May 7, 2009
There’s no video (that I know about) of the conversation that happened inside the White House today, but the education leaders who emerged today after talking about their ideas for closing the achievement gap spilled all as soon as they got outside. Politico has video.
You might notice some splices in the video above. Here are Bloomberg’s unabridged comments, courtesy of the city Department of Education:
Today happened to be particularly fortuitous; the State of New York released the test scores in English for how well different counties in New York are doing. And thanks to hard work by people like Merryl Tisch, the Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents; Joel Klein, who’s with me today, our great Schools Chancellor; Ernie Logan, the head of the Principals Union; Randi Weingarten, the head of the Teachers Union; my Deputy Mayor, Dennis Walcott; and 120,000 people that work for the New York City Department of Education. What they’ve done, and the results came out again today, is nothing short of amazing and exactly what this country needs. We have improved the test scores in English, and we expect the same results in math in a couple of weeks, every single year for seven years. We’ve improved the test scores for New York City students compared to New York State. We’ve improved the test scores for minorities, black and Latino kids compared to white and Asian kids who have always tested better. Seven years in a row of closing the outrageous ethnic gap in testing. We’ve given out some charts to the press today. It is nothing but good news. We are going in the right direction and the way that you do it is you have accountability, which we do in our system, we hold our principals, our teachers, our students and parents all responsible. We make sure that we reward people who do better. In New York City, with the help of the Teachers Union, we’ve actually negotiated performance pay. You do a better job, you make more money. Everybody wants to help our kids but we all want to live well and monetary incentive seems to work very well. We put out data. We always have the saying, ‘In God We Trust, everybody else bring data.’ We have a report card on every single school so the parents know how good that school is, how well it is performing right down the line. We’re doing what is right. If you want to graduate, you have to learn what you’re supposed to learn to go to the next grade. Ending social promotion was one of the big things that Joel Klein did when he came into office. But the results are there. We are going in the right direction and I tried to impress on the President that if the rest of the country wants to actually improve the performance of their school system, this, I think, is a blueprint for exactly what you can do. And I think the President understands it and I just wanted to say that the aid and the support that Arne Duncan, our Secretary of Education, has given us in terms of validating the kinds of things that we’ve done- he’s done similar kinds of things in Chicago. There are no secrets here. It costs money and it takes hard work and you have to hold people accountable and those that perform should be the ones that teach our kids and those that don’t, unfortunately our children are just too important. We have to run the school systems for the kids and not for the people that work there.