FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2007
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG PRESENTS THE MANHATTAN INSTITUTE'S URBAN INNOVATOR AWARD TO FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR JEB BUSH
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's speech as prepared.
"Thank you, Larry, and good morning. First, let me say it's a pleasure to once again welcome Governor Jeb Bush to New York. He's come to the city more than once over the past year. I think he might be considering moving here from Florida to retire. Not that that should sound so strange. After all, with our crime rate continuing to drop, our quality of life continuing to rise, and New Yorkers now living longer than the average American, this is the place to be!
"New York is also making great strides in improving our schools - and in many instances we've looked to Governor Bush, who has been one of our nation's leading pioneers in education reform. During his eight years in office, he built a leaner, more efficient government, and diversified the state's economic base, creating new jobs and driving unemployment well below the national average. But his crowning achievements clearly came in the realm of education.
'In particular, Jeb and his team helped establish a culture of accountability throughout Florida - breathing new life into its schools, especially in its urban districts. They did this by empowering school leaders, and then making them accountable for results. They did it by ending the self-defeating policy of social promotion, so that students aren't promoted until they're ready. They did it by increasing transparency, expanding school choice, and building competition. And they did it by giving parents the tools they need to become full, active partners in the education of their children.
"One of the most important of those tools was a report card - one that grades not students but schools. Last week we released our own report card which builds on Jeb's version - giving more than 1,200 schools in our city a letter grade of A through F based largely on the progress made by their students. As Jeb warned us beforehand, not every parent would be happy with the grade their child's school received but that's exactly the point: To resist complacency and to challenge our schools to do better this year and every year going forward.
"And if Jeb's experience is any indication - our schools will get better: Florida has raised its standards over and over again, making it harder and harder to get an A but each time, schools continued to make progress, helping kids learn even more and closing the achievement gap in the classroom.
"This kind of step-by-step program is one of the key aspects missing from No Child Left Behind - and we have been working with Jeb to make sure it's included when Congress reauthorizes the law.
"Improving No Child Left Behind is going to take a lot of hard work. But we are lifted by having such a strong, dedicated partner in Governor Bush.
He is a visionary, a pioneer, a man who can get things done - and throughout his career, he has shown no fear in taking on the tough issues.
"For all of that and more, it is my pleasure to present the Manhattan Institute's Urban Innovator Award to Governor Jeb Bush."
Stu Loeser/ John Gallagher (212) 788-2958