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Bloomberg, Walcott outline ed reforms

Bronx Times

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott met with students and administrators at Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science to outline the school reforms the Administration plans on implementing further.

Walcott and Bloomberg came to the school, located at 1595 Bathgate Avenue near East 172nd Street, on Wednesday, January 18. They met with students in High School Physics and English classes and with principal Kenneth Baum before holding a press conference further outlining many of the educational reforms Bloomberg first proposed in his State of the City Address on Thursday, January 12.

Bloomberg chose to highlight the progress of the school, which opened in 2004 and ranks in the 94th percentile for overall progress, with 95.8% of its first class graduating in four years, before speaking about his plans for the educational system. These plans include a program to recruit top college graduates to teach in public schools by offering to forgive up to $25,000 in student loan debt, and another that will reward teachers rated as highly effective for two consecutive years with a $20,000 salary increase.

“The students and teachers we had the opportunity to meet with today are part of a broader story of achievement in our city, but there is so much more to do,” Bloomberg said. “As I said in my State of the City speech last week, we will continue to improve our schools for our 1.1 million students by recruiting, rewarding and retaining the best educators, and providing students with the support they need to thrive. Our administration is not going to stop until there is a great teacher in every classroom and a great school in every neighborhood.”

The administration will step up efforts to remove teachers from the classroom who are ineffective, beginning in 33 of the lowest performing schools in the city’s system where a contract with the United Federation of Teachers should allow the Department of Education to replace up to 50% of the teachers at those schools, Bloomberg said.

The mayor took the time to tout his achievements in the field of public education since taking office in 2002, noting the graduation rates are up 40% in New York City as opposed to 8% in the rest of the state, Bloomberg stated.

The Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science is one of 20 Urban Assembly schools and one of 500 new schools that have been created by Bloomberg’s administration. Walcott said that Baum is an outstanding leader of the school, and he called for “quality teachers, quality teachers, quality teachers.”

“The Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science has created incredible partnerships with their students’ families and built a school where the commitment to learning – and getting students excited about learning – is paramount,” Walcott said. “Under the leadership of a fantastic principal, Ken Baum, the teachers in this school work tirelessly and collaboratively to ensure their students are on track for college, and they are getting outstanding results.”

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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