Governor Paterson and Secretary Arne Duncan Celebrate "Courage in the Classroom"

August 30, 2010

Governor David A. Paterson today welcomed United States Secretary for Education Arne Duncan to Albany as part of his “Courage in the Classroom” bus tour. Governor Paterson and Secretary Duncan were joined by elected officials and educators to celebrate the award of $696,646,000 in Race to the Top Round II stimulus education funding to New York.


“Secretary Duncan is right to highlight the epic contribution that our nation’s teachers make to the lives of our children and to the health and advancement of our society, and I welcome him today to New York,” Governor Paterson said. “Here in the Empire State we are deeply proud of the educators who bring wisdom, caring, and commitment to classrooms statewide. We look forward to putting to work the Race to the Top Round II funds to ensure that all of New York’s children, from rural communities to our urban centers, have access to the quality education they deserve. I thank President Obama, Secretary Duncan, and New York’s Congressional Delegation for this important investment in our children.”


U.S. Secretary for Education Arne Duncan said: “New York has helped show the country what is possible when adults come together to do the right thing for kids. Every state that applied showed a tremendous amount of leadership and a bold commitment to education reform. The creativity and innovation in New York’s application was breathtaking. We set a high bar and New York met the challenge.”


The $4.35 billion Federal Race to the Top competition is part of the stimulus bill and is designed to reward states that are leading the way in comprehensive, coherent, statewide education reform across four key areas:


• Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace,

• Building data systems that measure student growth and success,

• Recruiting, rewarding and retaining effective teachers and principals, and

• Turning around the lowest-performing schools.


In the first round of the competition, two states, Tennessee and Rhode Island, won awards. While New York was a finalist in Round I, it placed 15th out of the 40 states and the District of Columbia that applied.


Subsequently, in order to strengthen our application for Round II, Governor Paterson negotiated a bill with the Legislature that raised the charter school cap from 200 schools to 460, allowed student test scores to be used in determining teacher tenure, and provided funding for a statewide longitudinal data system. These changes, as well as the increased participation rate by teacher unions, were instrumental not only in New York winning an award, but also placing our State second in overall scoring. In all, nine states and the District of Columbia won Round II grants. New York’s share of the award is $696,646,000.


Secretary Duncan visited Albany today as part of his “Courage in the Classroom” bus tour. As students go back to school, the Secretary is taking a bus tour to visit schools, honor and listen to teachers, meet with parents and students, and highlight success.




The following statements were provided in support of the New York’s education funding award from Race to the Top Round II:


Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke said: “As a Member of the House Education and Labor Committee, one of my top priorities is to ensure that our children have access to quality education. That is why I am very pleased that New York State was awarded $696,646,000 in the second round of the Race to the Top Competition. Investing in our children’s education is crucial to moving this nation forward. We need to ensure that our children have the resources they need to compete on a global scale. It is also important to note that while I am grateful that New York has been awarded these funds, I am concerned that funding competitions like these leave the vast majority of our nation's school systems out in the cold. It is important that we avoid creating winners and losers among our nation's students and understand that any school that is underfunded affects our ability to compete at a global level.”


Congressman Scott Murphy said: “New York’s Race to the Top success is tremendous news for New York State’s schools and students, and a critical step in our effort to prepare our young people to compete in an increasingly global economy. More importantly, this program has leveraged funding to ensure that New York State makes the necessary education reforms to ensure that students will receive the highest quality education. I am confident that this funding, combined with the reforms already undertaken by New York, will go a long way in our efforts to prepare our students to succeed in the 21st century economy.”


Congressman Paul Tonko said: “This Race to the Top funding is a critical investment to support quality education for our children which is necessary if we are to remain a leader in the global economy for future generations, especially in terms of science and technology. Congratulations to Governor Paterson and the New York State legislature for agreeing to reforms that will empower New York’s children and create opportunities for them to become the future leaders who will invent, create and design.”


Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson said: “Our Race to the Top victory is a win for New York’s school children. Now, we have to put those resources to work so all of New York’s children receive the world class education they need to compete in the global economic marketplace. With the right tools, schools will use these resources to close the achievement gap, improve the graduation rate, and give every student the opportunity to be college and career ready. I applaud President Obama and Secretary Duncan for their commitment to education, and I especially want to thank Governor Paterson for his leadership and commitment to improving educational outcomes.”


Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “We are delighted to have a President and an Education Secretary who believe, as we do, that education is the civil right of this new millennium; a moral obligation as well as an economic imperative of our State and our nation. The New York State Assembly is proud to have been a strong, contributing partner in delivering this Race to the Top victory to the children of our State, and to their families.”


Senator Suzi Oppenheimer said: “Nothing is more central to students’ success than the presence of talented, well-trained teachers to guide them. I’m grateful to Secretary Duncan and the Obama Administration for the Race to the Top grant, which will ensure that New York has the resources to implement the education reforms we’ve enacted and fully prepare our teachers and students for the challenges of the 21st century.”