FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 2, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES PUBLIC SCHOOL REFORMS 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, September 2, 2007
"Good morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Tuesday is back to school day in New York City. And when students return, many of them are going to see a lot of changes that we've made over the summer: freshly painted classrooms, new science and lab facilities (the perfect setting for our first-ever citywide science curriculum), 3,700 more classroom seats and 40 new small secondary schools, elementary schools, and charter schools.
"Just as important, are the changes our students won't be able to see - changes that will build on the progress we've made to turn our schools into centers of growth and success:
"First of all, we've worked to make it much easier for parents to get the answers they need about their schools. Every school will continue to have a parent coordinator - as they've had since 2003 - who is always available by cell phone, and whose cell phone number will be posted in the school's lobby. But this year, if parents need further help, they can also contact one of the new "family advocates" in each of the city's 32 school districts.
"We are also going to give parents more information to make decisions about their children's education with the help of our brand-new school report cards. These report cards will grade each school on its year-to-year progress in raising student achievement - so that we can really make sure that all of our schools hold up their end of the bargain.
"In addition, as I announced in my State of the City address in January, we have eliminated major parts of the school system's bureaucracy to strengthen accountability.
"Principals will be empowered to truly run their schools, and make decisions about how to spend resources based on their school's needs - not based on some bureaucratic regulation. If, for instance, principals can find a better, cheaper way to buy pencils or get the floors cleaned, we'll let them do it. And they can keep the savings for more new books or supplies.
"Overseeing the principals will be a small group of superintendents, each of whom will manage the schools in a distinct geographic area, and who also will work closely with our "family advocates." Overseeing the superintendents is Chancellor Joel Klein. Overseeing him? Me. So, the lines of accountability are basically that simple: Principals, Superintendents, and the Chancellor.
"By streamlining this bureaucracy, we have saved more than $350 million over the past two years, which we are funneling directly into our schools and classrooms. And most importantly - for the first time ever - we've revamped funding formulas to give more resources to schools that have historically been shortchanged - without taking anything away from schools that have been more fortunate. From now on, every one of our schools is going to get a fair deal.
"So, to all of our city's 1.1 million public school students - enjoy your last few days of summer vacation and get ready for a brand-new, exciting school year.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening, and have a safe and fun Labor Day."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address