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.
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.
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.
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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ccq0bvVmZVE ~~ all of us can play a role in healing.
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.
At your request: http://letsmakeleadhistory.org/LinkClick.a…
Please post a link to the study!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
MichaelO- Andy Rotherham's book, Collective Bargaining in Education Negotiating Change in Today's Schools might be a good resource for you. Available at http://hepg.org/hep/Book/5
"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.
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.
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?
Despite its successes, the Rochester region still has its share of environmental problems.
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