FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES STRIDES IN ENSURING SAFE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS IN NEW YORK CITY'S SCHOOLS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, August 10, 2008
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"In just a few weeks, New York City's 1.1 million public school children - and nearly 80,000 teachers - will find themselves back in the classroom beginning a brand new academic year. Based on the gains our students made last spring, we have every reason to feel positive about the year ahead. Math and reading scores continue to rise, the achievement gap between students of different races is narrowing, and our graduation rates are the highest they've been in more than 20 years.
"This success is the result of all our hard work to turn around a broken school system, and that includes making schools safer for all students - because no student has the right to disrupt another student's right to learn. That's why in 2004, we launched the Impact Schools Initiative, which focused more resources and new management strategies on the handful of schools where disorder was at intolerably high levels.
"The strategy worked. We cut disruptive behavior, and crime declined dramatically. Schools that became safer eventually graduated out of the Impact Safety Program, while schools that experienced rising crime were added to it. By constantly reassessing crime statistics and devoting safety personnel to the schools that need them the most, we have succeeded in driving down crime across the entire school system.
"New crime statistics released last week show just how successful our school safety program has been. Since our administration took office, major crime in schools is down by more than a third, while violent crime has decreased some 31 percent.
"And just this past year alone, major school crime declined 10 percent, with some of the biggest reductions coming within "Impact Schools." For instance, at the Campus Magnet High School in Southeast Queens, major crime dropped 89 percent over one year. Similar drops occurred at schools throughout the city, from Tilden Campus High School in Brooklyn to John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx.
"One crime in our public schools is still one too many, but it's fair to say that our school safety efforts are succeeding. And it just goes to show you what can be achieved when you've got accountability - that means the schools and the police answering to one person: the mayor. Of course, the great strides we're making are also the result of great teamwork among principals, teachers, and law enforcement.
"What we've already accomplished together will provide a foundation of experience that we'll continue to build on when the schools open for the new academic year. When that day arrives - just a few weeks from now - parents will be able to send their children off to school with more confidence than ever that they'll be in a safe and secure learning environment.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (212) 788-2958