Opening of Schools

Remarks of Mayor Bill Bogaard
September 4, 2001

I can't tell you how pleased I am to represent the City of Pasadena at the Opening of Schools event.

We all realize that opening of school events are taking place all over southern California, the state, the nation, and even around the world.

I want to come back to that in a few moments because it offers a perspective on the importance of what is getting started in this meeting—the education of young people. But, in Pasadena, as we gather here September 4 th, the year 2001, something unique is taking place. A new superintendent has taken office a month ago. That's a very, very important step, and it completes a foundation for school reform that all of us have been engaged in for several years. It's my feeling that we will look back to this event and say it was an historic event, truly a new beginning for the public schools of the great Pasadena Unified School District. I congratulate you all, and I wish you well.

Last evening, PBS offered the first part of a two-part series on public education. The second part is offered this evening for those who are still going at 9:00 p.m. The producer of that series was interviewed, and she talked about what she intended to do with this series. She said she hoped to move the debate about public education beyond the crisis state that has prevailed to the point where we can deal with the issues in a rational, in a calm, and in an effective way.

She said after all, more than 90% of the young people of the United States of America are educated in public schools, and they're doing pretty well. She went on to say that after years of research for this series, she reached a very confident conclusion—the schools that do well—whether they are public or private—are schools that are guided by a passionate leader.

I believe, based on my opportunity to work with Dr. Clark so far, that we have before us today a passionate leader for the Pasadena schools. I believe that you'll all be convinced of that if you aren't already by the time this program is over.

We also have other ingredients for a great school system.

We have great teachers. We have capable principals. We have dedicated administrators. And we have a strong and a new and a committed Board of Education prepared to lead this reform.

As Mayor of Pasadena, I want to say that there's another important element in this school movement that is underway, and that is the community. I stand here today confident that the City of Pasadena, and I know the other communities that are part of the PUSD, stand ready to help in many important ways.

Pasadena is ready to assist in choosing a new site for a PUSD public school. We want to contribute in important ways to after school programs. We want to make certain that public safety is supporting our young people as they go to and come from schools, and that incidents are dealt with sensitively when there are difficulties requiring police involvement.

We want to share the wonderful cultural institutions that exist in Pasadena with the young people of the PUSD, so that their time in the classroom is enriched by their time outside of the classroom in after school programs and in cultural field trips.

Pasadena intends to play a positive and effective roll in supporting the education of our young people.

I mentioned that there are events like this taking place all over the work. In closing, I want to refer to one event that occurred two days ago. The leader in this case acknowledged that government has shortchanged students and not spent enough on teachers' pay and on financing academic institutions, and he went on to say, "nothing is possible—not building a democratic society, not building a market economy—nothing is possible without educated people".

The person who was speaking to an event like this was Russian President, Vladimir Putin, a leader who expressed a commitment to public education similar to that which we have in the City of Pasadena.

I ask you to remember the importance of your challenge as you go back to your classrooms, as you bring young people along, that we're building the future of this community, of this nation and the world. I wish you well, I admire your work, and I know that you will all do it very well.

Thank you. 

Posted: 9/4/2001 09:05:00 AM
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