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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion

Re: “Our anonymous comments

Commenting anonymously, or with a pseudonym, is an ancient tradition that will outlive City, and maybe even the internet. Anyone challenging gender, race, religious, or economic power status quos may do it at great personal cost. In a different time or place, they could have even been in danger of their lives for speaking truth to power. City and its comment readers will never know if a pseudonym is being used, so the paper won't be able to enforce the naming requirement. Graffiti is known to proliferate in proportion to the degree of repression present in a society. Increase in the amounts of anonymous commenting might be a related phenomenon. If a comment has some truth to it, it shouldn't matter how it is signed, and probably shouldn't be ignored.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Louise Wu on 03/26/2014 at 1:36 PM

Re: “Treatment for a traumatized world

In the 1970s I was living in a university town - Moscow, Idaho - and I was able to take a six-week certification 'class' for 'non-professionals' which addressed all human services [social work, mental health, food, housing, medical, daycare, etc.] available in the county. It was an eye-opener for a 20-something and gave me an edge-up which I have used all my life. Recently I watched an episode of Iyanla Fix-My-Life on OWN which came the closest I've seen to modeling compassionate response in the face of generational trauma: ~~ all of us can play a role in healing.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Barbra Ann on 03/26/2014 at 8:14 AM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

I'm sorry I responded to you the way I did. I thought your comment was very well written, the best. Believe me, I have my own mental health issues so I can empathize. I would actually like to continue this discussion with you in private, but I don't exactly know how to do it. Ask Ms. Towler for my email address, if you want. I'm on Twitter @earlrize_mike, but I'm not sure how much personal information I should be revealing.

Again, I'd really like to hear more from you on this, but in private.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Mike Bruton on 03/25/2014 at 7:40 PM
Posted by Jeremy Moule on 03/25/2014 at 4:10 PM

Re: “Local public health officials encouraged by lead trends

Please post a link to the study!

Posted by RaChaCha on 03/25/2014 at 2:47 PM

Re: “East's problems mirror an unstable district

George-Love that idea of a newspaper creating a repository of all the accountability plans. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, right? (I think you first mentioned it at a CAFEE meeting many moons ago?) It could be a great way to build community engagement in the school improvement process, informed engagement. Each school and turnaround effort is required to create several plans that describe the "how" and set goals. Theoretically, the public has a seat at those tables. Theoretically. There's lots of information to glean from the plans, if you know they exist. City or the D&C could really help elevate the conversation by making it easier to access those documents.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Carrie Remis on 03/25/2014 at 2:27 PM

Re: “RCSD budget: layoffs or not?

Great recap, Tim.

I'm concerned about the move away from In-School Suspension at the smaller K-6 schools. Will those students attend ISS at the larger schools, or does this mark the beginning of a shift toward Out of School Suspension or maybe away from suspension of all types at the elementary level? Are suspension rates increasing or decreasing at the elementary level?

It's disappointing that none of the recommendations that resulted from Commissioner White's work with the advisory groups were included in the first round of the budget. It would have been a smart way for the administration to signal its intentions to work with the new Board leadership and listen to the public better. There's still time, let's hope Commissioner White keeps pushing.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Carrie Remis on 03/25/2014 at 2:00 PM

Re: “East's problems mirror an unstable district

George and Mark: your discussion includes important information that's well worth posting. But it's becoming a personal squabble. That's not the purpose of our comments section. Please address issues, not personalities, and take your personal discussion offline. Thanks.

5 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Mary Anna Towler on 03/25/2014 at 10:49 AM

Re: “East's problems mirror an unstable district

I just noticed that the example I gave is not actually Wilson HS (which unintentionally proves my point!)... All of these ridiculous names to keep track of. Even "Wilson High School" is not "Wilson High School"... no, instead it's the "Joseph C. Wilson Commencement Academy" - whatever that means.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by J on 03/25/2014 at 9:47 AM

Re: “East's problems mirror an unstable district

I'm probably stepping into a hornet's nest here, but what the heck...

Go back to neighborhood schools. Lose the fancy names (e.g. "Rochester Early College International High School"... can't we just call it "Wilson"?). It sounds simplistic, and admittedly I'm far from an education expert, but the so-called "experts" are and have been failing for a very long time. Get back to basics. Kids need a solid foundation (i.e. the ability to read & write) before we can expect anything else of them.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by J on 03/25/2014 at 9:34 AM

Re: “East's problems mirror an unstable district

Thanks for your advice GeorgeOconnor. I'm a big boy and know what to do. I'm sick of folks making statements with no proof or information. Parents should not be part of the negotiation team. I am not sure Urbanski HATED it. Did Adam say that? Weird you would know that. And I agree with you that parents and the people don't have enough power. The negotiating teams should be the RCSD and the RTA. Just as BENTE should not have parents negotiating their contract neither should RTA.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Mark Powers on 03/25/2014 at 6:30 AM

Re: “East's problems mirror an unstable district

Easy there Mark, you can't bully anyone into talking to you.

I think the point about the contract is an interesting one, especially since it riled up a couple of you so much! A few years back, parents had a rep at the collective bargaining table. Urbanski HATED it and Rivera got rid of it, but the board should really think about reinstating it. The problem is not that the union has too much power, it's that the people have too little.

And Macaluso should FOIL those MOUs. Frankly, City should be making all the different accountability plans associated with East and all the priority schools available to the public.

Put the public back in public education! Lift the veil.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by GeorgeOconnor on 03/24/2014 at 8:34 PM

Re: “East's problems mirror an unstable district

Ms. Remis-
One more thing....I did some digging into the link and book you suggested. I happened to notice that the book could not have been written without the backing of The Broad Foundation. The Broad Foundation that produced such RCSD luminaries as Jean Claude Brizard. Oh my. Not only are they guilty of that but Eli Broad and his ilk are virulently anti-union especially teachers' unions. So, recommending that book as a "good resource" is like suggesting you read watch Leni Reifenstahl movies to learn about how compassionate the Nazi Third Reich was to its citizens. A great resource!

3 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Mark Powers on 03/24/2014 at 6:29 PM

Re: “East's problems mirror an unstable district

Ms. Remis-
I'm still waiting for an answer to how the RTA contract "is notorious for it's power to obstruct change". Posting a link does not answer my question. It's very easy for some to throw out phrases that fail under scrutiny. Nor does saying, the Living Contract "results in an almost 24/7/365 state of bargaining" prove anything. Where is your proof? It appears to me and others that the Living Contract means that the parties can negotiate changes to the contract. If anything, it creates a flexibility not seen in a contract that cannot be amended nor changed until formal negotiations begin. And you're assuming (you know what happens when you assume) that the RTA teachers always get what they want. If we did we'd have smaller class sizes and more changes that would help students achieve. I only wish you'd been more thoughtful and been more forthcoming with some answers to our questions. And please, no links, I could bury you in links but it seems so impersonal and lazy.

2 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Mark Powers on 03/24/2014 at 6:18 PM

Re: “East's problems mirror an unstable district

MichaelO- Andy Rotherham's book, Collective Bargaining in Education Negotiating Change in Today's Schools might be a good resource for you. Available at

Posted by Carrie Remis on 03/24/2014 at 1:45 PM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

"If it is worth saying, it is worth signing." I respectfully disagree. Let me give you an example. I have bipolar disorder. This is no secret and it's not something I'm ashamed of. I will come out on internet forums about my illness, but it's not something I want published on City's Letters to the Editors page. People have prejudices about the mentally ill and the poor (thus my 'poverty' comment upthread). As a freelance writer, I would not want potential clients to have the wrong perception. So when City did an article on the mental health system a while back, I had great insight into the system, but I chose to remain silent. I didn't know I could post anonymously, so I didn't contribute to the discussion, By insisting that people use their names, we are effectively silencing others who DO have something worthwhile to say, but for whatever reason, need their privacy protected.

10 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Amy Bown on 03/24/2014 at 11:42 AM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

My mentioning "poverty" was not to imply that it's a "shameful condition". That was poor wording and lazy writing on my part. I simply meant that people who are perhaps not comfortable talking about their lives, for whatever reason, often have the greatest insight into a problem. Perhaps I should have posted that anonymously, because always on the internet, someone will misconstrue your good intentions! Frankly, I feel this argument is a tad elitist. Only people who are willing to go public get to air their views? Yes, the internet is a public forum, which is precisely why some people wish to protect their privacy. There are many legitimate reasons why people prefer to remain anonymous. And putting up with obnoxious posts, which will be moderated anyway, is the price of internet democracy.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Amy Bown on 03/24/2014 at 11:14 AM

Re: “Parsing O'Brien's recent independent streak

Why does "investing" always mean that taxpayers foot the bill so someone can get something for free? How about letting convicts get a college degree but requiring them to pay back the cost of it after they are released from prison, much like a law-biding college graduate has to pay back a student loan?

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Erik on 03/24/2014 at 10:46 AM

Re: “East's problems mirror an unstable district

Ms Remis, the MOUs are what make things flexible based on school need. I cannot speak to whether teachers like the LC or not. I can say that your original post intimated that the contract was the impediment to change. Now in your response to Mark and me, you acknowledge that it has been the catalyst of MOUs. All of which are public documents. FOIL them if you like!
What concessions do you advocate for? Can you please name them? How would those concessions make partners more willing to step up? Please create a logical trail for readers to follow instead of generalizations. We need ideas, what are yours?
What other reasons can one imagine for partners not stepping up?

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by MichaelO on 03/24/2014 at 9:11 AM

Re: “East's problems mirror an unstable district

Mark & MichaelO- My point was that outside partners have not been knocking down the door to work with RCSD. Isn't it time we asked why?

While I can appreciate why teachers like the concept of the Living Contract, the other side of the story is that provision is responsible for an ever-expanding scope of bargaining in Rochester. LC is not just in play at the school level, it's also at the district level and results in an almost 24/7/365 state of bargaining. The results of which are not part of the contract proper, but a mountain of MOUs the public never sees.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Carrie Remis on 03/24/2014 at 8:59 AM

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