Mayor Menino Delivers State of the City
Jan 31, 2013
Focus on unleashing human potential through education,
partnerships for learning,
progress for women,
and availability of middle-income housing.
In front of an audience of residents, political leaders, and dignitaries, Mayor Menino delivered his annual State of the City address at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall.
In addition to several other commitments, the Mayor announced:
- $30 million in new funding for underperforming schools;
- a pilot program to bring online learning to Boston’s neighborhoods;
- enhanced public safety partnerships;
Mayor Menino emphasized that the commitment of residents and political leaders to each other, and the City of Boston, will continue to propel the city forward in 2013.
- and several initiatives to achieve equity for women in the workplace.
“Our progress is real. Our future is bright. The state of our city is striking, sound, and strong. Our untapped human potential is enough to power Boston’s growth if we muster the courage and the creativity to unleash it.” - Mayor Menino
Before introducing plans for the City’s future, the Mayor expressed his sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support he has received over the past few months.
The State of the City was the Mayor’s 20th annual address and 15th State of the City address. He has given five inaugural addresses.
[caption id="attachment_9812" align="alignleft" width="245"] . Mayor Menino at the 2013 State of the City[/caption]
Mayor Menino announced the Quality Improvement Fund, a new, $30 million investment for continued improvements to Boston Public Schools.
The Mayor recognized the tremendous work of his External Advisory Committee on School Choice, which will soon make a final recommendation following a year-long community process to transform the way Boston students are assigned to schools. Mayor Menino acknowledged that quality improvement must be taken together with student assignment reform in order for the District to reach new heights.
“The best way to celebrate our accomplishments is not with applause, but with an encore. “I’m fighting to gain the power to extend freedoms in hiring and learning time to many more schools across the district. If a school has to fail before it gets flexibility, it’s not just the school that is failing, it’s us!” - Mayor Menino
In addition to the Quality Improvement Fund, Mayor Menino emphasized his 2012 legislative package:
Making Boston the Premier City for Working Women
According to the US Census Bureau, less than 30% of businesses in Boston are women-owned. While this puts Boston on par with national averages, Mayor Menino acknowledged the numbers fall short of aspirations for the City and its working women. The Mayor announced several proposals as Boston seeks to become the 1st major city in the U.S. to achieve pay equity for women.
- Extending “turn-around” powers and support grants to Level 3 schools, including High-Support Schools;
- Eliminating the cap on In-District charter schools;
- Extending the school day for additional instruction and professional development;
- Leveling the playing field for charter schools and District schools.
“To outshine all cities we must unlock the potential of all of our women. Recent college graduates are earning less than their male classmates in the same jobs and with the same degrees. We can do better than that.” - Mayor Menino
The Mayor’s proposals include:
- Appointing a Women’s Workforce Council: Mayor Menino will appoint a Women’s Workforce Council, the 1st of its kind in the U.S.. With the Mayor, the Council will tackle challenges facing Boston’s working women. 1st priority: the wage gap, as Boston seeks to become the first major city to achieve pay equity for women. The Council will include executives, entrepreneurs, industry and workforce leaders, and young women to represent the next generation.
- Improving access to quality child care: In addition to the investment the City has already made in providing quality early education to more than 2,400 children in Boston Public Schools, Mayor Menino announced a new, $1 million low-interest loan fund to assist family-based early education providers invest in safe, quality child care environments.
Connecting Boston’s Neighborhoods to the Knowledge Economy
Mayor Menino will launch a new pilot, BostonX, that will partner with MIT, Harvard, and edX on an experiment in blended, online learning. BostonX would bring place-based enhancements to online edX learners and would help diminish the skills gap facing Boston residents.
Mayor Menino will first launch BostonX in neighborhood community centers.
The BostonX spots would provide:
- Launching “Women on Main”: A networking program to better connect the City’s female-owned Main Streets businesses and foster peer-to-peer learning, “Women on Main” will enable the City to learn more about the unique challenges of female entrepreneurs and provide them with the tools needed to grow and thrive.
- public computing capacity and basic computer training;
- online learning training; connections – in-person and electronic – to university or community college faculty, staff, and graduate students;
- and services for career counseling and job transitioning.
- The BostonX and edX teams envision then bringing these connections to high school classrooms and public libraries.
“Imagine a day when our community centers are little campuses in their own neighborhoods, full of vibrant groups of neighbors, exchanging ideas and making progress together. This initiative is a first, important step in that direction.” - Mayor Menino
Improving Public Safety
Mayor Menino recognized the comprehensive prevention strategies responsible for another drop in homicides in 2012. Citing recent national and local tragedies resulting from gun violence, Mayor Menino vowed to continue his advocacy for common sense gun reform at the national level.
“Mayor Bloomberg and I will keep working with almost one thousand mayors and over one million Americans. I ask you to stand with us on guns to say enough is enough.” - Mayor Menino
The Mayor also announced the task force responsible for a recent crime sweep in the Bowdoin-Geneva community would extend its work for the rest of the year, emphasizing that those seeking to bring guns and drugs into Boston’s neighborhoods will be brought to justice.
The Mayor announced the City will work with partners to:
- support teens with autism in summer jobs
Boston will adapt to meet the needs of a growing population of seniors – projected to be 100,000 by 2017.
A new effort to make more city services “same day services,” as well as update climate work to reflect the threats the City faces from storms like Sandy.
In the coming year, the City will make 1M SF of city-owned property available for development into homes for middle-class families.
- expand the City’s inclusive after-school programs.