New York

Bloomberg touts selective schools again on weekly radio show

Wrapping up a week that he started by visiting a citywide gifted school that had top test scores, Mayor Bloomberg again touted the fact that 22 of the state’s 25 highest-scoring schools are in New York City during his weekly radio address on Sunday.

As we reported last week, the vast majority of the top-rated city schools heavily screen their students, raising questions about how much their success can be attributed to Bloomberg’s education policy.

Bloomberg’s full comments, as prepared for delivery, are below:

MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES PROGRESS MADE IN NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS SINCE 2001 IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS

The following is the text of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, September 22, 2013.

            “Good Morning.  This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.”

“For decades, it was taken for granted that New York City’s public schools could not compete with schools in the rest of the state.  But our Administration refused to accept that idea.  Our core philosophy when it comes to education has always been that if we raise our expectations, our kids will meet them.  And now, after 12 years reforming our once-broken school system, it’s clear that our hard work has paid huge dividends for our students.”

“That’s because New York City’s schools aren’t just competing with schools in the rest of the state, we’re outperforming them.  Twenty-two of the top 25 elementary and middle schools in the state are in New York City –including seven schools that were created during our Administration.  When we came into office 12 years ago, not a single school that ranked in the state’s top 25 was located within the five boroughs.”

“That’s a remarkable turnaround.  And last Monday, senior leaders in our Administration visited all 22 of our top schools to thank students, teachers, and principals for reaching such a major milestone.  We’re not going to rest, though.  We’re continuing to work every day to make sure all our schools are at the front of the pack.  And we’re doing that in a number of key ways, including three that I’ll briefly mention.”

“First, we’re continuing to create hundreds of new schools – which have given parents more quality school choices.  Our Administration opened 76 schools this fall alone.  We have now created a total of 654 new schools – that’s more than a third of the entire public school system.  It’s the greatest number of new schools created by any Administration in the City’s history.  At the same time, we’ve also given parents real information about all schools, so they can make informed choices.”

“Second, we’re continuing to improve the quality of classroom education.  This year, for the first time, we’re implementing our new teacher evaluation system, which will mean more rigorous evaluations for teachers – and also provide teachers with more targeted support and professional development.”

“And third, we’re creating dynamic new course offerings that reflect the changing 21st century economy.  For example, this month the Department of Education launched a software engineering course at 20 schools in grades six through nine.  Students at these schools will be able to receive comprehensive computer science and software engineering instruction.  And many of the new courses will help students earn certifications, which employers value in their hiring decisions.”

“Achieving success begins with expecting success.  By raising standards for our students and making the investments necessary to help them succeed, our City’s schools are now leading the way for the rest of the state.”

“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.  Thanks for listening.”

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”

 

Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”

 

Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”

 

Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”

 

Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”

 

Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”

moving forward

After Confederate flag dispute at Colorado football game, schools pledge to bring students together

PHOTO: Marc Piscotty
Manual High students.

Acknowledging “we may never have a conclusive picture of what happened,” two Colorado school districts sought to move past a controversy over whether a Confederate flag was displayed at a football game and open a conversation between the two school communities.

The principal of Manual High, Nick Dawkins, wrote in a community letter over the weekend that the visiting Weld Central High School team “displayed a Confederate flag during the first quarter of the (Friday night) game, offending many members of the Manual community.”

Officials from Denver Public Schools and Weld County School District Re-3J released a joint letter Tuesday saying that based “on what we have learned to date, however, the Weld Central team did not display the Confederate flag.” At the same time, it said, multiple Manual eyewitnesses “reported seeing spectators who attempted to bring a Confederate flag into the game and clothing with flag images.”

Going forward, students from the two schools — one rural and one urban — will participate in a student leadership exchange that has student leaders visit each other’s schools and communities to “share ideas and perspectives,” the letter says.

“At a time in our country when so many are divided, we want our students instead to come together, share ideas and learn together,” says the letter, which is signed by the principals of both schools and the superintendents of both school districts.

The alleged incident took place at a time when issues of race, social injustice, politics and sports are colliding in the United States, making for tough conversations, including in classrooms.

Weld Central’s mascot is a Rebel. Manual, whose mascot is the Thunderbolts, is located in one of Denver’s historically African-American neighborhoods.

Dawkins in his initial community letter also said “the tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field,” and that three Manual players were injured, including one who went to the hospital with a leg injury. He also said some Manual players reported that Weld Central players “taunted them with racial slurs.”

Weld Central officials vehemently denied that their team displayed the flag. In addition, they said in their own community letter they had “no evidence at this point that any of our student athletes displayed racially motivated inappropriate behavior.”

They said district officials “do not condone any form of racism,” including the Confederate flag.

Weld Central fans told the Greeley Tribune that they didn’t see any Confederate flag.

Read the full text below.