I just figured Warren's policies would be "more of the same." So if you like more crime, more police brutality, failing schools, a huge chunk of the city below the poverty line, lousy public transportation, and tax breaks for out-of-town corporations, well, by all means, vote for her. I'd say correct me if I'm wrong, but she won't come out and answer questions about what she stands for, so I can only assume ...
At the moment fracking is about the only glimmer of hope on the American economic landscape. By allowing our dimwitted politicians to drag their feet, New Yorkers are getting left behind for no good reason!
May we assume that none of the members of Unshackle New York or any of their pet politicians live near, or plan to move to , those areas where fracking will take place?
And of course none of this merry band has the slightest personal economic investment or involvement with any of the gas or construction/pipeline companies, do they?
Peking Humonculous (shouldn't that be Beijing Humonculous?) - As I recall in 2009 Rochester was granted several millions in federal stimulus funding to fill in the old canal bed/subway tunnel under Broad Street from the river to near Nick Tahou’s and to repair the deteriorated surface pavement. I think the work was completed in 2010. Not sure what the recent construction is all about.
Economic status is not the only difference between the student populations of urban and suburban school districts...duh. Maybe the problem IS that teachers in the RCSD ARE teaching exactly the same way as the teachers in Webster. If teachers believe that they truly are "swappable" for other districts; it clearly explains why they're so "ineffective" and "need improvement". While Urbanski seems to be so surprised, this most certainly comes as no surprise to me. I am equally concerned about the high number of appeals but not as it relates to the APPR evaluation. My serious concern is that so may "ineffective" teachers that obviously "need improvement" manage to keep their jobs and continue to fail the students. Contrary to popular believe, working HARD does not equate to working RIGHT. For once, I would love to see Urbanski and the teachers of the RCSD do the one thing they're always demanding of the students and parents/guardians/caretakers: TAKE RESPONSIBILITY!!!
Maureen--The poverty argument cuts both ways. As a mom in both the RCSD and a high-performing district, I would add that systems behave differently depending on the social capital of the families they serve. Parent calls are more likely to be returned in a district where parents have economic and political power, etc..
When are we going to address the real issue? POVERTY! Having taught in both the RCSD and the suburbs it's not the teachers who are different. Both are dedicated and hard working and qualified. It is the level of poverty of the children they are working with. Until we as a state and a country decide to deal with that nothing will change.
PARENT & COMMUNITY ALERT: WE NEED TO STAY AWAKE. DON'T BE ROCKED TO SLEEP BY EMPTY TALK FROM NEW YORK STATE'S COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION. REMEMBER --- KING IS TO NEW YORK --- WHAT VARGAS IS
TO ROCHESTER.THE ARTICLE BELOW SHOULD LEAVE US ASKING 'WHAT?!'..... 'WHAT?!' ....... AND HERE'S WHY:
1. King "praised Superintendent Bolgen Vargas for steps Vargas has taken to convert potential into academic gains: implementing extended learning, increasing of instruction, improving attendance, and focusing on reading."
a) So-called "extended learning, and increasing of instruction" amounts to longer school days for a handful of Rochester City School District (RCSD) schools --- with absolutely no coherent explanations, or believable evidence --- as to how this will magically result in "academic gains."
b) We are ONLY 5 weeks into the new school year. It is virtually impossible to determine if any lasting, substantial, improvement has occurred regarding "attendance."
c) What (specifically) has Vargas done to increase "focus on reading?" Telling parents to get library cards for their children, and telling them to read to / with their children does not count relative to increased "focus." What else (specifically) has he done? I'm posting this on the RCSD's face book page --- let's see if anyone in the district answers the latter question.
2. King "said that he not only appreciates what Vargas has done to improve Rochester’s schools, but that he’s also impressed by the superintendent’s sense of urgency."
a) Anyone can SAY they have a "sense of urgency." Considering the deep, deep-seated very old, worsening crisis within the RCSD --- what in the heck else would we expect the Superintendent to SAY? We've heard about highly-paid people having a "sense of urgency" for decades, but the proof is in the pudding --- so to speak. What (specifically) has Vargas DONE to convince us that he has a "sense of urgency"?
3. King "said that Buffalo's schools making excuses for low student achievement because the population is largely poor and has many English language learners isn’t acceptable."
a) IS THIS ANY DIFFERENT THAN IN ROCHESTER? Don't we hear the exact same "excuses" on a daily basis --- emanating from many who work in the RCSD? What's the difference?
4. "When asked what else the community of Rochester should do to improve student achievement in city schools, King said Rochester will need to increasingly turn to its corporate citizens for help with wraparound services, he said. Rochester is fortunate to have an education-minded company like Wegmans,"
a) According to King, apparently, the RCSD does not need to turn to parents, ordinary citizens, and grassroots community members for help, but instead, needs to turn to "corporate citizens." WHAT?! So, we're suppose to view Danny Wegmans, and other such, so-called "corporate citizens" as the saviors of OUR children --- right! We saw exactly how well that's likely to succeed --- by way of the mess that was made at former Frederick Douglass Campus recently.
b) Apparently all King, Vargas, Wegmans, and the big-business community needs from parents, and grassroots citizens, and community members is for us to "share high expectations for students."
c) John King has visited Rochester at least several times over the past few months, and obviously, it never occurred to him, and/or his handlers that perhaps he should have met with those of us who have the most at stake --- the most to lose, i.e., OUR children --- even if all he wants from us is for us to "share high expectations for students."
I don't know about y'all, but I smell a dirty, stinking, political-rat, especially when considering that --- as it relates to academic performance --- the RCSD is literally at the bottom of the very old, status-quo-urban-education-barrel (even lower than Buffalo). We must remain alert, and astute. We can not allow snake-oil-peddling John King, Bolgen Vargas, or anyone else to bamboozle, and hoodwink us into believing that substantial academic progress, and improvement is right around the corner. There is no evidence --- I repeat not one, single iota of concrete evidence that this is so. In fact, all of the concrete evidence seems to indicate the exact opposite.
WE NEED A BROAD-BASED, GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT OF PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS, STUDENTS, ACTIVISTS, RIGHTEOUS EDUCATORS AND POLITICIANS, AND ANYONE ELSE WHO IS REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT WORKING COOPERATIVELY, COLLABORATIVELY, AND CONSISTENTLY TO PRODUCE MUCH-NEEDED, WIDESPREAD, PERMANENT, SYSTEMIC CHANGE AND IMPROVEMENT, WHICH MUST NECESSARILY INCLUDE PUSHING BACK AGAINST CORPORATE-LED, SO-CALLED, "EDUCATION REFORM," WHICH REALLY IS MORE AKIN TO DEFORM.
Every posting I've put on Unshakle Upstates web site against their Koch brothers 'think tank' reports on fracking, they take down. They don't want any facts or figures, just their 'pusher man' spin. The only 'unshakling' that UU wants to do is for their corporate cronies. Especially, since we only have ad valorem taxes on gas drilling in NYS which are based on property and profit (both of which are proving unprofitable for the industry when it's only $3mcf). Only state without a severance tax. Unshakle this......
"And before that Broad Street had to be closed for major repairs due to deterioration of the road bed over the old canal aqueduct."
MJN- can you tell me how you found that out? I've been wondering why the area of Broad Street between Chestnut and Clinton has been in a state of disrepair all summer and I didn't see anything about it in the news.
We give tax breaks to companies to bring jobs here, but we can't pay for education and therefore don't develop our talent pool so companies have less reason to come to Rochester. The job creation that is put forth is in construction and housing development with a flatlined population growth.
All of our projects are based on how to get in and out of Rochester... the marina, the ferry, the high speed rail, the bus station... or they are there for transitional populations visiting our colleges that for the most part will not stay because of the crime and the lack of good work.
I believe that transitioning to a fair tax system needs to be phased in over time, but the breaks are not keeping the companies here because we're not developing talent that was born in this area and has ties here.
Finally, and most importantly... are these tax breaks working to keep job creating companies here, because a lot of these tax breaks are going to companies developing residential properties.. no jobs there outside of maintenance, which is again on a contract basis and not permanent.
I don't buy your argument. There are plenty of very well qualified candidates for ANY teaching position in New York. The few opportunities at suburban districts are far outnumbered by the well qualified teaching candidates that are currently looking for jobs. There is no way that the selection process used at the suburban districts only identifies the cream of the crop and those that are left over are not up to par.
When Dr. Urbanski compared RCSD teachers to Webster teachers, he forgot to mention 2 very important differences in the teacher pipeline of these two districts, both of which are a result of the local collective bargaining agreements he negotiated, not state statute or regs:
(1) Like large urban districts across the country, RCSD has a complex and cumbersome seniority transfer process. While suburban districts are posting jobs and interviewing for new teachers in the spring, the RCSD is waist-high in paperwork about senior teachers bumping junior ones. By the time the RCSD finalizes the transfers and posts their new jobs, the suburban districts have had first pick at the strongest applicants in the new teacher pool.
(2) Once hired, tenure is generally a higher bar in high-performing districts. Before the new APPR, an independent audit found that 65% of first year teachers in RCSD were never observed and that the tenure panel granted tenure for time-served, without any substantive review. In contrast, high-performing districts will often coach ineffective teachers to leave or refuse tenure.
My only question to Dr. Urbanski would be --- as it relates to significantly improving educational conditions, and outcomes within predominantly black, and brown "urban public schools" --- if ideas such as so-called "APPR" are not effective, (and I don't believe they are) --- then what types of strategies would be effective? One thing is for certain --- we cannot just continue down the path of very old, entrenched status quo.
Several years ago, a close friend of mine was teaching in one of the schools mentioned. He would routinely tell me stories of students walking into the classroom and immediately doing something violent or outlandish (punching another student, kicking a desk across the room, etc.) solely with the desire to be sent to in-school suspension so they did not have to sit through the class. This would happen almost daily. Of course, when faced with the decision of having your entire class disrupted for the entire period or send the student to ISS, the decision seems clear from the teacher's point of view. However, when the student is being "rewarded" by not having to sit in the classroom, something seems broken.
As a Webster teacher, I completely agree with Adam Urbanski's comment.
City teachers are not worse than suburban teachers.
I worked hard last year. I earned my H.
If I taught in the city, I might have a D or an I on my HEDI rating instead.
Unfortunately, Cuomo's APPR system makes it rational for urban educators to flee to the suburbs. Despite the State Education Department's attempt to make statistical adjustments for high-needs student populations (my score was quite reasonably reduced for serving a less-needy group of students last year), there is no formula powerful enough to account for the negative effects of poverty on academic achivement.
So I get to walk away with my H while equally-qualified teachers in the city get slammed.
How does this benefit city students?
Jason - A couple of points, First, one topic that is seldom mentioned, and certainly won't be addressed in this election, is the cost of maintaining Rochester's aged and crumbling infrastructure. As you may recall, just a few weeks ago a water main on State Street collapsed. And before that Broad Street had to be closed for major repairs due to deterioration of the road bed over the old canal aqueduct.
Secondly, it matters little what strong negotiating points city officials may, or may not, realistically have available when they sit down with developers if we continue to waste millions of local and state tax dollars on doomed projects like the Charlotte Marina. “If you build it he/they will come” might make a good line for a movie, but it makes a poor business case in the real world.
The behavior in question is a snapshot of a bigger picture that most blacks in Rochester refuse to address. It's a "cultural crisis" a crisis of views and values. Many RCSD teachers frequently witness chaotic behaviors between predominately black students and reserve comment for fear of being labeled a "racist". Hundreds of black students are allowed to roam the halls of various RCSD school buildings throughout the school day using the most vulgar language and displaying thuggish behaviors without adequate intervention. The RCSD and the so-called black community is a sinking ship that refuses to do what is needed to save itself from itself.
I think the City of Rochester has a far stronger negotiating position than people realize. A lot stronger than the Town of Webster.
Cities like Rochester have inherit value that suburbs and rural areas don't. Cities have high population densities that allow for less cost per family on infrastructure. The dense population also creates business opportunities that don't exist elsewhere because of a larger population.
This extra wealth can be reinvested back into the city in the form of public works (like schools) or it can concentrated into the hands of a few people who live lives of idle luxury on the backs of working families.
Cities are being rediscovered by both empty nesters and a younger generation that reject the high environmental and social costs of the suburbs. The City of Rochester is more "valuable" than ever.
That the City still exists at all to be valuable is thanks to the people who stuck it out while people fled during the suburban sprawl of the last fifty years. So now that the City has this new value, it should be the people who have serve as it's caretakers who benefit from it.
That's not what's happening though. Instead valuable land and infrastructure is being gifted developers for a dollar and decades of tax breaks. Real wealth in the form of valuable land and infrastructure is being used to enrich outside developers instead of the common good.
This has to end. I'm not saying that the City may not have to negotiate. But we need a strong mayor who knows the City's TRUE value and negotiates a fair price for its use. Not somebody who will just give it away for a dollar.
Of course they don't trust the data - and they shouldn't. A few years ago I was working for one of the schools mentioned in this post & I was reporting suspension to grant funders. About mid-year I discovered that the data I was reporting (compiled directly from Administrators and the In School Suspension teacher) was wildly different than the data the Principal was reporting to RCSD. As a result, from that point forward people were instructed not to share real data with me. The next year I was transferred out of that school & the Principal was promoted. SO MUCH is buried at the school level, that the data that makes it way to Central Office is extremely inaccurate. Oh and in my professional career I have never met anyone more full of hot air than Cynthia Elliott.
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