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New York City
September 2001

Revolutionizing Our Schools
By Mayor Rudy Giuliani


It is well known that NYC has enjoyed a historic decline in crime over the past seven years. Less well known is that the principles behind this breakthrough can also be applied to other areas, specifically to improving the quality of our children’s education.

The key factor that enabled us to take back our streets was the CompStat program, in which crime data is collected from all parts of the City and results used to determine how to deploy our police officers. It’s a simple principle: gather accurate data, and use that information to better address the needs of the City. If the statistics show increasing crime in a certain area, we are able to address the situation quickly. It’s all about accountability – with information analyzed on a regular basis, it’s hard to ignore problems.

CompStat has proven so successful that we’ve decided to apply the same approach throughout City government. I unveiled the Citywide Accountability Program – known as CapStat. Just like CompStat, this system will require that agencies provide up-to-date statistics that they need to determine whether current tactics and strategies are actually working. The seventeen agencies adopting the CapStat model range from the Parks to Fire Departments.

However, one agency in the City has so far declined to apply the lessons of CompStat — the Board of Education. I’ve encouraged the Board to adopt its own version of CapStat to improve the management of the school system. To give students and teachers the best chance to succeed, we need to restore the principle of accountability to the classroom, but to date the Board of Education has resisted this effort.

Some people believe that nothing can improve our schools. But many people also believed that nothing could be done to make our City safer. This belief helped to perpetuate the myth that our City was ungovernable, but we’ve shown that a new philosophy of management can transform an entire culture. CompStat has led to an unprecedented drop in crime, with overall crime declining by over 57% from 1993 to 2000 and murder declining 65% in that same period.

There are also those who say that while the CompStat model may work well for a highly regimented agency such as the Police Department, it has no place in other areas of City government. Nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve successfully enrolled 140,000 children and adults into health care through an initiative known as HealthStat. The Administration for Children’s Services has become the model child welfare agency in the country by carefully measuring the performance of caseworkers and supervisors, and by holding them accountable. As a result, the foster care population has been reduced dramatically, and we have more than doubled our child-support collections, with a record $446.9 million collected this year.

CompStat programs have reinvented the way that our City agencies work, and have helped to improve the lives of millions of New Yorkers. The overwhelming success of these programs in a variety of different agencies and contexts indicates that our education system would also benefit greatly from a policy of strict accountability based on the CompStat model.

A CapStat program would sift through the bureaucracy of our school system and expose its failures. The Chancellor and the Board of Education could regularly meet with principals and superintendents to assess the latest statistics regarding student performance and attendance. If results continue to indicate that a certain school is not effectively educating our children, then an explanation and a solution would be required. Instead of letting poor results and mismanagement continue throughout another school year, educators would be forced to swiftly remedy the situation and show improvement over the course of subsequent CompStat meetings. Such accountability meetings are a staple of the Police Department under CompStat, and there is no reason why similar sessions could not be used by school administrators to improve our schools.

ýn addition, by posting these CapStat results on the Internet – as we do with all other City Agencies – parents could log on to the Board of Education’s website and compare the performance of their local public school with other schools in the area as well as schools citywide.

The proven success of CompStat provides an excellent example for our education system to follow. This kind of true accountability would greatly improve the quality of education our children receive. This is an opportunity that our school system cannot afford to pass up. Our teachers – and our children – deserve no less.


Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919. Email: ednews1@aol.com.
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