FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 7, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES HISTORIC GAINS BY NEW YORK CITY STUDENTS IN MATH AND THE NARROWING OF THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP WITH STUDENTS STATEWIDE 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, June 7, 2009
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Last week, we saw the dazzling numbers that public school students in grades three through eight put up on this year's statewide math tests. For example, just look at how well students at PS/MS 15 in the Bronx did. Seven years ago, just 15 percent of eighth graders there scored at or higher than grade level in math; this year, 88 percent did. Even people who can't agree on the time of day acknowledge that scores like that show that our schools are moving in the right direction.
"Students across the city and in every grade made big progress in math this year. Nearly 82 percent of them earned scores that demonstrate that they're working at or above their grade level. In fact, on this year's test, more students than ever - one in four, to be exact - earned "4's," the highest score, while fewer students than ever - only about three percent - received "1's," the lowest score. More than 91 percent of third graders met or exceeded standards in math - the first time more than 90 percent of students in any grade accomplished that.
"The results also highlighted these three very heartening trends.
"First, our students have substantially narrowed the achievement gap in math with students statewide - something that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. Take the fourth grade, for example. In 2002, there was a gap of more than 24 points between the overall scores of our fourth graders and those of fourth graders in the rest of the state. Today, that gap has shrunk to just 3.6 points. And the pace of progress is picking up; our students in grades three through eight have cut the gap with students statewide by half over the past three years.
"Second, our black and Hispanic students are also continuing to close the racial achievement gap that's been the shame of our schools for far too long. Black eighth graders, for example, narrowed the achievement gap with their white classmates more this year than in any year since 2002 - and more than in the past six years combined. Black and Hispanic fourth graders have cut the achievement gap in math in half during these past seven years. Any such racial achievement gap is intolerable. But the good news is that our students are rapidly cutting it down.
"There's a third piece of very good news in these scores: The big gains made by our special education students and students for whom English is not their first language. Since 2006, the percentage of students with disabilities who are meeting standards in math has doubled; it now stands at 55 percent. And nearly 70 percent of students who are learning English now meet or exceed standards in math, compared to only 40 percent who were three years ago. That shows that the additional resources we're putting into teaching these students, and the heightened accountability that we're demanding, are producing the outcomes that we want.
"Every way you look at them, those math test results, and the results on statewide reading tests that we learned about last month, confirm that our school reforms are working. Our students are getting the education that will prepare them for further success in school and as adults. That's a tribute to Chancellor Joel Klein and his team at the Department of Education, and also to the hard work and dedication of our teachers, principals, parents, and, especially, our students. They all deserve congratulations for a great school year.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958