FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES IMPROVEMENTS IN NEW YORK CITY'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, May 27, 2007
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"I've always believed that a good public education is one of our nation's basic civil rights. But for much too long, it was being denied to too many New York City children. Fixing that serious problem was a big reason why I ran for Mayor - and it's why we've been working so hard to turn around our schools and give every single student the chance to succeed.
"We still have a lot of work ahead, but last week, we received two very strong indications of how much real progress we're making.
"First, our City's high-school graduation rate, which was essentially flat from 1996 to 2002, has steadily improved over the past four years and is now at an all-time high - 60% for the class of 2006. That's still much too low, but it's nearly 20% higher than it was four years ago. The State uses a different formula to calculate graduation rates, but anyway you slice it, graduation rates are up nearly 20% since 2002 - and that's great news.
"It's encouraging that this progress is also helping to narrow the graduation rate gap between different ethnic groups. The four-year graduation rate for black students rose to nearly 55% in 2006, up from 44% in 2002 and Hispanic students have seen similar increases.
"The second piece of good news last week came when we learned the scores from the statewide reading and writing tests. The scores for all grades - 3 through 8 - were very encouraging, and the gains made by middle-school students were among the largest. In fact, more New York City eighth graders met standards than in any year since the testing began. That's especially encouraging because 8th grade is a pivotal year - a time when, traditionally, student achievement has dropped. Now, we're starting to turn that around.
"These new test scores and graduation rates are clear signs of our progress - and I want to commend our students, teachers, parents and principals, who all deserve enormous credit for making such important improvements. And now, to build on that progress, we're taking the next steps to help more students succeed - from ensuring fair student funding at all schools, to cutting the bureaucracy and improving programs for alternative schools, to expanding our efforts to engage parents, while also increasing the accountability of principals and teachers. By continuing our reforms, we can ensure that all students have the opportunity to gain a high-quality education, which will give them the skills they need to succeed in today's 21st century economy.
"Tomorrow, public schools will be closed for Memorial Day - a special day in our city. Right now, thousands of sailors, Marines, and members of the Coast Guard are in town for New York's annual Fleet Week celebration. If you have a chance, I suggest going over to the Hudson River to take a look at the majestic ships that help protect our nation. And if you run into some members of our Navy or Coast Guard along the way, I encourage you to say a simple 'Thank you.' We must never forget the sacrifices they make, and tomorrow, we will honor all the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.
This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day - and thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address