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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News Blog

Re: “Little drama as Monroe Democrats select candidates

"Amazing job"... depends on who wants to know.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by good riddance III on 05/16/2014 at 9:30 PM

Re: “Green light on UR plan with a warning

George- the person appointed from the U of R to lead the transformation of East High is not an ivory tower theorist- he is a former superintendent. City schools - including East - can benefit from outside leadership. If you read the initial proposed changes, you will see there are some simple fixes- control over scheduling, control over course offerings, control over summer school programs, control over disciplinary policies, etc. that will improve the quality of the educational programs. Schools like East have suffered because of Brizard's failed initiatives such as no retention, no suspensions, no electives and no remedial programs. Because of Vargas's initiatives to improve elementary programs, CC curricular changes, the addition of extra-curricular programs, and the school renovations, the assistance from the U of R is icing on the cake. Personally, I think the rude awakening is coming for the CO bureaucracy and charter schools - when East is able to transform itself. "Campus schools" have a tradition of excellence. A balance of theory and practice has proven to be a winning combination time and time again.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by SusieR on 05/16/2014 at 8:14 PM

Re: “Green light on UR plan with a warning

Susie R- Are there unicorns in your vision of UR's management of East? That is the most utopian description of school turnaround I've ever read.

It's way too simplistic to say that the failure at East is because of Central Office dysfunction. Don't get me wrong, it's bad, but it's not everything. Keep in mind that schools have had the power to opt out of CO through the Living Contract provision. They just haven't done it. It's easier to blame the CO bogey man.

This UR takeover will be a rude awakening for the ivory tower-types who've confused theory with practice. And it will be painful for the rest of us to watch.

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by GeorgeOconnor on 05/16/2014 at 9:56 AM

Re: “Green light on UR plan with a warning

Partnering with the U of R frees East from the dysfunctional bureaucracy of CO and provides East with needed advisory support and the opportunity to transform itself. Once East proves that urban schools can turn themselves around - and into highly competitive high schools- with beautiful facilities, with sports and other after school opportunities that large suburban schools offer, there is no way charter schools will be able to compete- with their large class sizes and under paid/uncertified/inexperienced teachers and few extra curricular opportunities located in warehouse type facilities.

6 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by SusieR on 05/15/2014 at 9:28 PM

Re: “Union could run Syracuse school

A union-run charter is hardly a model. The other in NYS is just another failing school, probably shouldn't have been re-authorized.…

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by GeorgeOconnor on 05/15/2014 at 7:14 PM

Re: “Green light on UR plan with a warning

I'm really disappointed in the media coverage of this UR project. Why does the UR not get the same level of scrutiny that the other bidder School Turnaround got? Double standard.

A couple of things missing from all media accounts, City's especially:
-Warner needs cash. They've been on the chopping block off and on for decades. They only produced 40 teacher a year and rely heavily on alternative revenue from federal/state grants, lucrative professional development gigs. This East project is a matter of balancing their budget w/ tax dollars, not doing anything noble for Rochester's kids.
-Despite receiving a ton of taxdollars, Warner has refused to be transparent about it's teacher prep program in a national study of teacher prep quality.…. What the study could glean: Warner's program is not aligned with NYS's new state standards. Not promising.
-Warner has a track record of dozens of projects in the district. Has anyone done any ROI analysis? Doubtful they can point to any student gains. Patronage, yes. School improvement, no.
-Warner faculty have become increasingly active in lobbying and political activity opposing the Regents agenda. Seems relevant, no? They oppose most of the key policies: standards & accountability, teacher evals, charters. REALLY makes me wonder if state ed did their homework before Ok'ing the plan. Talk about empowering your enemies.

Mark my words: when this partnership flops, Warner won't be accountable to taxpayers, they'll blame the Regents. That's what ideologues do.

8 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by GeorgeOconnor on 05/15/2014 at 7:02 PM

Re: “Green light on UR plan with a warning

The Board should have known better. They must have thought that the U of R's intent to "explore" helping would sway SED. That was a huge mistake. The commissioner and others in Albany look at things from a very wide lens and the idea that they would give the RCSD and the U of R many more months was insulting.

Now it is up to the Board and President White in particular to try to make the U of R's "suggestion" into a real obligation. Have fun getting that to happen in 2 more weeks. Additionally, he needs to get the unions to agree to what was essentially a request to do whatever the U or R needed them to. Again, good luck.

The Board and Superintendent better get plan "B" polished because they will need it. There is no doubt that the U of R plan can't come together in weeks. Without a serious plan "B" East will be gone. It is amazing that the board actually thought they had something to lean on.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Gotta Say It on 05/15/2014 at 6:11 PM

Re: “Rochester school board chooses UR proposal for East High

How can they fit the UR pretend proposal in the budget if the budget passed? So many holes here.

Posted by kamakazee78 on 05/12/2014 at 4:17 PM

Re: “Termination of Medley tax agreement has begun

Oh wait, you mean the town shacked up w/ a shady property developer w/ a checkered past and got screwed in the end?


1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Joe Blow on 05/12/2014 at 2:42 PM

Re: “Bob Duffy's mythology doesn't always stand up to scrutiny

I was one of the few people who didn't vote for Cuomo, so Duffy could stay. In retrospect, I think I was right!

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Mike Bruton on 05/12/2014 at 3:06 AM

Re: “Rochester school board chooses UR proposal for East High

The fact that a school needs to be rescued pretty much points out the fact that those in charge do not know what they are doing. To me this is a signal that everyones has to go...Vargas, Urbanski, entire school board. It is time to shock the system. It is time to change everything. It is time to have people in charge that have not idea what the status quo has been.

Making an drastic effort with one school while leaving the failed structure in place is insane.

7 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Tom Janowski on 05/10/2014 at 10:45 AM

Re: “Rochester school board chooses UR proposal for East High

You're right Gotta Say It; the UR has not submitted a propasl. They have written of a letter of intent to Comissioner King. You might say they've proposed submitting a proposal.


4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tim Louis Macaluso on 05/09/2014 at 9:03 PM

Re: “Rochester school board chooses UR proposal for East High

Sorry, this has to be repeated. The U of R did not submit a proposal as in an RFP, which is what every other group was told to do. Put simply, the board is playing favorites, bending the rules and certainly breaking ethic policies around this sort of thing.

It would also be interesting to know if any board members work for the U of R and/or work for organizations that have close relations with U of R. Again, the point is not that the U of R may not be a good fit, they might be. The issue has to do with having an open process that allows for review. This all came down way too fast and with too little discussion. It smells really unfair and politically motivated.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Gotta Say It on 05/09/2014 at 5:56 PM

Re: “Rochester is a community of walkers, new report says

Walking, walking safely in a transportation infrastructure designed predominately for vehicles is doable, but much education by government and media is required.

A long time ago our species could walk and walk and not be run over by something big and dangerous. Since then we have forgotten how simply marvelous walking could be as a transportation option, not to mention a way to address Climate Change as 27% of greenhouse gases come from transportation. More will walk as safety increases and safety will increase as more walk. More respect for sidewalks and traffic signals and pedestrians would be nice too.

While walking down our sidewalk yesterday, my wife and I were almost run over by someone on our street who decided to put the pedal to the medal backing out of his driveway. Even if you win the battle for space with a one-ton vehicle against a pedestrian, it’ll ruin your whole day. Remember, when you’re not in a car, you’re a pedestrian.

More on Transportation in our area:…

0 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Frank J. Regan on 05/09/2014 at 9:10 AM

Re: “Bob Duffy's mythology doesn't always stand up to scrutiny


This is a good starting point for a very difficult conversation. If RBA hires Bob Duffy and pretends that there was no "inside deal" that would not be true. First, Duffy bought Sandy Parker's lake home. The purchase was not reported even though a transaction between a registered lobbyist and Duffy was required and reviewed. Second, he is not able to lobby for two years. Third, when he got caught applying for the position by the Governor, she withdrew her resignation. inside deal?

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by clint on 05/09/2014 at 5:38 AM

Re: “UR proposal tests school officials

How about the military taking over East! Now that would be reform!

9 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Vicki Lynn Bellis-Brouk on 05/08/2014 at 11:22 PM

Re: “UR proposal tests school officials

Lets be clear about all of this.
#1. The U of R has not promised anything. All they did was say they would consider submitting a proposal if all of their mandates were approved, they got the time they apparently need along with the data, and their findings justify additional involvement.. This is all before they even submit.
#2. Why would others not be given the same extension? Why wouldn't Fisher, Nazareth or other local universities as well as other organizations from all around the country be given these same conditions? It is unethical and unprofessional for the board to even consider moving forward (assuming King gives them more time) with just the U or R in mind.
#3. What the U or R wants are the same things that committee after committee have said for twenty years. Bob King, Mayor Johnson, the August group members and many other prominent leaders as well as parents and community activists have all said that to change the path, the system must be broken down. This is nothing new. Why would the unions or anyone else essentially create a new playing field for the U of R when their own people can likely do tell the board the same thing?
#4. Who will pay for the U of R's research and planning? The letter indicates that they expect the RCSD to pick up the tab. That is crazy. What other group would be so arrogant?
#5. What does the U or R really know about helping tough, urban youth? I am not talking about research or evidence that support better meals. I am talking about jumping into the thick of things and getting your hands covered with %$#@!*&. The last I checked they were more into the intellectual side of things. That is not what this community needs.
Bottom line....Is it possible that the U or R can bring something to the table?-yes. But they can't expect the rest of the world to forget about the past and lay out the red carpet just because things are a disaster.

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Gotta Say It on 05/08/2014 at 12:27 PM

Re: “Bob Duffy's mythology doesn't always stand up to scrutiny

As one of the organizers of the Chill the Fill campaign, I'd offer that Bob's opposition to filling the subway tunnel during the '05 mayoral campaign (along with the other 4 candidates) was a major factor in causing City Council to stop Ed Doherty from moving forward.
So as folks retrospectively tally up Bob's pluses & minuses, in my mind that merits featuring in the plus column.

5 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by RaChaCha on 05/08/2014 at 10:52 AM

Re: “National climate report stresses adaptation

What is even more startling about the United States Global Change Research Program’s release of the National Climate Assessment, given the GOP’s reluctance to even admit warming is occurring, is that President Reagan began our country’s response to growing realization that global change, including Climate Change, were going to seriously challenge our country’s ability to prepare for the future.

“President Ronald Reagan created—and Congress in 1990 codified—the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP or Program), charged with providing a “comprehensive and integrated United States research program to assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”


0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Frank J. Regan on 05/07/2014 at 9:18 AM

Re: “Two new plans for East: UR partnership, or break it up into three schools

Vargas shared very little other than his opinion which was that he had little faith in the very proposal he was presenting. He essentially stated he was "directed" by the board to come up with it, so he did. His presentation was anything but hopeful.
Then you have the U of R asking everyone (including SED) to get on their knees. If everyone tells the U of R leaders what they want to hear then they might present an actual proposal. In other words, the U of R wants everyone to agree to their terms before they submit anything. They "proposed" nothing. The letter stated that they will not pay a thing to help and in fact, they want their own people compensated for their time. The seven pages looked more like an employee agreement than a genuine offer to help. It is telling that the board chair was salivating over the letter.
The sad fact is that everyone is going to believe that waiting a year will help-it won't. The changes and concessions that Turnaround, the U of R and every other organization will demand should have been agreed to 25 years ago. This is not rocket science. It is crazy that district leaders and board members have more faith in these "experts" than they do the teachers, parents and community members who are just as smart and are giving their souls everyday.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Gotta Say It on 05/06/2014 at 10:03 PM

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