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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News Blog

Re: “Perception of city crime, police performance varies depending on who you are and where you live

What are they trying to achieve by splitting the department up from 2 to 4 or 5?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Stephen Ora on 02/14/2014 at 9:44 AM

Re: “Students' fights may be Vargas's biggest challenge

In school suspensions and a joke and everyone knows it. The same parents whose kids are tearing up the classrooms love in school suspension. A free meal and intense baby-sitting instead of the trouble being at home for a parent to deal with. Come on.

10 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Gotta say it on 02/14/2014 at 9:03 AM

Re: “Students' fights may be Vargas's biggest challenge

Suspensions are not taboo at Northwest/Northeast - they are extremely common. The district uses "in-school suspension" because staying at home was not seen as a punishment by the kids. Charters are tough about kicking students out, but the district does not have this option legally.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by rocparent on 02/14/2014 at 7:11 AM

Re: “Students' fights may be Vargas's biggest challenge

School culture is everything. Without it, learning will be mediocre at best. Culture starts with relationships, clarity and in the case of student behavior, very firm policies and enforcement. Hearing the superintendent talk about "lost instructional time" was very telling. he obviously does not understand that school culture must be developed before quality instruction can happen. The school environment must be respectful and honest but also firm and consistent enforcement. The district has not cultivated caring school cultures and in fact, the mandates have worked against stability. Add this the reality that suspensions are considered taboo and you can see why things are out of control.

Many people will not want to hear this but a get tough approach to student behavior is needed. This is one place where the district can learn from charters. Unfortunately, leadership seems to be in a reactive state. Seeing the future and planning for it look like impossibilities right now. It is hard to set the table when you are being swallowed.

10 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Gotta say it on 02/13/2014 at 12:29 PM

Re: “Attack on White boomerangs

Despite Van White's financial issues (he joins Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren in the tax warrant department), the guy deserves credit for being the only sitting board member to oppose Bolgen Vargas' installation as superintendent. Vargas was not even remotely qualified for the job based on his experience as a guidance counselor, and the continued failure of the RCSD is at least partly because of his failed "leadership."

Perhaps the biggest surprise of this amusing incident is how it lays bare the inner workings of the Democrat party in Monroe County. Patrick M. Malgieri is not only a partner at Harris Beach, but was one of three lawyers that had direct control over the legal opinion rendered by this law firm in the employment of T. Andrew Brown as Corporation Council for the city of Rochester. The lawyer that actually wrote the 12 page legal opinion that supposedly cleared Brown from "conflict of interest" accusations given his law firm's penchant for suing the city of Rochester was H. Todd Bullard, onetime Monroe County Legislature Assistant Minority Leader. Mind you, this was an opinion which was floated as independent "third party" thinking. Independent of what?

The fact that two bigwigs in the Democrat party wrote and signed off on the legal opinion to clear Mr. Brown's promotion to Corporation Council looks ethically questionable to say the least and it is likely that if the Monroe County Republican party tried this nonsense there would be hell to pay. But at least that's consistent with the cronyfest that the Lovely Warren's administration has become in just one month at the helm as mayor.

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Tom Vierhile on 02/09/2014 at 11:21 AM

Re: “Attack on White boomerangs

This is astonishing, I'm also surprised by the lack of comments. Hard to believe Mr. Maglieri's claim that he didn't do this. Hard to believe his wife not knowing about it. And is it too much of a reach to think Vargas might've known too? Dirty politics. This makes me question Vargas/Maglieri more than it does Van White. Shameful!

10 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by swk on 02/09/2014 at 8:47 AM

Re: “Attack on White boomerangs

I have to admit that I am surprised by the lack of comments to this story. If the mayor had done something similar, the comments would have been rabid and relentless. Racism when commenting on mayor? Come on folks. The lack of comments here is beginning to prove it.

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Mike Bruton on 02/09/2014 at 4:31 AM

Re: “Attack on White boomerangs

I am a bit surprised that nobody, particularly the reporter, has commented about the last person that claimed to have had his account hacked. It was a rather infamous congressman named Anthony Weiner. He was not interested in pursuing the matter with the police because he was going to investigate personally. Don't get me wrong; there are hackers out there more than willing to do bad things, but the curious thing is the reaction of the hackee. I would be more than a little miffed if someone hacked my account and misused it.

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Mike S on 02/08/2014 at 6:02 PM

Re: “Charters nervous about de Blasio

While de Blasio is certainly rattling some cages in the NYC charter school community, it is a gross exaggeration to suggest that his proposals could "pull apart the whole movement" or have some parallel to Rochester's situation.

The issue in NYC is about SPACE, not district finances or stability. Unlike district schools, charters in NYS do not receive public funding for capital expenses (i.e. buildings). In a city with extraordinary real estate costs such as NYC, the facility barrier is magnified for charters. In an effort to encourage charter growth, the previous Bloomberg administration made excess space in district buildings available to many charter schools rent free. While the space was often far from ideal, it mitigated one of the biggest logistical hurdles to opening a charter in NYC (and eliminated the need for funding from billionaire hedge fund managers). Now de Blasio is examining whether new charter schools (not existing charters) should pay rent for district space or if the district space should be made available at all in some cases. The $210 million he wants to divert to pre-K would come from planned improvements to the district's own buildings meant to accomodate new charters and other nonprofits in coming years. The funding would not be taken directly from NYC charter schools. So yes, de Blasio's approach is certainly concerning for NYC charters, but it is hardly the epic sea change portrayed above.

It is difficult to see how the NYC charter school facility issues are relevant to Rochester. Despite years of excess space across the RCSD, charter schools have never been offered an opportunity to access district facilities here (whether for a price or otherwise). As the RCSD continues to face budget woes in the years ahead, it might be time to examine untapped sources of revenue such as leasing extra building space to new charters. Shifting the burden of building maintenance alone would result in significant savings. Instead, our district is carrying the cost of unnecessary buildings...funds that could be spent in classrooms instead.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Marshall on 02/07/2014 at 10:30 AM

Re: “[UPDATED] Warren gets credit for Costco deal

Isn't there enough cheap toxic food already available? Do we really need more diabetes, more foot amputations, heart attacks, and cancer? I'm looking forward to the pollution created by all of the traffic congestion and the cloud of gasoline fumes from the Costco mega-gas station. To top it off Costco will be next to the Erie Canal, adjacent to a residential neighborhood and across the street from a children's medical center and hospital.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Devin Wiesner on 02/07/2014 at 9:31 AM

Re: “Attack on White boomerangs

Hey Michael,
You're right; I meant to correct that in my first draft and it slipped past me. Thanks so much for catching it.
Tim

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Tim Macaluso on 02/07/2014 at 8:21 AM

Re: “Attack on White boomerangs

Tim, I think I found an error in this report. The note was NOT handwritten. The address on the envelope WAS. Readers can go to http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/2014/02/05/anonymous-envelope-suggests-discord-at-rcsd/5229595/ for this story and if you click "the envelope" you can view images of the actual letter and contents. When you do this you will see that the note was not handwritten.

Also, you will see from the article and images that the login of "patmalgieri " does show up. Patrick admitted it was his. Could have been Patricia. Same first 3 letters. The question is? Who knew the password? I'll let the readers take it from here.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michael Bruton on 02/06/2014 at 4:59 PM

Re: “Attack on White boomerangs

I don't usually comment, but the lack of probing questions in this article is alarming. I have to imagine that if Patty Malgierie was on the Mayor's administration, reporters would be asking a whole lot more questions like:

-What does the County Clerk say about Mr. Malgieri's claim that his user account was hacked? It was her county system after all. He's a pillar of the community saying that there was a security breach of gov't-run website that a lot of people use to do legitimate work. Are they at risk too? Doesn't Donolfo have a duty to investigate Malgierie's claim?

-Will Vargas discipline Malgierie if it turns out the hacking was b.s.? If she worked for the mayor, everyone would be up in arms if she wasn't reprimanded or fired. Attempting to damage a duly elected official (and essentially your boss) is a big deal. Or at least it should be. And doing political work in a public sector job is illegal.

-Is Malgierie's impunity (apparent anyway) a function of the sweet contract her husband negotiated for her and that this paper reported about last year? Does she think she is untouchable? Because this isn't how public servants who are accountable behave. And isn't it a tad ironic that she was granted an iron clad contract, but is going after tenure protections for educators? Seems like a big helping hypocrisy to me.

-What are the emails that Van White has been sending to the district that he mentions int he DC article? I'd like to see if there is any veracity to his claim that he's pushing for accountability. Like what, where? He's been around for a long time, what's new? Details please.

George O'Connor

18 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by GeorgeOconnor on 02/06/2014 at 3:34 PM

Re: “Attack on White boomerangs

As a reporter you need to ask a few questions: How do they know the login of the requestor for these docs? It doesn't seem that this should be easily acquired by the media. Who in the county has access to login records (IT administrators can typically login under other user's credentials)?

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Martin Edic on 02/06/2014 at 2:50 PM

Re: “Weingarten: Stop blaming teachers

I am so sick-and-tired-of-being-sick-and-tired of educational / political-bomb-throwing-gun-slingers (such as Randi Weingarten) blowing into town, and making grandiosely-rhetorical statements, and then they're off to their next political-stop.

I challenge Weingarten, anyone else in AFT and/or any of their affiliates to point out a single statement in which someone has "blamed teachers for Rochester being the fifth poorest city in the country,” In light of such careless, irresponsible foolishness --- how can this woman possibly expect to be taken seriously, especially by the vast majority of Rochester City School District parents and families? That probably doesn't matter to her. More than likely, she was really in town on a mission --- to drop what some might consider interesting, but really libelous, sound bites, and to make a direct, local connection relative to ongoing, political posturing on the part of AFT, and its affiliates.

AFT affiliates are well known for touting the idea that, with regard to the desperate need to significantly improve urban education, we ALL need to stop engaging in the blame game. Yet, with regard to being "supportive" of teachers --- in the article at the link below --- in two very short paragraphs --- Weingarten manages to point fingers at "the new mayor [Lovely Warren], the school board, New York lawmakers, and state education officials." To say that this is a clear, classic example of hypocrisy at the highest level --- represents a gross understatement.

As it relates to that which City Newspaper reporter Tim Macaluso made a quantum-leap, and characterized as "a broader view," i.e., the idea that "Weingarten said that current education reform efforts are failing" --- is shallow and incomplete (to say the least). What Macaluso and Weingarten didn't say is that the failure of so-called urban "education reform" is nothing new (not by a long shot). That is, so-called "reform" efforts --- many of which Weingarten, the AFT, and their local, state, and regional affiliates spear-headed, and helped lead --- have been underway for at least three (3) to four (4) decades, and have, by all measures, failed miserably, which is what created the huge void that Big-Business (corporate "reformers") have stepped into.

With regard to Weingarten's declaration that we need to "stop with the fixation on testing and fixate on the whole child" --- that's old, old, worn-out, tired, meaningless rhetoric (pure and simple). What WE really need to do is stop pontificating, and spell out very clearly what WE mean when WE talk about "fixating on the whole child," i.e., how (specifically) does this mysterious, mystical process of "fixating on the whole child" look, and who (specifically) should be the craft-persons and implementers of this, and when (specifically) will the process begin? No more empty rhetoric, noise, pontificating, and/or posturing. It is crystal clear that WE need a real, deadly-serious, authentic, education reform MOVEMENT. Either AFT is going to help build one, or they're not --- period.

As I noted earlier, in some cases, what Weingarten said, and./ or what Macaluso chose to write is not nearly as important as what was not said, and/or written. In this regard, the two-sentence paragraph below is an outstanding example. PLEASE PAY VERY, VERY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE PARAGRAPH:

"When the scores of urban schools are subtracted from some of the international tests used to evaluate student proficiency levels, students in the US have scored the same for the last decade. Weingarten said this shows that the problems in US education have more to do with extreme social-economic imbalances that education reform has failed to address."

I want to make sure that WE ALL understand the clear implications of the first sentence in the latter-quoted paragraph. Thus I have rewritten it, and injected a couple of critical factors, which were omitted: "When the scores of [predominantly black and brown] urban schools, [across the thoroughly racist U.S. of A. --- in every direction --- North, East, South, and West] are subtracted from some of the international tests used to evaluate student proficiency levels, [overwhelmingly, predominantly white, middle and upper class] students in the [thoroughly racist] US [in every direction --- North, East, South, and West] have scored the same for the last decade." WHAT DOES THIS REALITY INFORM US TO DO? With regard to the second sentence in the paragraph, Weingarten is correct, i.e., " this shows that the problems in US education have more to do with extreme social-economic imbalances that education reform has failed to address." However, what she either did not say, and / or Macaluso failed to write --- is again, that this is nothing new. In fact, so-called "education reform" has NEVER successfully or effectively addressed the very old, historic, "extreme social-economic imbalances" --- the latter of which are literally as old as the public education system itself. So for Ms. Weingarten to present this --- as if it is some kind of new phenomenon --- is disingenuous to say the least, and plain insensitive, irresponsible, intentionally cunning, and deceptive at worst.

If the "American Federation of Teachers advocates raising teacher education standards, by adapting an education model that resembles medical school with teachers having to pass a longer clinical internship" --- then why did they get in cahoots with the same "corporate reformers" and state officials, whom they are now criticizing --- relative to agreement to implement so-called Common Core Standards? Was the idea that, if things didn't work out the way AFT, Weingarten, and company wanted --- they would apparently and obviously back out of the deal? An even more critically important question is why did they enter into a deal in the first place? If they have a position on reform, as she claims, then why did they not stand their ground, and reject that which was clearly, and obviously a wrong and backwards direction --- right from the very start? Had they done so, they would have been more believable now, and would have more credibility.

"Weingarten is [not just now discovering that] current education reform measures emphasize austerity, de-professionalizing teaching, and privatization of public schools." That is old news. She, and everyone else who has been paying attention, knew that --- right from the start. It's not as if the corporate "reformers," and their political / governmental lackeys changed stripes along the way. On the contrary, they have been crystal-clear about their direction, interests, and intentions --- from the very beginning, which of course revolves mainly around profit. Apparently, Weingarten and company miscalculated. Apparently, they thought that (like in the past) the profits would be extracted solely from the hides of urban students and families. Apparently, they never imagined that many of their own members would be required to give up a few pounds of flesh.

The bottom line is that Weingarten and AFT have come to the final fork in the road. It has become clear that they will no longer be able to play both dichotomous-ends against the middle. They are going to have to decide which of the two roads they will take, i.e. whether or not they are finally going to enter into authentic, cooperative, truly collaborative partnership with all stake-holders, and especially with those who are most directly, and most negatively impacted --- in an ongoing process of building a real, principled, legitimate education reform movement --- period. No more flem-flam; no more snake-oil. The con-game is up.

2 likes, 28 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 02/05/2014 at 11:47 PM

Re: “Weingarten: Stop blaming teachers

The education "problem" is part of a whole raft of social problems that are the result of a social system that has proven to not work. Listen to Prof. Wolff of the New School: "it is the system, the SYSTEM"!

We have had a charade-like public "debate" for decades. Our schools are apartheid schools, our "free press" is owned by big corporations; politicians: the republicrats are bought and sold, lobbyests go in and out of the government through a revolving door......yadda yadda yadda.

More and more Americans are refining the litany thanks to websites like Commondreams and Truthdig.....(I can hear loinies who buy the party line say: "hah! Islamist terrorists! We must clamp down on the critics to preserve the freedom of our great exceptional, peace-loving nation.)

This citizen journalist reads and so, if the public needs help in parsing the language of our rhetorical president, I suggest that you read Norman Solomon's recent essay on constitutional law professor Obama.

Point by point Mr. Solomon shows that our president has been the bone that was thrown to the people to stall them so that the agenda that 911 enabled our leaders to pursue their corporate inspired agenda.

So, please do not scapegoat the Muslims or the teachers, welfare cheats, aliens. I do not want to hear the same lamebrain dialogue about how hopeless it is to fix the schools. The matrix of the problem resides at the top of our food chain. Pay attention, follow the money, see under which cup you will find the pea: "it is the system! The SYSTEM!"

Let's has no more moving of the chairs on the Titanic. We know that the money "thrown" at the schools, "wasted", was the cost of doing business. NOTHING will bring about the good results caring adults want for OUR children except a radical overhall, not bandaids and blame.

The man's name is Norman Solomon. His critique of the president's speech can be found on Commondreams.org. Do you homework. It is good for you.

Sincerely yours,
Salvatore Liotta
M.S. Ed. English/Special Education
Almost ABD U.B./U. of R.
Retired Buffalo special education teacher

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by SLiotta on 02/01/2014 at 1:05 PM

Re: “Kress shines and so does the rest of Rochester

I would agree. Politicians look good but they never get in the %$#@*&^% that the real people need to deal with where image counts very little.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Gotta say it on 01/31/2014 at 12:09 PM

Re: “Kress shines and so does the rest of Rochester

That's one way to put it. People who work for her may say another.

2 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by andrew on 01/30/2014 at 6:34 PM

Re: “Day care subsidies: What Maggie Brooks didn't say

Upon the implementation of this budge cuts, hopefully, child care quality won't suffer.
learning center woodstock ga

Posted by learning center woodstock ga on 01/29/2014 at 6:08 PM

Re: “Review clears Andrew Brown for appointment as city's top attorney

This is ridiculous as anyone knows that someone can't simultaneously defend and be against the City of Rochester. It just looks like a bunch of lawyers helping each other out while us taxpayers continue to pay. How much did we shell out to two different law firms for the same answer?

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michael Bruton on 01/28/2014 at 6:03 PM

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