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2006-10-19 / From The Mayor...

From The Mayor's Desk ...

Progress Report Cards Will Hold Schools Accountable

From Day One, improving accountability has been the foundation of our Administration's historic 'Children First' school reforms. By tearing down the system's old patronage-ridden bureaucracy, and setting high expectations for teachers and students, we're turning our schools around, we're helping our children perform at higher levels, and we're closing the achievement gap between poor and minority students and their peers.

Now we are putting the finishing touches on a powerful new tool that will help every one of the city's public schools better fulfill its mission of giving our children the education they need and deserve. It's a brand new report card - but it won't be grading students; it will be grading schools.

Starting this year, more than 330 schools throughout the city are being evaluated in a first, pilot round of progress reports. Then, next year, every school in the city will be graded on reports that will be mailed to every public school parent, as well as posted on the Department of Education's website.

These progress reports will evaluate each school on three key factors. The first, school environment - comprising attendance levels and new satisfaction surveys from parents, teachers and students. Second, student performance - including how many students are meeting and exceeding standards in English and math, and how they compare to other schools - especially those with socially and economically comparable student bodies. The third, final, and perhaps most important factor, is student progress. Are individual students in each school progressing from year to year? If so, by how much? And are struggling students really getting the help they need to gain ground and reach their full potential?

The scores from all three of these areas will be rolled together into an overall grade, ranging from 'A' to 'F.' That's going to give all of our parents the hard, cold facts about which schools in our city are succeeding and which are lagging. Only then, can we truly work together to improve results for all our kids.

I've always believed in the power of data analysis as an incredible management tool. This is the driving force behind Compstat, the NYPD's weekly analysis of crime around the city, which has guided our historic crime fighting success over the past decade. It's also the reasoning behind 311, which is helping us more efficiently address New Yorkers' biggest quality-of-life concerns.

Now, we are going to use data to identify and support the progress being made in our school system, and to hold schools accountable for achievement. No more excuses. No more sweeping problems under the rug. Those schools and principals that actually succeed in improving student performance will be rewarded and those that don't will face consequences. Because when we say we are putting 'children first' we mean it - and measures like this report card will ensure that children - and no one else - always come first in our public schools.

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