FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES LANDMARK PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER BONUS PLAN 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, October 21, 2007
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"We all recognize that teachers have one of the most important jobs in our city. And the teachers in the schools that help students succeed deserve a bonus. Well, now bonuses are just what we'll provide for many of them. They're the result of an historic agreement that we reached last week with the union representing our public school teachers.
"This school year, we'll provide new school-wide bonuses to teachers in up to 200 "high needs" schools; up to 400 schools will be eligible for bonus packages in the next school year. It's the largest initiative of its kind in the nation, and one that we've worked long and hard to bring about.
"Here's how it will work. This school year, roughly 15% of city public schools will be eligible to receive bonus packages, depending on the headway that their students make. That improvement will be measured by the new "report cards" on each public school that the Department of Education will be publishing this year. Also, at least 55% of the members of the United Federation of Teachers at each eligible school will have to vote to opt into the school-wide bonus program.
"A participating school will receive the equivalent of $3,000 per teacher working at that school. Then a four-member committee made up of administrators and teachers at each school will reach a consensus on how to distribute the bonuses. They can decide, for example, to award larger bonuses to teachers who have helped students make the most dramatic gains. But one thing that the committee can't consider when making its decisions is teacher seniority.
"Everyone is going to benefit from this landmark school-wide bonus program. Experience in the private sector-including mine-shows that nothing motivates achievement like money. Now teachers who put in extra effort and produce great results will be rewarded with cash; that's going to give every teacher a good new reason to do better. In addition, the bonus program will provide our best teachers with an incentive to work in the hard-pressed schools that will be eligible for the bonuses.
"School-wide bonuses also will go a long way toward encouraging the environment we're working hard to create in our schools-one that stresses collaboration between administrators and teachers to create progress in the classroom. This new mindset has already contributed to double-digit jumps in reading and math test scores citywide and to the highest graduation rates in many years. Now bonuses that reward school-wide improvement will help us go even further.
"In that same spirit of cooperation, the City and the UFT are working together to raise some $20 million in private funds to cover the first year of bonuses. In fact, a number of donors have already made pledges, including the Partnership for New York City, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the Robertson Foundation. City funds will cover the cost of an enlarged bonus program in the future.
"The UFT deserves tremendous credit for helping launch this breakthrough program. It shows that a strong teachers union can be a full partner in working with school administrators on an important shared goal: Providing incentives for teaching the students in our city who need the most help.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address