FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2011
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DELIVERS REMARKS ON VALUE OF EDUCATION AND PROGRESS OF NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS AT "EDUCATION NATION" SUMMIT
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's remarks as delivered this morning at the Second Annual NBC News' "Education Nation" Summit
“Thank you and good morning. I was listening to that list of speakers wondering what I’m doing here. But let me welcome everyone to New York City for the second annual NBC News Education Nation Summit.
“Now, if my teachers back in Medford, Massachusetts a long, long time ago would have been told that some day Mike Bloomberg would be speaking at a national education summit, they probably would not have believed their ears. The truth of the matter is my academic record has always made the top half of the class possible. Think about that, guys. I do remember my principal in elementary school when I went to her and asked her to sign a paper saying I was a good student for my Boy Scout education merit badge, Mrs. Kelly laughed at me.
“Whether I ever got that education merit badge I have no recollection, but it is great to finally understand the value of education. I may not be the best example of it, but I think all of us recognize that the path to a brighter future runs through our classrooms. That’s why we have made improving education a top priority in New York City. And it’s why we have invested so heavily in our public schools these past nine years.
“Last year at this summit, I laid out an agenda for the future success of New York City’s public schools, and I am glad to report that we are making progress on many of the fronts we discussed then.
“First, we’ve continued opening new schools that provide families with high-choice, high-quality options. This school year we opened 39 new schools, including 13 charter schools. That brings the total number of new schools created under our Administration to more 500, including 124 charters. And, incidentally, we’ve closed some schools as well.
“Since 2002, we’ve phased out more than 100 low-performing schools that failed to serve our kids and replaced them with schools that do. When it comes to our kids, we can never afford to accept the status quo. We have to keep innovating, and keep providing more and better choices for students and for parents. And that’s what we intend to keep doing over the next two years.
“We’ve also made great progress, I’m happy to say, in reforming the way our schools grant tenure to teachers. For example, we’ve extended the probationary period for promising teachers who are still developing their skills. We’ve also made tenure procedures far more rigorous, and we’ve greatly enriched the kind of information that goes into making tenure decisions.
“Last year, I also talked about how we would form some new partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, and universities to more directly connect our students to colleges and careers – and we have done that. One great example I wanted to share with you is what we call P-Tech, the new Pathways in Technology High School that we created jointly with IBM and the City University of New York, which opened its doors this year. This groundbreaking public school runs from grade 9 to grade 14. You may have noticed two extra grades in there, and that’s because students at P-Tech will learn the traditional core subjects, and also receive an education in computer science and complete two years of college work. When they graduate from grade 14 with an Associate’s Degree and a qualified record, they will be first in line for jobs with IBM, something that is really important in this day and age to all our kids.
“The students at P-Tech will also help us further another of our long-term goals: to diversify our local economy by supporting industries that have the potential to grow and expand here. And that certainly includes technology firms of every kind. And I’m proud to tell you that last year, our city passed Boston to become the largest recipient of venture capital funding for technology start-ups, except for Silicon Valley. But to remain competitive, we know we’ve got to do even more to cultivate and attract the best minds and brightest people. That’s why we’re now offering to provide prime New York City real estate – at virtually no cost – in exchange for a university’s commitment to build or expand its world-class science and engineering campus here in our city. These are the fields that put a premium on innovation, and these are the type of 21st century jobs we need to be preparing our children for. And that preparation has to start in our public schools.
“Here in New York City, we’re expecting great things from our public school students in the year ahead. They’ve made tremendous strides in recent years. By every important measure – including graduation rates as well as test scores – our schools continue to move in the right direction.
Now, we do know there’s a lot of room for improvement. When parents ask, ‘How much is enough for my child to know?’ The answer I think is clear, ‘Never enough.’ Our work will never be done because there is no level at which New York City students can or should stop learning more. Every Nobel Prize winner gets up every day and studies more, and that’s because learning is a lifetime endeavor – and all of us have to keep learning if we want to keep succeeding.
“That’s true for educators and policy makers as well. That’s why I think this summit is so important and I was so thrilled to have it here in New York City. So, I wanted to personally thank NBC for focusing our attention on education and on the children who will build our future.
“Thanks for having me. It is going to be a wonderful day. I can’t tell you how lucky we all are to be able to listen to some wonderful people who I hope will stimulate our thinking and give us some great ideas.
“God bless, and have a good day.”
Stu Loeser/Julie Wood (212) 788-2958
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