On behalf of the New York State Assembly and especially the Chair of our Education Committee, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, as well as Assemblyman Sam Hoyt and our Buffalo Delegation, I welcome you to Albany and to the State Capitol.
Thank you for returning the favor. You see, I had the privilege of visiting Secretary Duncan in Washington.
We commend you for your leadership on behalf of the students and the teachers in America's classrooms.
We are delighted and proud to have once again an Education Secretary who believes 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.
That said, we thank you and we thank President Obama for recognizing New York with a Race to the Top award.
We thank our outstanding Congressional Delegation, represented here by Congressmen Paul Tonko and Scott Murphy, as well as Senator Charles Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who could not be here, for their highly effective and tireless advocacy for the children and the hardworking families of our state.
Certainly, this federal program was a catalyst. It brought us together you might say as a "pit crew" for our children in this race to the top. Together, we achieved consensus:
Governor Paterson, the Legislature, Mayor Bloomberg, our Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Education Commissioner David Steiner, the United Federation of Teachers and their President Michael Mulgrew, and of course, our parents.
We thoughtfully addressed the concerns with our first Race to the Top application and we not only won, we created a model for guiding and implementing education reform.
We are particularly gratified in the New York State Assembly, because, for the last 16 years, we have been leading the fight for education reform and education investment, for higher standards, for universal pre-K, for smaller class sizes, and for professional development for our teachers.
Clearly, this award will fuel our efforts as a state to improve student performance, to close the achievement gap, and to prepare our students for the challenges of this innovation-based economy.
Our mantra has always been a simple one: Reform plus Resources Equals Results. They are the three "Rs" of the 21st Century.
With our Race to the Top award, we will be able to advance education reform in our state and help our children gain the knowledge that they need to become the self-fulfilled, economically empowered, leaders and innovators, teachers and producers of tomorrow.
Yes, there is much work to be done, but we look forward to the challenge.
May I close by saying how great it is to have a real partner in the White House, once again.
Thank you, Secretary Duncan, welcome and know that you can always visit us with or without a big check.