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The State of "State of the City" Speeches


While we await President-Elect Obama's Inauguration speech, here's a look at the rhetoric in ten mayors' "State of the City" speeches over the past year. Can you match the mayor with the quote?

1. We're going to demonstrate how a school community comes together when you give teachers, parents and principals real authority to make decisions in the classroom. We’re going to show how the atmosphere transforms with uniforms and parent contracts, when you instill a culture of discipline and respect. We’re going to show what happens when we set tall goals and raise expectations, when we publish clear benchmarks and hold ourselves accountable. We are going show what is possible when we make our children believe they can do anything.

2. In our schools, we have decreased the achievement gap and increased learning.

3. And on this 80th anniversary of Dr. King's birth and on the eve of the inauguration of our first African-American president, we can all be proud that African American and Latino students are leading the way in the rate of improvement.

4. No one wants to see their school closed, and there was controversy, but the leaders of our schools held their ground because they knew the change would help our kids, especially those with the greatest learning gap. And a year later we are beginning to see the positive results.

5. As adults, we have a responsibility to create hope in the lives of our children.

6. We’re continuing to work with nonprofits like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to double the number of Class of 2010 students graduating from college -- and triple the number for the Class of 2013.

7. Our graduation rate remains dangerously low -- and while they talk about a world class education system, our Legislature slashes nearly a billion dollars in funding for our children. We refuse to accept the growing technology gap between children who will compete in the global economy, and those who, not by their choosing, will watch the world pass them by.

8. In 2007, 55 percent of seniors graduated -- the highest percent age since 1995. This year, we are working towards a goal of 60 percent. Each year, we will be working to increase graduation rates.

9. Anyone who believes in libraries also knows their importance to a major city -- not as monuments to civic pride, but as doors to education and opportunity.

10. All over our City we are seeing educational excellence in public and private schools -- beacons of light, illuminating the way forward.

a. R.T. Rybak, Minneapolis
b, Jerry Sanders, San Diego
c. Thomas Menino, Boston
d. Tom Barrett, Milwaukee
e. Manuel Diaz, Miami
f. Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles
g. Adrian Fenty, Washington, D.C.
h. Cory Booker, Newark
i. Frank Jackson, Cleveland
j. Michael Bloomberg, New York

(Answers in the comments at the end of the day.)


Answer key:

1-f; 2-c; 3-j; 4-a; 5-d; 6-g; 7-e; 8-i; 9-b; 10-h.

Barak Obama understands that as a nation, the United States cannot ignore the educational needs of our students. “These kids syndrome, the tendency to explain away the shortcomings and failures of our educational system by saying that ‘these kids’ can’t learn, or ‘these kids’ don’t want to learn, or ‘these kids’ are too far behind” said Obama. “We are not a ‘these kids’ nation, we’re a ‘our kids’ nation.”

Click here to see the full video.

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