Mayor's WINS Address
Hear the Mayor's Message
This week I suggested that, to help serve the many students who need summer school instruction, the Board of Education should go beyond just the public schools and utilize some of the learning centers and private and parochial schools across the city that would be willing to help students improve their skills.
Why not take advantage of all the resources we have to reach as many children as possible, and to help as many children as possible? We have an educational community that is broader than what we are currently utilizing, and given our public school system's decline in reading scores and significant decline in math scores, we would be making a big mistake to close our minds and neglect these resources.
We should learn from the example of other cities. This Thursday Mayor Nordquist, the Mayor of Milwaukee, visited City Hall to share his city's experience with school vouchers and school choice. Mayor Nordquist said that as a result of the choice program they have implemented in Milwaukee-which gives the poorest families in the city the same choice to send their children to the school that they desire, that the richest parents have-both the students who have received the vouchers and the students in the public schools are performing better. Competition is working. Reading scores are increasing substantially.
If New York City's schools were moving rapidly in the right direction, we might be able to dismiss certain new ideas or proposals as unnecessary. But we don't have that luxury because our schools need dramatic improvement. We can't in good faith reject as unnecessary the choices that are available in other cities. We need to expand alternatives, enhance accountability and offer our children more educational resources.
So, I think it would be very wise for us in New York to copy the example of Milwaukee and have a choice program; to copy the example of Chicago, and to do away with the Board of Education and the boards and all of the bureaucracies, so that we can put our focus on children. The whole purpose here is to have available to our children all the alternatives that are available throughout the country.
Finally, I'd like to call something very important to your attention -- the New York metropolitan community's blood supply is critically low. This recently forced the New York Blood Center, which supplies blood to 200 hospitals in New York and New Jersey, to declare an emergency appeal for blood donors. But public response has been less than satisfactory, creating the potential for a very real health care crisis in our community. The New York Blood Center and its regional divisions in Long Island, New Jersey and the Hudson Valley are continuing this emergency appeal and urging all who are eligible to donate blood as soon as possible. There are sites throughout New York and New Jersey as well as a donor bus that is available to come to shopping malls, community groups, and other sites.
Donating blood can be of enormous assistance to people in serious immediate need. I urge you to take part and help bring our blood supply back to a healthy level. If you're interested in giving blood or organizing a blood drive, please call 1-800-933-BLOOD. From Gracie Mansion, this is Rudy Giuliani.