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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News Blog

Re: “ROC the Future is moving forward

"Gotta Say It" --- you on point (dead right) --- with one exception, i.e., ..I don't think "spending 50 million of its overflowing savings, building [ANOTHER] small, K-12 charter school that is directly linked to the surrounding community agencies" is a solution. Instead, here (below) is what I am unequivocally convinced is needed:

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the seven (7) point platform below represents an objectively correct, and clear direction for our children and families.

1. Establishing relevant, broad-based, parent, student and community engagement at every level of the system, and throughout the community (movement)

2. Addressing / ending systemic, social promotion

3. Development / Implementation of effective, authentic, alternative educational models

4. Systemic change regarding standardization (in order to produce a new reality, in which the overall, initial focus is on properly and adequately laying the academic foundation upon which all else is built)

5. Addressing / reducing systemic / institutionalized racism, and establishing cultural equity

6. Working for relief from federal and state mandates (increased autonomy, and local / community control)

7. Reducing / mitigating the impact and effects of concentrated, widespread poverty (equitable resource acquisition and efficiency, which includes rooting out massive waste, and possibly fiscal mismanagement, malfeasance and corruption)

Rationale: There is a dire need to work collaboratively and cooperatively with parents, grandparents, guardians, students, other family members, committed educators, Board members, and anyone else who is serious about widespread change and improvement within the RCSD --- in the process of building an ongoing movement, which I am thoroughly convinced will be necessary in order to produce substantial change and improvement. Of course, any credible movement must necessarily center around concrete issues and conditions that are negatively impacting our children and families. Those include, but are not limited to the following:

- the need to get focused (with laser-like precision) on the foundational academic development of our children --- by doing everything that we possibly can to make certain that they master literacy skills and knowledge --- that is, reading, writing, math skills and knowledge at or above grade level (right from the very beginning), which is one of the most important reasons why we must address / change the standardized testing process, i.e., because it is driving everything that happens at the classroom level, and deprives teachers and support staff of the necessary time and energy to concentrate on developing foundational skills and knowledge. Instead, largely because of state and federal mandates, rules, regulations and policies --- teachers find themselves (more and more) teaching narrowly to tests. There is no mystery surrounding the reason why so many of our children don't do well on tests. It's because they don't have adequate reading, writing, and math skills, which again represents the very foundation of all knowledge, and which is necessary for them to be able to master higher-order knowledge and skills --- such as critical and analytical reading, writing and thinking. So, I'm saying, if we lay the foundation properly, then we won't have to worry so much about tests. If the proper foundation has been laid, then the testing issue will take care of itself (as long as that which is being tested, is fundamentally the same as that which is being taught). So there are two issues wrapped up together: 1) the need for more local control (as opposed to far too many dictates from the state and federal governments, and 2) the need to free teachers and support staff up --- so that they will have the time and energy to focus, again, with laser-like precision, on laying the academic foundation upon which all knowledge and skills-development is built. This issue is even more important when we consider that huge numbers of our children enter the system lagging far behind their middle class peers --- right from the very beginning.

The latter referenced issue is clearly among the most important of all issues we face, and is connected to another issue, i.e., the issue of widespread, concentrated poverty. Please don't misunderstand me regarding this critically important issue. I do not subscribe (under any circumstances) to any theory or idea about children not being able to learn because they live in poverty. If this was the case, many whom I've known (as children of migrant farm workers) would be among the most uneducated people on earth. On the other hand, for us to stick our heads in the sand (as an ostrich would do), and pretend that issues and conditions that often come along with abject poverty ---does not impact our ability to educate well --- is frankly ridiculous, but the main point is that we need to do all we can to make sure we have the necessary, equitable, resources to provide whatever our children need in order to develop to their full potentials, which is currently not the case, and to be honest, in order to secure such necessary resources probably will require a struggle and a fight (politically speaking). As you probably know, often those who need less --- actually get more --- because they are well organized and very effective advocates for their children (often exclusively). The other side of this coin is, we must make sure the vast amount of resources that we do receive (nearly $800 million dollars) are being utilized efficiently and effectively, which obviously is not the case currently, and which raises another issue, i.e., rooting out massive waste, and possibly fiscal mismanagement, malfeasance and corruption, which is currently occurring in the RCSD.

Two other critically important issues, which we must deal with are 1) the need to address individual and institutionalized / systemic racism and the establishment of cultural equity relative to curricula, hiring and retention practices, as well as other ways, including revisiting a number of existing policies and practices. I realize this is a sensitive issue, but it is one that we cannot shy away from. It needs to be addressed; 2) it is amply clear that traditional educational approaches and systems will not work for many of our students, especially many of those who have been shuffled through the system via the criminal practice of social (age) promotion. Therefore, we must get serious about developing authentic, alternative models of education.

In my humble, but staunch view, probably not much of this will get done unless and until we build a deadly serious, ongoing, movement of parents, grandparents, guardians, students, extraordinarily committed educators, politicians, including and especially Board members, and anyone else who is really serious about widespread, fundamental change and improvement --- working cooperatively, collaboratively and constantly around concrete, well defined, measurable goals strategies and tactics, which is in essence what a movement is.

2 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 10/17/2014 at 3:46 PM

Re: “ROC the Future is moving forward

We have heard all of this over and over. Why doesn't the group spend 50 million of its overflowing savings, build a small, K-12 charter school that is directly linked to the surrounding community agencies? Replicate the Harlem Children's Zone. That could serve as a model and more would be learned than another study or task force. The needy in Rochester are not being helped by these efforts. The sad reality is that the people involved with these initiatives like to help from afar without getting their hands dirty-so sad.

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Gotta Say It on 10/17/2014 at 12:46 PM

Re: “Sheriff's Office to get body cameras

According the Gates Police department they've utilized these camera's since 2007 AFTER a Gates resident filed charges against 2 officers.
It's widely known that a Rochester resident was brutalized on March 27, 2009 and Gates police, court and numerous others conspired to HIDE video and audio footage surrounding this case.

Camera's are absolutely necessary to protect citizens, and if one purposely hides evidence in video it's a major RED FLAG.

Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by Police Brutality is Real on 10/16/2014 at 11:04 AM

Re: “Cuomo talks Moreland Commission on Charlie Rose

I don't believe Cuomo has been saying this all along about disbanding the Moreland Commission once ethics reform was passed. Rather, he dodged media for weeks if not months. Someone finally figured out a cleaver way for Cuomo to answer this question. Thanks, focus groups and political consultants! Nothing to see here, folks....

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tim Altier on 10/16/2014 at 12:56 AM

Re: “Week Ahead: Symposium on poverty; Oak Orchard watershed; higher education forum; coffee and conversation

Mr. Johnston, thank you for your corrections and great data.

2 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Troll Whisperer on 10/15/2014 at 10:13 PM

Re: “Astorino talks tax plan in Rochester stop

"Living beyond its means and relying on gimmicks disguised as tax relief". Hmm, like how we always hear someone at West Main St. talk about maintaining the property tax RATE, which isn't the same thing as actual taxes paid? Tax assessments keep getting hiked year after year or "one shots" like state aid and tobacco settlement money are used to balance the budget (or things are just cut). Anything to avoid raising taxes. Even if that means the county may be bankrupted by 2020. Not that Maggie cares anymore. She's term-limited and isn't going to run for Louise's seat again. She'll just enjoy her pension and accumulated earnings of almost $1.5 million, on top of her husband's pension and salary.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by steve on 10/15/2014 at 5:31 PM

Re: “Astorino talks tax plan in Rochester stop

Kind of rich that Maggie suggests that the state uses gimmicks to finance... out of all the county execs, she would know a finance gimmick to make her finance numbers work. Maybe she wants credit for thinking of the gimmicks first?

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Watcher on 10/15/2014 at 3:32 PM

Re: “Week Ahead: Symposium on poverty; Oak Orchard watershed; higher education forum; coffee and conversation

Johnny,

I am sure much of my work going back 48 years has made some people very unhappy, especially those who went to prison, lost their jobs or lost election to an office for misconduct or whose subsidies or tax favors were halted. It has also brought joy to the innocent wrongly accused or convicted of things they did not do, the honest being punished for resisting demands that they look the other way and taxpayers who were saved from costly policies, including the more than a quarter of a trillion dollars (over just the first ten years) of tax dodges stopped because of my reporting.

I correct all errors promptly and forthrightly. If you find factual mistakes please contact me at davidcay@me.com. As for roundedness, please advise what facts you think I am not putting on the table.

You err in asserting I teach two days a week for a six-figure paycheck at U of R -- I teach one day a week for five figures at Syracuse. Also, its "spiel," not "speal."

As for whether I "earn" my paycheck, student evaluators consistently give very high marks to my Syracuse law and graduate business school courses on the law of the ancient world and some have said it was the most informing course they ever took; at USC in LA, where I taught once a week for eight years, students rated courses based on value received for their tuition. One year my journalism course was ranked #1 value in the entire undergraduate college. Other top schools have recruited me, and some hire me for lectures, so evidently their deans feel my teaching adds value.

Troll Whisperer, thanks for the kind words. The top 1% in 2012, based on tax returns, started much lower than you wrote. The 1% began at $394,000, with half of those reporting less than $612,000 of adjusted gross income.

Measuring only pay for work (wages, salaries, bonuses, stock option profits) the top 1% starts at $250,000 and the top half of 1% starts at less than $400,000. Half of workers earned less than $27,500 in 2012 and 92.6% were paid less than $100,000.

3 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by davidcayjohnston on 10/15/2014 at 8:14 AM

Re: “Siena Poll puts Funke well ahead of O'Brien in Senate race

Ted is familiar with the Monroe County part of his district but apparently not with the Ontario County part. If he was he would have known that his vote for the SAFE Act would turn any rural voters who voted for him two years ago against him. If he had voted no or abstained he might be heading for a second term. Voting yes went against at least half of his constituency. A drive to Naples shows the proof with anti-SAFE Act signs lining the roads. Ted believes in the SAFE Act, fine, but it's hard to believe he didn't know what a hornet's nest it would stir up in the rural southern half of his district.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jim Harte on 10/15/2014 at 2:40 AM

Re: “Week Ahead: Symposium on poverty; Oak Orchard watershed; higher education forum; coffee and conversation

Um, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting, author of five critically lauded books, working his way up the ranks as an investigative reporter, staring as a teen, authoring an enormous number of quality pieces, to name just a couple of things based on, you know, merit; earning, not "earning." Oh and a six figure salary gets you in the top 20%; to get into the top 1% means making well over half a million per year. And if Johnston does, more power to him. Whatever he makes he has earned through hard work.

4 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Troll Whisperer on 10/14/2014 at 9:36 PM

Re: “Week Ahead: Symposium on poverty; Oak Orchard watershed; higher education forum; coffee and conversation

David Cay Johnston must be the biggest blowhard in the world. First, he's one of the 1%ers, "earning" a 6 figure salary at UR to teach 2 classes per week. Second, all he does is contribute to the problem of income inequality by doing nothing but pissing people off. He only states one side of the story. Put ALL of the facts on the table and his whole speal goes away.

8 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by johnny on 10/14/2014 at 8:10 PM

Re: “NYSUT sues state over Common Core tests

They cannot release test questions due to "test security ".
Which means students cannot view their tests to see where they went wrong. Which means students cannot learn a single thing from these tests. And as a parent- you have no idea where your student is string and where they are weak. Remember when you brought your tests home and your parents sat down at the dining room table and went over it with you ? Remember that. "Aha " moment when you realized what you'd done wrong- and how to do it right?
Those days are gone. No viewing the test. No learning from your mistakes. No ability for parents to participate and help their kids. God help am education system that completely removes parents playing a role in teaching their kids. The disregard for the benefit of involved parents is nothing short of mind blowing.
I love how common core boasts that the system will now equalize education "regardless of the zip code". At least on this front common core pushers actually are telling the truth: Now every child, regardless of where they live, is left to their own devices. Now NO child has the benefit of involved parents.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris on 10/11/2014 at 11:12 PM

Re: “NYSUT sues state over Common Core tests

The official claim of common core is that the purpose of this massive testing is so that teachers, parents and students can see where students are falling short and get immediate intervention where needed. But the tests cannot be seen ? Then what in the world is the purpose of the test? I would really like to know the answer to that question.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris on 10/11/2014 at 11:02 PM

Re: “NYSUT sues state over Common Core tests

The entire common core and testing was put in our schools behind the backs of parents, so you have to ask your self why? We see the damage done from common core and insane testing every day. I am thankful many teachers are standing against common core and testing in our state.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rosemary Martin on 10/11/2014 at 11:38 AM

Re: “Groups target sub-minimum wage for tipped restaurant workers

If a waitress makes $5 an hour and brings in $10 in tips, then that's $15. It means that customers are paying two thirds of her salary. Everyone should realize that tipping is essential and NOT an extra bonus for good service.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Mike Bruton on 10/10/2014 at 11:12 AM

Re: “NYSUT sues state over Common Core tests

Possibly the best and most thoroughly researched anti-Common Core presentation to date. [54 minute video]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w4xD7nzLD8&feature=youtu.be

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by John Eppolito on 10/10/2014 at 6:41 AM

Re: “Siena Poll puts Funke well ahead of O'Brien in Senate race

The problem with O'Brien is that he has yet to introduce himself again to voters. Yeah, he's a state senator. BIG deal. Most people in Rochester barely know who the governor is and routinely have no clue who's their congressional representative (everyone ALWAYS has assumed it's Slaughter, even before her redistricting, when Monroe County was carved into four separate districts).
Funke has the advantage b/c he's a well-known media "personality", whereas O'Brien who is a good decent man, is being tagged as an "Albany politician". The response to that should be: News flash, when you are in the state legislature, it meets in Albany. And when you are elected to political office, you're a politician. If you want to serve people, go wait on the elderly at a retirement home. When you are in politics, you are a politician. O'Brien was the county Democratic chairman for two years, a county legislator for eight years (the legislative minority leader for the last two years) and a state senator for the last 22 months. O'Brien should be re-elected b/c he deserves it.

5 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by sean on 10/07/2014 at 9:56 AM

Re: “Siena Poll puts Funke well ahead of O'Brien in Senate race

My I offer an opinion... O'Brien will be getting my vote because he has specifically identified where he stands on all the issues in his district. O'Brien has experience and a track record. Funke has no track record; has never been involved in Govt'; was chosen by his party because he has a track record in broadcasting without any experience in Govt' policy or planning. Funke may win but he has no experience. So ask yourself one question...do you want experience or popularity. I'll take O'Brien's experience.

Craig R. Moffitt

9 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by crm135790 on 10/07/2014 at 7:47 AM

Re: “Siena Poll puts Funke well ahead of O'Brien in Senate race

Riche Funke decides voters are not important....he misses another debate.

5 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Tom Janowski on 10/07/2014 at 6:35 AM

Re: “Siena Poll puts Funke well ahead of O'Brien in Senate race

"Funke does not show up at debates, therefore I conclude he does not respect voters"

Ted O'Brien votes for (rubber stamps) Cuomo's 'NY SAFE ACT' no input from constituents and no debate or discussion. He's the one who does not respect the voters. Pack your bags and clean out your desk, Ted!

14 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Bart on 10/07/2014 at 6:19 AM

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