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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Urban Journal

Re: “It's not East High's fault

Mr. Bruton,

Thank you for your REALISM. You are absolutely CORRECT, and I wish potentially dangerous , super-liberals, like Ms. Towler, would stop attempting to convince people to continue chasing pipe-dreams.

1 like, 39 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 04/01/2014 at 9:17 AM

Re: “It's not East High's fault

Maybe Maggie Brooks will help Lovely Warren break up the concentration of poverty. That ain't gonna happen.

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by Mike Bruton on 03/28/2014 at 6:07 PM

Re: “It's not East High's fault

How about we hold parents accountable for neglect..lack of support or interest in THEIR child's education. Parents that don't respond to calls..letters or attempted visits from school staff..parents who don't check their child homework much less bother to look in their bookbagd with weeks or months worth of work and notices..parents that care more about fashion and cool gear rather than the fact that their child cannot read or do math at grade level..parents that refuse to accept that they have raised disrespectful..spoiled..lazy children that they can hardly handle yet expect teachers to turn classrooms full of them into geniuses...and let's not speak of those that will never miss a chance to scream obscenities at their child's pop warner football game yet will not show their face at a meeting for their child..THAT IS THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM..you wonder why other programs and districts work?? Its not then money or lack of...its thay when you hold parents and children accountable first..all others will follow.

47 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by midge1824 on 03/27/2014 at 4:41 PM

Re: “It's not East High's fault

How about a metro district with integrated schools?
Works in Raleigh NC.

http://www.amazon.com/Hope-Despair-American-City-Schools/dp/0674060261/

2 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by rocparent on 03/27/2014 at 3:04 PM

Re: “It's not East High's fault

It is interesting that you note PreK is a potential positive and it will be if the program focuses on building the social, emotional and basic developmentally appropriate academic skills but the name of the game in the district now is Core Knowledge and NYEngage curriculum. Couple these two with the pressure of Common Core and we will likely see PreK students being taught using methods that would more closely resemble Catholic schools 50 years ago. Get it or get out. Nothing the district seems to do lately makes any sense so more resources may not mean a thing.

East as brick and mortar may not be the problem but the people in it as well as everyone who works for the district and the whole community are the problem. We all know how bad the schools are and yet no one is marching or banging on district doors. The people in East could have told their story but they are justifiably afraid of losing their jobs. Unfortunately fear driven complacency in the face of injustice is not acceptable. It is immoral and everyday the citizens of this community turn the page or look the other way we are condoning the injustice.

The district has the power and resources to make all of their schools better. They may not become the Harley School or compete with the best suburban schools but every Rochester City school could be dramatically better. There are well known organizational best practices that are found all around the world that we can implement but this is not done. Why not? Because innovation often requires autonomy and with this freedom comes confidence. School staff might wake up one day and ask themselves why they need a central office or union at all. This scares the hell out those currently in command.

There is no good reason at all that the district does not have a portfolio of alternative schools like Boston's Pilot schools. Leaders do not promote these because schools that have unique and more successful programs (SOTA, School of Inquiry, School Without Walls and others) also have engaged parents who are likely to hold teachers and administrators accountable. This is the other fear. Great schools often encourage and develop strong parents and nothing is more powerful than a few hundred angry parents.

You want to fix East? You want to make other schools better? Put an ad in the paper that challenges people in the community to take over schools but promise them there would be no ties to the unions and central office. They could pick and choose their support systems and the kinds of relations they have with other groups. The line would be from here to Buffalo. To fix the schools we need to remove all of the dirty cooks who currently control the kitchen.

3 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Gotta Say It on 03/26/2014 at 6:53 PM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

This Thomas Jefferson quote pretty much sums up how I feel about this issue: "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

Facebook doesn't allow anonymity. A trend (growing?) in online comment sections is for Facebook to verify a person's identity. The result that I've seen, is that the contents of the comments are so watered down, they are meaningless. And the name and photo of a person is pretty much useless since practically nobody knows who they are anyway. The reader gets to participate, but fear, via the Facebook connection stifles any real discourse.

I'm not on Facebook, but if it's causing people to be afraid to freely express themselves, then I don't understand how this is good for liberty.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Mike Bruton on 03/26/2014 at 5:40 PM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

I seldom comment anonymously. I am retired and cannot be harmed by possible repercussions that way. I reconsider what I write before I post because I know I will attach my name to it, usually. I argued with MATowler about moderating the comments until I looked at unmoderated comments sections which permitted anonymous posting, ugh!

I post in many forums under the handle "xctraveler" but anyone interested can go to the profile section and learn my name. The options as I see it are to ban anonymous posting in which case many people will create pseudonym accounts or to moderate the postings. In either event only the publisher has freedom of speech and that is as it should be and as the constitution intended. Anyone can begin their own publication if they want unmuzzled freedom to rant on.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Paul Goldberg on 03/26/2014 at 2:24 PM

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: “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

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: “Our anonymous comments

I find it troubling that someone would think of poverty as a shameful condition. A super rich CEO escaping a nosediving company with a golden parachute is someone I would expect to be wanting to hide under a rock.

Furthermore, victims that need real help are not going to be able to get it by going online with their story while remaining anonymous. They should be emboldened enough to contact the police or some other agency with all the information, INCLUDING their name.

I am concerned that some people are erroneously assuming that the anonymous contributors are downtrodden in some way. I suspect that it's the opposite that is true. Wouldn't it be more appropriate for someone with a well-known name to use a psyeudonym.

I think the conversation on unions would have been badly one-sided without the psyeudonym using regulars. I do understand how unfair it seems for one side to be able to speak with impunity while the others always must consider their reputation.

This is a complicated and important issue. It would be wise to spend more time on it.

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Mike Bruton on 03/24/2014 at 1:42 AM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

Often, the people who need to remain anonymous are the ones we need to hear from most. For example, a person who is mentally ill and has great insight into the mental health system, but doesn't want their workplace to know of their illness. Or someone who works in a political office, but doesn't want to jeopardize their job. Or someone who was a former addict, or who was in an abusive relationship, or who live s in poverty. It's not who said it that's important, it's what's being said. If we are only to hear only from the people who sign their name, then we are potentially shutting out voices that need to be heard. To ignore them is akin to censorship, and is the very opposite of what the internet is all about.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Amy Bown on 03/23/2014 at 2:53 PM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

I am always drawn toward comment sections to know what people are thinking and to read other points of view. Just as often I am repulsed by them when comments descend into personal attacks or wild flights of illogic or ideologue.

But experience has shown me that neither helpful discussion, nor useless rant and drivel are exclusive to either the anonymous or to the public contributor.

Therefore, and for the added reason that contributors can fear retribution, job threat, etc., I accept the annoyances (or worse) that allowing anonymous commenters poses, in trade for the great value that anonymous contributors sometimes add.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michael Brisson on 03/23/2014 at 10:36 AM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

Newspapers should not assume that all commenters have Facebook accounts. I don't have one.

I sign comments with my real name, but if City Newspaper set up their online comments like the D&C, I would stop submitting comments. Therefore, I withdraw my earlier position to eliminate the anonymous comments.

Also, I'm now realizing that there are many different legitimate reasons for wanting anonymity. My only hope is that the increasing numbers that go anonymous unnecessarily, can be encouraged to change.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Mike Bruton on 03/22/2014 at 9:51 PM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

I speak as a person who was a target of a terribly mean-spirited diatribe of completely unfounded and hateful commentary on TOPIX some years ago. At the time, I was an organizing leader opposing a big-box development proposed within an area zoned exclusively for residential development and farming. Our community was divided in a very public debate. Many of the comments were horribly offensive and it is difficult to understand how any person can stoop to such a lowly level, even when protected by the cloak of anonymity. Although consideration of the sources made it easy to disregard such behavior, I do not feel that such commentary fostered anything constructive. To the contrary, it served to detract from a worthwhile debate as emotions heightened over irrelevant drivel.

Yet, as Mary Anna points out in "Our anonymous comments," there are many instances when individuals can and will contribute constructive opinion when they do not feel that their employment, friendships or other important standings may be threatened or even harmed because their identity is protected.

Thus, I prefer that an avenue for anonymous comment be kept alive, so long an investment in prepublication editorial review is possible. A 'managed' forum will foster spontaneous participation and will permit the airing of many opinions but also provides a mechanism to snuff out personal attacks and other worthless rude, crude or just plain inappropriate content that may detract from productive discussion.

Thank you for seeking input on this timely topic.

9 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by My2Cents on 03/21/2014 at 3:28 PM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

A large part of why I visit this site and read City Newspaper articles is to read the comments. I used to visit 13wham quite often, but once they removed the ability to comment, I stopped. The quality of discourse on the D & C website took a huge dive once they required facebook login. I believe that allowing anonymous comments lets readers share information and insight that they would not feel safe/comfortable sharing if they had to disclose their identifty. There is value in this information, and it's up to me as reader to sift through and make that determination. I frequent this site, I would visit much less frequently (if at all) if the ability to comment anonymously were taken away. Frankly, I'm more concerned about sweeping generalizations and name calling that some of your courageous (named!) readers employ...

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by swk on 03/21/2014 at 3:15 PM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

I ignore comments by anonymous because they are the worda of cowards who have more to hide than they have comments to express.

1 like, 15 dislikes
Posted by Tom Janowski on 03/21/2014 at 10:52 AM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

Let anonymous continue to post comments. I will continue to ignore them.

1 like, 15 dislikes
Posted by Tom Janowski on 03/21/2014 at 2:22 AM

Re: “Our anonymous comments

This is an interesting and important discussion. As I write this, I am sorting out my support for or against anonymity in posting comments. By the time I reach the end of this post, I'll have to decide if/how I'll sign my contribution to the discussion.

I will start by agreeing with Proudly Anonymous when s/he said: "An idea or argument should stand or fall on its merits, not on the biography or personality or popularity of the speaker." Knowing who said something may add context to the statement, but the "who" should not supersede the "what" in our decision on whether to accept or reject the point being made.

Along that line, I think we need to be careful in attributing a rationale to someone's decision on associating his/her name with an opinion. Fear and courage, risk and benefit are very personal conditions. While I try to empathize, it's impossible for me to know the personal circumstances that lead to the decision on signing a post. From that perspective, I won't judge the content on the basis of the person's choice on disclosing her/his identity.

I am personally disturbed by the increase in vitriolic commentary, but I don't see an absolute correlation between tone and anonymity. I've seen logical and respectful comments made by unnamed contributors (some examples are in this thread) and I have seen people willing to add their names to hateful and hurtful statements.

After all that, it seems I'm more inclined to judge a person based on their statements than I am to judge a statement based on who said it.

12 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Greg on 03/20/2014 at 6:00 PM

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