Reform Through Accountability
Mayor Rudy Giuliani
the course of my administration, I have consistently emphasized
the need to improve New York City’s schools through a combination
of new initiatives and increased accountability. Although inefficiency
and bureaucratic paralysis have been obstacles in our effort to
successfully reform government run schools, I am pleased to see
that we have swung the debate toward accountability and the importance
of dismantling the Board of Education. Many new initiatives have
been put in place over the last eight years to ensure a better
opportunity in New York City’s classrooms.
I am proud of my administration’s record of implementing many
new academic programs in the classroom. Programs such as Project
Read and Project Science have provided more intensive training
and class time for students – especially for those who are in
danger of falling behind in these crucial subjects. Project Arts
has permanently restored arts education to all City schools for
the first time since the mid 1970’s. The addition of more than
7,000 school computers and funding for 300-book libraries in 21,000
classrooms citywide has similarly improved upon the resources
available to our students. Children are also safer in school now,
thanks in part to the Police Department assuming responsibility
for school security services, the hiring of hundreds of additional
school officers, and the creation of in-school suspension centers
that help enable teachers to enforce discipline in the classroom.
The public-private partnership “Take the Field” meanwhile, has
helped to restore over 50 High School athletic fields, providing
students with a better environment outside the classroom as well.
Over the last eight years, the successful methods of the Police
Department’s Compstat program have been adopted by numerous City
agencies. Through the Capstat program, over twenty different City
agencies now provide up-to-date information and statistics that
help determine whether current tactics and strategies are working
or whether they need to be re-evaluated in order to provide better
service to the public. The vast array of success stories that
these agencies are reporting convince me that New York’s students
would also be far better served by a more transparent school system.
A system where teachers and administrators are held accountable
for their performance and for thoroughly, effectively, and promptly
fixing problems that arise in the classroom.
I do believe that the tide of the debate on education in New York
City has turned toward accountability. We have already successfully
ended social promotion and abolished principal tenure, replacing
them instead with stronger academic standards and performance-based
pay. Much of this year’s Mayor’s race centered on improving education,
and I was extremely pleased to see that both the Republican and
Democratic nominees for Mayor agreed on the need to dismantle
the Board of Education, and to hold the Mayor accountable for
the City’s schools. With this in mind, I am confident that Mike
Bloomberg will build upon our efforts to restore accountability
in the classroom and to raise academic performance standards.
On another note, I have greatly enjoyed sharing my ideas on education
with the readers of Education Update over the past three
years. Publications like this one are valuable assets in encouraging
constructive debate on improving the quality of education. It
is my sincere wish and belief that the trends in thought and the
positive measures that we have furthered over the last eight years
will continue to gain strength and will continue to improve the
lives of New York City’s school children in the years to come.#
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