FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS' GAINS 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 24, 2009
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"New York City's public school students, and their teachers and principals, are getting a well-deserved holiday tomorrow. On Tuesday, it'll be back to class for the final weeks of what's been a very successful school year. The State reading test results released earlier this month underscore the striking progress that our students have made. They show that by setting standards, instituting accountability, and investing in teacher quality, we've put our schools on the right track.
"Today, nearly 70 percent of students in Grades 3-8 meet or exceed grade-level standards in reading - a far, far cry from where things stood back in 2002, when our Administration launched its school reform efforts. And when you analyze the test results, three trends really stand out.
"First, we're seeing consistent progress year after year, and across all grades. Back in 2002, for example, fewer than half of 4th grade students were working at or above grade level; today more than two-thirds are. In the 8th grade, fewer than 30 percent of students were working at or above grade level seven years ago; today, 57 percent are. In fact, this year we saw very heartening double-digit gains on the State reading test among our middle school students, where performance has often lagged in the past. That shows that the emphasis we've put on raising standards and improving instruction in middle schools - in partnership with our City Council - is really producing results.
"Second, New York City public school students are out-gaining students in the rest of the state. The same reading tests were administered in schools from Niagara to Northport; the headway made by our students out-paced the statewide average, and was greater than that made by students in our affluent suburban schools. That continues a pattern set since 2002. Over the past seven years, for example, our 4th graders have raised reading scores roughly twice as fast as 4th graders statewide.
"Third, our African American and Hispanic students are continuing to narrow the racial achievement gap in the classrooms that has long been a disgraceful fact of life in our city. While still too wide, this gap is being steadily cut down. And this year's progress was the greatest yet. Students for whom English is not their first language also made very impressive strides; the percentage who are working at or above grade level has more than tripled in the past three years.
"Achieving such remarkable results was most definitely a team effort. So I want to extend my warmest congratulations to everyone concerned: Teachers, principals, school staff, and especially our students. Now, enjoy your Memorial Day. Remember those who sacrificed everything so that we can be safe and free, and thank those now in our Armed Forces who are in New York City for Fleet Week. And when classes resume on Tuesday, I'm confident that you'll all keep up the good work, and put on an impressive academic sprint across the finish line of this school year.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958