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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Porter Deliver Remarks on the Green New Deal for Public Schools

July 15, 2021

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Everybody, this is a very important day. It really is, because if we're going to get it right for our kids, we have to be bold, we have to do things very, very differently. And Congressman Jamaal Bowman is showing us the way, not just for New York, but for the whole nation. What you are seeing today, a Green New Deal for our public schools will transform the United States of America. It will transform this country.

[Background noise]

That's a vote of confidence in the Congressmen's plan, right there.


This is what we have been waiting for. The kind of change on a national level that would reach every child. Remember, way back when they said leave no child behind, and then they proceeded to leave a lot of kids behind? Jamaal Bowman is talking about actually bringing every child with us to a better future. I’ve got to tell you, I feel some envy for everyone who will get to serve ahead, because when this plan becomes law of the land – power of positive thinking, brother – when this plan becomes the law of the land, every mayor in America, every chancellor and superintendent will be able to do things that previously we could only have dreamed of. When we have schools that are ready to truly serve our children, our families, because they're modern, because they're clean and green, doors are going to open. When we have a curriculum that is of, and for, and by every child, doors open. When we provide the social services and the emotional support, doors open. So, this is what we've dreamed of, but now it's actually here.

I’ve got to tell you, every day I am so impressed by what I see from Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi. But I know part of why they are doing what they are doing is because of leaders like Jamaal Bowman, helping to push the spectrum.


Voices saying, here's where we really need to go. And, you know, once upon a time they had – you heard people say Green New Deal, that's way too ambitious. And now, it has become mainstream as an idea. Well, this too – Green New Deal for our public schools will – this is an idea that’s going to catch fire. It's going to catch fire all over the country.

One more thing I want to say, we have tried so hard the last eight years to change public education in this city, and I know we have. But I also know the many times where if we had only had a little more help, we could have reached so many more kids. But even without a federal government, that was always there for us or a State government that was always there for us, we were able to do a lot. We were able to do pre-K for all our kids. Soon, every three-year-old – 3-K will be universal as well for all our children.


And yes, we will go out with a bang with a new Universal Mosaic Curriculum with a focus on literacy. Listen, if that is what kids read and what they're taught doesn't relate to them, it will not work, right? Simple as that.


So, Universal Mosaic Curriculum is simply listening to the voices of parents and children and educators and doing what we should have done a long time ago. And I want to give credit to our Chancellor Misha Ross-Porter for leading the way –


Now, I could say – I could say – I was going there, Pat.


I was going there. When you put the Bronx in charge, good things happen.


And I want to say, I mentioned how in the past we didn't always have the support we needed and deserved. But I want to give Senator Bailey credit, because this last budget – this last budget in Albany, and particularly the CFE funding was literally what we all fought for, for 20 years. And now, it's here. Thank you, Senator.


And, Councilman, thank you, because when we went to the City Council, we said, we want to literally provide every child the emotional support they need. We're going to do a screening for every child for mental health and then give them the help they need. We're going to do an academic screening and then give the support they need. The City Council was there with us every step of the way. Thank you, Council Member.

So, everybody, I'll conclude with this – elections do matter. Eight years ago – Congress Member is right, I said Pre-K for All. I guarantee you, the powers that be said it wouldn't be impossible. I would love to show you the many, many statements by the learned people and the powerful people that said, that is a pipe dream, that is impossible. Except, guess what? Today, in New York City, every child gets pre-K for free – universal pre-K.


So, fast-forward to today, elections do matter. Here's a visionary. Here's a visionary standing in front of us right here in a transformative moment in history. Check your history, everyone. This is like the 1930s. This is one of those moments where everything came together, including a lot of pain, but also a lot of possibility, and the world got transformed. And this is going to be a lasting transformation. If you question that, I always say, reach into your wallet or your pocketbook, pull out your social security card, that was something from the 1930s, and it's still here now.

So, this Green New Deal for public schools will happen. It will transform American education. It will finally allow us to reach every child and to compete in the world. The thing America has not done, to create an education system that's truly as strong as what we see around the world, because the investment wasn't there until now. But with Jamaal Bowman's leadership, it's going to be there, and the world is about to change. Thank you and God bless you, Congress Member.


Congressman Jamaal Bowman: So, thank you so much, Mr. Mayor. Before I go to the next speaker, I just want to say a word about community organizing, community engagement, and democratic leadership. Because we organized across the country against the previous president, Joe Biden was able to win the White House. Because we organize across the country, but particularly in states like Georgia, Democrats were able to win the Senate. As a result of that, we were able to pass the American Rescue Plan, which is bringing much needed resources to historically ignored communities, particularly to our public schools. But also, today, 90 percent of the children in this country are going to receive their Child Tax Credit payments. And that's going to continue throughout the year.


And that's because of democratic leadership across this country. The next speaker, I think, is perfectly positioned to work with the Mayor to properly implement the American Rescue Plan money for our public schools. She's my former boss and former mentor – she was a good boss. And now the boss of everyone in the whole New York City school system. It’s my honor – and it's, like – it's unreal. Like, we’re here right now. It’s really crazy. It's kind of unreal that we're here right now, but this is my honor to introduce Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter.

Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter: Congressman Bowman, Principle [inaudible] want you to report to your summer school duties.


Welcome back home to the Bronx. Welcome to your summer school site. And [inaudible] I remember hot summers, both as a student and as a leader. And so, welcome, welcome, welcome. It's always good to be back home in the Bronx. Our friends welcomed us. And our friends at home, it's so good to see you all. You know, Congressman Bowman, I'm going to thank you for championing a plan that puts children and underserved communities first and at the center – two groups that we know are dear to your heart and to all of our hearts. I am so heartened to have a representative like you in Washington, showing up for our families and our kids just like you did as a principal here in District 11 in the Bronx. And here in New York City, we know the feeling well when people show up for us. This administration is constantly thinking outside of the box, constantly thinking about putting in the work to build more equitable schools, whether it was the first – being the first major district in the country to offer a universal pre-K, our new Universal Mosaic Curriculum, which ensures that all of these beautiful young people see themselves and experiences they have every day in classroom. And that it is a curriculum developed for young people, by young people, with teachers, with families, with communities. That is what this moment is about. I also know that this moment that Congressman Bowman is presenting to us, this moment is about building schools that sit in communities that we all deserve. Schools are second homes for our children and they need to reflect that. And so, this is an absolutely vital investment to protect our schools and recognize the threat of climate culture, because y'all looking hot out here today.


And so, this is just building on, like Congressman Bowman said, the initiatives we've already started to build on. We have an Office of Sustainability at the Department of Education we look forward to partnering on – this in this moment. Our commitment to make our school bus fleet fully electric by 2035 – don't get me – don't get me the electric slide out here, it’s too early. And the Mayor is dying to dance with me again, I hear. And expanding our teacher pipeline to recruit and train new teachers, teachers of color, teachers from our communities, teachers who represent the students they serve and can speak to their experiences. And working to make our school buildings more energy efficient, including installing solar panels, reducing waterways as well as our Meatless Mondays and our Zero Waste school program. And I know there's a principal wondering how are we going to make this building more green today? And so, there's no doubt the Green New Deal for public schools will help New York City, and districts across the country, and will continue to ensure that New York City and New York City public schools chart the path forward for this nation to strengthen academics, build greener schools, and combat climate change.

And so, I thank you for your time, Congressman Bowman. You know, the principals are very serious about your reporting for summer school duties. And anyone else here, summer is rising. Thank you so much. It's such an honor and a pleasure to be here.



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