This is a critical victory for the children of the City and the State of New York, and for the hardworking families who place their trust in our education system.
On behalf of the New York State Assembly and the Chair of our Education Committee, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, I thank President Obama and Secretary Arne Duncan for acknowledging our commitment to the children in our classrooms and for rewarding our continuing and ardent effort to close the achievement gap, to improve student performance, and to ensure that our students - wherever they live in this state - are well prepared to compete for the jobs and opportunities of the 21st Century.
May I say that this announcement is particularly gratifying to me and to my colleagues in the Assembly Majority.
For most of the last 16 years, we have been fighting alongside the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and leading the charge in state government to ensure the necessary investments are made so that each and every child receives, at the very least, a sound, basic education, including pre-K and smaller class sizes.
What makes this award particularly pleasing is that we did what many said could not and would not be accomplished.
The Executive, the Legislature, the teachers and the parents worked together, we achieved consensus, we thoughtfully and effectively addressed the concerns Washington expressed after receiving our first Race to the Top application, and we won. In the process, we have created a model for guiding and implementing education reform.
Speaking for the Assembly, let me take this opportunity to commend all of the partners in this important endeavor:
First and foremost, Governor Paterson, for providing the leadership needed to make sure the work was done;
We applaud our Board of Regents Chancellor, Merryl Tisch and our State Education Commissioner, David Steiner for their leadership in crafting a Race to the Top application that was worthy of this award.
Clearly, it could not have come at a better time.
These critically needed funds enable us to further drive education reform in this state and put New York State's children in the pole position in this race to the top.
As I have said many times over the years, it is reform plus resources that produces results. Reform plus resources equals results.
We look forward to working with partners here and throughout this state to deliver the results our children need and that our future demands.