Murray to create new Seattle Department of Education

SEATTLE -- Mayor Ed Murray called the city’s public schools “unacceptable” Tuesday and pledged to create a new Department of Education to help the district change course.

Murray is frustrated that the achievement gap persists between white and minority students, especially during the early years.

“Ninety percent of white fourth-graders read at grade level, compared with 56% of African American students,” Murray said.  “When you open those numbers up by gender, they actually get worse.”

Murray vowed to be the first major city in America to eliminate the achievement gap altogether.

The new Department of Education and Early Learning will oversee the city’s existing school initiatives, including a new pre-school plan, if Seattle voters approve that idea on the November ballot.