Albany, NY (March 4, 2014)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today addressed a rally thousands of students, parents, teachers, and advocates who traveled to Albany to support charter schools in New York State.
Full Transcript: Gov. Cuomo: "Let’s have a big round of applause for a great assemblyman and a great leader, Karim Camara. And to these elected officials who are up here today, who are going to save charter schools, who are going to show leadership and show what smart government can do, let’s give a big round of applause. Senator Dean Skelos, Senate Jeff Klein, Senator John Flanagan, Senator Ruben Diaz, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, Assemblyman Marcus Crespo, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples, another round of applause.
"You look so beautiful to me. They say it’s cold out here, but I don’t feel cold, I feel hot! I feel fired up! We are going to save charter schools and you’re making it happen by being here today!
"You are here, 11,000 strong. You are braving the cold to stand up for your rights, and Senator Skelos is exactly right: this is the most important civics lesson you will learn, because this is democracy and this is how you make your voice heard. And we are here today to tell you that we stand with you. You are not alone; we will save charter schools.
"You know, Albany is an industry town, and the industry is government and the government programs. And education is treated like an industry. But what you’re saying today is it’s not an industry, and we have to change that culture. Because education is not about the districts and not about the pensions and not about the unions and not about the lobbyists and not about the PR firms – education is about the students, and the students come first.
"We know that too many public schools are failing. Over 200 failing schools – 6% grade level for reading, 5% grade level for math. We need new ideas. Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result. The education industry has said the same thing for decades: more money, and more money, and more money, and it will change. We spend more money per pupil than any state in the nation; we’re number 32 in results. It’s not just about putting more money in the public school system, it’s trying something new and that’s what charter schools are all about.
"Now not every charter school has been great, but overall they have been a great success – like Success Academy in the South Bronx. The third best results in the state; give yourselves a round of applause. That’s why 50,000 parents are on the waiting list, and our point today is parents deserve a choice.
"I am committed to ensuring charter schools have the financial capacity, the physical space, and the government support to thrive and to grow. And with all we do here my friends, education is the top priority for two simple reasons. Number one, every instinct in our body as human beings, as parents, and as citizens says leave this place a better place for our children, and take care of our children. And there is nothing more important for our children than their education, and that’s why we will not compromise.
"Education is what makes the American dream a reality. Education system says you can come here from anywhere on the globe, and we don’t care who you are, we don’t care the color of your skin, we don’t care how much money you have in your pocket – through a public education system you can become anything you want. And that’s why we will make that dream a reality, and you being here today is a tremendous step in the right direction. Thank you and God bless you."