Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Voices United for New York City Schoolchildren

Democrats for Education Reform was an enthusiastic signatory of this letter, which supports the bold reforms Bloomberg and Klein are making in NYC's public schools. 
I attended the meeting last week between Bloomberg and Klein and the signatories of this letter, which was followed by a press conference.  Some thoughts:
- Bloomberg didn't pull any punches in naming the UFT as leading the opposition to these reforms.  He said the union is just doing it job, which is looking out for its own interests, not childrens'.  He compared them to the NRA -- a small but very well organized and powerful interest group that owns many politicians, resulting in utterly insane political/policy outcomes.
- The questions from the media were truly pathetic and obnoxious.  There was not a single question about the substance of the reforms or whether they made sense -- instead, they were on the tug-of-war with the UFT, attacks on the motivations of the people who signed the letter, etc.

Voices United for New York City Schoolchildren


Dozens of civic, religious, and community leaders from across New York City released an open letter today endorsing the Children First school reforms. About 70 of the more than 100 New York City leaders who signed the letter stood with Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein this morning, urging them to continue bringing accountability and equity to the City’s public schools.


The text of the letter follows:


April 9, 2007


Dear New Yorkers,


Until Mayor Bloomberg took charge of the city’s schools, student performance had been all but stagnant for decades. Now, because of the first phase of the Children First school reforms the Mayor and the Chancellor have enacted, New York City’s students are making real progress. Thousands more students are graduating and the New York City graduation rate is higher than it’s been in more than 20 years. Students’ progress in reading and math is now outpacing gains in the rest of New York State.


But our schools are still not serving all New York City children as they must.


For the sake of our children, we need to act. And we need to act now. If we don’t take the smart next steps the Bloomberg administration has outlined, we risk failing the children of New York City. That’s a price that we are not willing to pay.


The reforms make sense. Schools need the authority and the resources to build the right educational program for every child, and to ensure that they’re getting the job done, they must be held accountable for their students’ academic success in all subjects from math and reading to the arts and science. Schools also must be funded fairly.


Our students and their families, indeed all New Yorkers, deserve the kind of schools and the kind of school system that our Mayor and our Chancellor are creating. We can’t put special interests ahead of the interests of children. This Mayor has it right — we need to put our students’ interests first. We urge all New Yorkers to join together to support these reform efforts. These reforms have real promise and will make schools better for the people who matter most: Our children.




Laura Acosta, Executive Director - The Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation

[To see all signatories, go to:

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