DENVER (CBS4)– They all admit they have a lot to learn. The mayors of four cities, including Denver, say they hope to learn from each other when it comes to educating children.

The mayors of Denver, Providence, San Antonio and Sacramento are meeting for a cross country education tour. It’s called M.E.E.T. which stands for Mayors for Educational Excellence Tour.

The tour kicked off on Thursday at the Evie Dennis Campus in Green Valley Ranch.

“I went to public school, got As and Bs, I thought I was a good student. I got a scholarship to Cal Berkeley,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. “I’m sitting in English class by freshman year and they’re talking about this word, euphemism. I had never heard of the word so I get the dictionary and I go to the Us and I can’t find euphemism in the Us… but it wasn’t funny.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Angel Tavares and Johnson said they want to be the faces of the national debate to close the achievement gap.

“When you think about an achievement gap, it’s a crime in this country to have kids that live in a certain zip code, certain color of their skin to have their life outcome and educational abilities determined by the neighborhoods they live in,” said Johnson.

These mayors are all products of public education. They believe M.E.E.T. is a learning tour, an opportunity to find what is working and replicate those successes city by city, school by school.

“This is not just about preparing the workforce of tomorrow but preparing the leaders of tomorrow,” said Tavares.

Hancock said this isn’t about a choice, “See this is not simply something that we want to do, at this point in time it’s a moral imperative that we move quickly as a society to correct these issues.”

“Everything that we do in our city is predicated on what happens with our school systems, everything,” said Johnson.

With the achievement gap being poor overall it’s even worse for Latino and Black students.

“Only 40 percent of our kids of color are testing proficiently in math. That to me should be a call to all of us to step up our sense of urgency to reverse that,” said Hancock.

“There’s always more to do, as long as you have children who want an education, a job, there’s always more to do,” said Tavares.

The fourth mayor involved in the educational tour, San Antonio’s Julian Castro, could not attend Thursday’s kickoff.

The next city on the M.E.E.T. tour is Sacramento followed by Providence and San Antonio.


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