastor - The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York

Sy Fliegel
, President - The Center for Educational Innovation - Public Education Association (CEI-PEA)

Dr. Henry Frank
, Executive Director - Haitian Centers Council

Lucy Friedman
, President - The After-School Corporation (TASC)

Rev. Henrietta Fullard
, Presiding Elder - Jamaica LI AME Churches

Hector Gesualdo
, Executive Director - ASPIRA of New York

Matthew Goldstein
, Chancellor - The City University of New York

Richard Greene
, Founder and Director - Crown Heights Youth Collective

Ken Grouf
, Co-Executive Director - City Year New York

Agnes Gund
, President Emerita - The Museum of Modern Art

Dr. Roy Hastick
, President and CEO - Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

James Heyliger
, CEO - Association of Minority Enterprises of New York

Soledad F. Hiciano
, Executive Director - Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (ACDP)

Rev. Esperanza Hirizary
, Pastor - Iglesia Hispana Pentecoste

Julie Horowitz
, Executive Director - Young Women's Leadership Foundation

Dr. Edison O. Jackson
, President - Medgar Evers College/CUNY

Maggie Jones
, Executive Director - Children for Children

Richard Kahan
, President - The Urban Assembly

Caroline Kennedy
, Vice-Chair - Fund for Public Schools

Bob Kerrey
, President - The New School

Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer
, Executive Director - Queens Council on the Arts

Michael Levine
, Executive Director of Education - Asia Society

Jeffrey Levitsky
, Executive Director - Exploring the Arts

Sister Paulette LoMonaco
, Executive Director - Good Shepherd Services

Jack Lund
, President and CEO - YMCA of Greater New York

Larry Mandell
, President and CEO - United Way of New York City

Christine McMullan
, Director - Polish National Alliance of Brooklyn

Rubin Medina
, Executive Director - Promesa

Bishop Julio Mercado
, Primera Iglesia Getsemani, and President - The Association of Hispanic Ministers Citywide

Rev. Timothy Mitchell
, Pastor - Antioch Baptist Church

Lawrence J. Mone
, President - The Manhattan Institute

Phillip Morrow
, President/CEO - South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO)

Scott Noppe-Brandon
, Executive Director - Lincoln Center Institute

Christopher B. O'Malley
, Executive Director - Student Sponsor Partners

Gladys Padro-Soler
, Executive Director - National Puerto Rican Forum

Rev. Wendy Calderón Payne
, Executive Director - Urban Youth Alliance

Lyn Pentecost
, Founder and Director - The Lower East Side Girls Club of New York

Moisés Pérez
, Founder and Executive Director - Alianza Dominicana

Carol F. and Joseph H. Reich
, Co-Founders - Beginning with Children Foundation

Rev. Juanita Reynoso
, Pastor - Iglesia una Luz en el Camino

Michelle Rhee
, President and CEO - The New Teacher Project

Rev. Jose Rivera
, Pastor - Espiritud Santo

Rev. Dr. Marcos Rivera
, Senior Pastor - Primitive Christian Church

Rev. Danny Rodriguez
, Pastor - Iglesia Fuente de Salvacion

Shirley Rodriguez-Remeneski
, Founder and President - 100 Hispanic Women

Archbishop Angelo Rosario
, Church of God's Children, and CEO -  Bronx Clergy Task Force

Andrew Rubinson
, Executive Director - Fresh Youth Initiatives (FYI)

William C. Rudin
, Chairman - Association for a Better New York

Fernando Salicrup
, Executive Director - Taller Boricua

David Saltzman
, Executive Director - Robin Hood Foundation

Rev. Angel Santos
, Pastor - Iglesia Monte de la Tranfiguracion

Jon Schnur
, CEO - New Leaders for New Schools

Rev. Antonio Serrano
, Pastor - Iglesia Primera Macedonia

John Sexton
, President - New York University

Ruth Lande Shuman
, Founder and President - Publicolor

Rev. Jose Silverio
, Pastor - Iglesia Segunda Macedonia

Rev. Julio Soler
, Pastor - Iglesia Independiente

Elisabeth Stock
, President - Computers for Youth (CFY)

Richard Stopol
, Executive Director - New York City Outward Bound

Pierre "Pepe" Sutton
, Chairman and CEO - Inner City Broadcasting Company

Janine Thomas-Smith
, President - Advocacy Coalition for Positive Change

Rev. Carlene Thorbes
, President - SE Queens Baptist Ministers Conference

Dirk Tillotson
, Acting CEO - New York City Center for Charter School Excellence

Rev. Andy Torres
, Pastor - Iglesia Hispana de la Comunidad

Rev. Domingo Vazquez
, President - Friendly Hands Ministries

Carmen Vega-Rivera
, Director - Say Yes to Education-New York Chapter

Carole J. Wacey
, Executive Director - MOUSE

Joe Williams
, Executive Director - Democrats for Education Reform

Lloyd Williams
, President and CEO - Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce

Rev. Dr. Lorenzo Williamson
- New Deeper Life Tabernacle Ministries

Deborah Wright
, President and CEO - Carver Bancorp, Inc.

Kathryn S. Wylde
, President and CEO - Partnership for New York City

Rev. Johnny Ray Youngblood
, Senior Pastor - St. Paul Community Baptist Church

Celia Zuckerman
, President and CEO - NY Congregational Nursing Service


Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker   (212) 788-2958

Deborah Wexler   (Department of Education)
(212) 374-5141

More Resources
View the photos
Watch the video in 56k or 300k