FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING IN SUPPORT OF NEW YORK STATE'S RACE TO THE TOP APPLICATION
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that New York City has signed a Memorandum of Understanding in support of New York State's Race to the Top application with the U.S. Department of Education. Race to the Top is the Obama Administration's $4.35 billion competitive grant program designed to encourage and reward states that are creating conditions for education innovation and reform, and are achieving significant improvement in student outcomes. The State's application, if successful, could result in $700 million in new education funding for New York State.
"The State's application speaks to the same goals we hold: higher standards, effective teachers, quality charter schools, and turning around low-performing schools," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The State put forth a strong Race to the Top application, and we will do everything we can to implement it. Sadly, however, the application may well be undermined by legislative shell games.
"If the legislature, for instance, simply lifted the charter cap without poison pills, as the Obama Administration has recommended, there is no doubt that New York would be in a much stronger position to win federal money. In signing on to the state's application while others weaken it, we are drawing a clear line between those who support reform and the Governor's efforts to win $700 million, and those who merely pay lip service to these goals in order to avoid blame later."
The State's Race to the Top application is a separate proposal from the recently proposed charter school bill advanced by the leadership in the State Senate and Assembly majorities. The City does not support the proposed legislation, which would raise the cap on charter schools, while making it harder than ever before for New York City to open new charter schools. There are currently 36,000 children on charter wait lists in New York City.
An analysis by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools indicates that if the proposed legislation is passed, it could cost New York State 59 out of 500 points in the Race to the Top application review process.
Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker (212) 788-2958