johnny --- "What is the Struggle?" You wouldn't under stand --- because you're too _________________ and too_________________ (fill in the blanks).
"...highlighting the kind of funny business at City Hall that would have been unimaginable under a Richards, Carballada, Duffy, Johnson or Ryan administration..." WHAT??? WHAT???
Come on Mr. Maculuso --- who are we kidding? Who in the world is dumb enough to believe that the State Legislature, City, and School District (let's not forget that, even though the State is picking up most of the tab, there is still a portion of this money that the School District is responsible for paying, and since the School District has no legal authority, or capacity to raise money, the City is necessarily involved, and potentially on the hook) are going to spend over a billion dollars, and the process by which the money is doled out, and controlled is actually going "to be [so-called] immune to politics." Stop it. The entire process is necessarily political, and was, right from the word go. It's always literally, mind-boggling that mass media operatives, and others push thoroughly illogical ideas such as attempting to convince the public that a process in which hundreds of State-level, and local politicians are making decisions regarding utilization of massive public funds --- the process by which the decisions get made can somehow, magically occur within an apolitical reality. What foolishness. It's past time to give people a little credit --- for not being stupid. We understand clearly that everything is political (from the cradle to the grave), especially anything having to do with billions of dollars.
Also, we know that provision of "high quality, 21st century education" is not equal to, nor necessarily an automatic outcome of modernizing buildings. Buildings don't provide education --- people do. Thus, the most critical element relative to provision of "high quality, 21st century education" is knowledgeable, and committed educators, supportive, and involved parents/families, and the broader community (PEOPLE), particularly within sectors from which the vast majority of students come.
Thus, part of the bottom line becomes --- no matter how much we modernize school buildings, in many cases, if we're really serious about "high quality, 21st century education," we are going to have to do just as much work on people (both inside, and outside of schools) as is being done on buildings.
The Struggle Continues...
TO BORROW FROM A SAYING THAT THE DISTINGUISHED AFRO-CENTRIST Avery Blackman IS FOND OF: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXGooo11CL…
A QUESTION FOR THE GENERAL, LOCAL, BLACK, PUBLIC:: With regard to the educational, and general welfare, and well being of our children --- we all know that it should begin at home, but at the same time --- we also know that often it does not begin at home. So, when it does not --- what should we do --- throw up our hands, and take the position that 'I'm only looking out for me and mine,' and then two minutes later --- turn around, and start talking hypocritical-crap about 'how important the village is???' The Struggle Continues...
Even though some of the information in this article is straight-up shocking --- when we stop, and think about it --- it shouldn't really be that surprising. I mean, this has been going on for so, so, very long. It's absolute madness, especially when there IS a solution.
"The New York State Department of Education released statewide test scores for English and math in grades 3 to 8 last week. And once again, the RCSD is the lowest performing of the "Big 5" urban school districts." PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS DEFINITELY MEANS LOWEST SCORING DISTRICT IN THE STATE --- PERIOD.
"But in Rochester, precious few students are proficient in math or English. Few function at grade level. For instance, only 6.7 percent of city students are proficient in English language arts, up two points from last year. And math scores declined by 0.2 percent, which leaves just 7.2 percent of city students proficient." THIS IS STRAIGHT-UP MADNESS.
"Elia was questioned about Rochester's low performance. She said that the district has a lot of challenges, particularly its high childhood poverty." MANY SO-CALLED 'EDUCATORS,', INCLUDING THE STATE EDUCATION COMMISSIONER, SEEM TO THINK THEY HAVE THE PERFECT EXCUSE FOR EXPLAINING THIS DISMAL CRISIS AWAY, --- THEY DO NOT, I.E., "CHILDHOOD POVERTY." LET THEM TELL IT --- "THERE ARE [ALWAYS] SOME NEW DEVELOPMENTS THAT ARE ENCOURAGING." YET, NOTHING, AND I DO MEAN NOTHING, EVER CHANGES (AT LEAST NOT FOR THE BETTER). THE COMMISSIONER HAS TO BE KIDDING. SHE WANTS US TO BE SO-CALLED "ENCOURAGED" BECAUSE ONE, MIDDLE CLASS, WHITE, SUBURBANITE, WOMAN" HAS A GREAT DEAL OF EXPERIENCE." IS THAT THE BEST SHE CAN DO???? JEAN CLAUDE BRIZARD, EMANUEL RIVERA, CLIFFORD JANEY, PETER MCWALTERS, LAVAL WILSON ALL HAD "A GREAT DEAL OF EXPERIENCE." YET, OVERALL CONDITIONS HAVE CONTINUED TO WORSEN. IS THIS WOMAN SERIOUS (SHE CAN'T BE) --- SHE WANTS US TO HANG OUR HOPES REGARDING CHANGE, AND IMPROVEMENT ON ONE INDIVIDUAL??? DAMN.
A BIG PART OF THE SOLUTION IS AS FOLLOWS:
We need to get focused (with laser-like precision) on the foundational academic/intellectual development of our children --- by doing everything that we possibly can to make certain that they master literacy skills and knowledge --- that is, reading, writing, math skills and knowledge at or above grade level (right from the very beginning), which is one of the most important reasons why we must address / change the standardized testing process, i.e., because it is driving everything that happens at the classroom level, and deprives teachers and support staff of the necessary time and energy to concentrate on developing foundational skills and knowledge. Instead, largely because of state and federal mandates, rules, regulations and policies --- teachers find themselves (more and more) teaching narrowly to tests. There is no mystery surrounding the reason why so many of our children don't do well on tests. It's because they don't have adequate reading, writing, and math skills, which again represents the very foundation of all knowledge, and which is necessary for them to be able to master higher-order knowledge and skills --- such as critical and analytical reading, writing and thinking. So, I'm saying, if we lay the foundation properly, then we won't have to worry so much about tests. If the proper foundation has been laid, then the testing issue will take care of itself (as long as that which is being tested, is fundamentally the same as that which is being taught). So there are two issues wrapped up together: 1) the need for more local control (as opposed to far too many dictates from the state and federal governments, and 2) the need to free teachers and support staff up --- so that they will have the time and energy to focus, again, with laser-like precision, on laying the academic foundation upon which all knowledge and skills-development is built. This issue is even more important when we consider that huge numbers of our children enter the system lagging far behind their middle class peers --- right from the very beginning.
The latter referenced issue is clearly among the most important of all issues we face, and is connected to another issue, i.e., the issue of widespread, concentrated poverty. Please don't misunderstand me regarding this critically important issue. I do not subscribe (under any circumstances) to any theory or idea about children not being able to learn because they live in poverty. If this was the case, many whom I've known (as children of migrant farm workers) would be among the most uneducated people on earth. On the other hand, for us to stick our heads in the sand (as an ostrich would do), and pretend that issues and conditions, which often accompany, i.e., come along with abject poverty --- does not impact our ability to educate well --- is frankly ludicrous, but the main point is that we need to do all we can to make sure we have the necessary, equitable, resources to provide whatever our children need in order to develop to their full potentials, which is currently not the case, and to be honest, in order to secure such necessary resources probably will require a struggle and a fight (politically speaking). We know that often those who need less --- actually get more --- because they are well organized and very effective advocates for their children (often exclusively). The other side of this coin is, we must make sure the vast amount of resources that we do receive ($800 million-plus dollars) are being utilized efficiently and effectively, which obviously is not the case currently, and which raises another critical issue that we need to focus on, i.e., rooting out massive waste, and possibly fiscal mismanagement, malfeasance and corruption, which is currently occurring in the Rochester City School District.
"But even if public attitudes have moved from a firm "no" to a "maybe," that's progress."
"Progress" --- WHAT??? After 62 years (since the time of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court, Brown vs. Board of Education Case), which was suppose to lead to desegregation of public schools "with all deliberate speed --- progress?" You have got to be kidding.
The truth of the matter is that public schools have clearly become even more racially segregated since the time of the Brown Case:
AND HERE'S WHY:
The Myth Of Dismantling Racial Segregation Within the U.S. Public School System: Chasing Pipe Dreams
By Howard J. Eagle
This slightly revised article (2004, on the 50th anniversary of the historic Brown v. Board of Education Case) was originally inspired in part by the work of several other authors, which I had read in Education Week during January and February of 2002, including a very lengthy, but limited analysis by a professor named Richard M. Merelman. The central theme of the above referenced authors is a mythical abstraction that they referred to as "re- segregation" in public education. In my response, I had argued and maintain that --- although it had emerged (during the early months of 2002) as a topic of "scholarly" debate within some education circles --- there was, and is, no such thing as "re-segregation" within the U.S. public school system. The plain, simple truth is that, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's Decision in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Case; thousands of citizens' protests, marches, and demonstrations in the streets; massive busing efforts; federal enforcement efforts, including the use of soldiers in numerous cases; sit-ins, teach-ins, and love-ins on the part of liberals, militants, and "revolutionaries" of every stripe, especially during the 1960's and 70's --- the U.S. never even came remotely close to achieving full (defacto, as opposed to dejure) desegregation within the vast majority of its public schools. In addition to numerous court cases, such as the Brown Case, and many others, (some of which date back to the 1930's and 40's) the types of street action described above were clearly, largely responsible for helping to produce a relatively small degree of progress (considering the price that was paid) toward equal, public, educational opportunity for all U.S. citizens. However, in the main, such efforts failed to the extent that the exact same, ongoing, fundamental issue of inequitable resource distribution between predominantly white, middle, and upper class, suburban, public school students vis-a-vis predominantly black, and brown, poor and working class, urban, public school students, is as real, and as serious in 2004 --- as it was in 1954. This failure can be attributed to numerous factors. One of the most critical and outstanding factors is that accommodations were made for expansion of the black middle class in particular. Many of those who benefited most from accommodations and expansion --- had been former leaders, activists, and participants in the types of street actions referenced above. Amazingly, many of the same people became willing "victims" of calculated, cooptation. Thus, due largely to a great vacuum in leadership, caused by desertion on the part of people who had once lent their skills to organizing and fighting so fervently for justice and equality, (apparently only for themselves), sociopolitical movements that had been effective --- died.
Another part of the hard, cold, simple truth is that throughout the history of this nation --- the overwhelming majority of wealthy, and middle class, white parents in particular --- have always made it clear that they are not willing to allow their children to attend schools with large numbers of poor, black, and brown children. In fact, wealthy, and middle class people of color have also generally chosen to educate their children separately from the poor, black masses.
It is probably important to pause at this point, and remind readers of the fact that, with regard to public education, and specifically as it relates to academic achievement, ongoing discussions regarding the potential worth or value of desegregation and integration, are usually fueled by the underlying reality that (decades after the 1954 Brown Decision, and other types of actions mentioned above) generally, so-called "minority" students attending public schools, lag behind their white counterparts by leaps and bounds. Numerous scholars and others continue to insist that desegregation and integration represent important aspects of the solution that will eliminate this so-called achievement "gap."
The idea of desegregation and racial integration representing a remedy relative to effectively addressing the widening achievement "gap" between white students and students of color (anytime soon), is totally unrealistic. This vitally important issue is much too urgent for us to give serious consideration to theories that are seemingly based primarily on people's romantic wishes, dreams, hopes, and prayers --- as opposed to some type of scientific approach and/or evidence. It is time to stop pretending and romanticizing about this life and death issue, and come to grips with the total reality that surrounds continued, pervasive, racial segregation within the U.S. public school system(s).
Clearly, an important part of the reality is that, while integration may be desirable for some --- there are far more people, especially middle, and upper class whites --- who do not, never have, and probably never will support racial integration of public schools. Although this reality applies to considerably more white people, particularly parents, than any other racial group --- it is not (exclusively) a white phenomenon. For example, in addition to hundreds of thousands of white educators, there are many blacks, and other parents of color, who make their livings by working in predominantly black, and brown, urban schools, but would never consider sending their own children to the same school systems in which they work (even if there were no residency laws preventing them from doing so). More often than not, urban educators (both white, and those of color) live in suburban areas. Although it hinges on sick thinking --- I am thoroughly convinced that it is not far-fetched to believe that many people of color who reside in suburban areas, would oppose full, racial integration of public schools.
The degree and depth of resistance represents the main reason why racial integration is not a timely, practical, nor realistic solution for addressing the hard core, entrenched, massive, educational failure experienced in economically poor, predominantly black, and Hispanic, urban school districts throughout the United States. It is precisely due to the fact that large numbers of people, especially people of color, have come to realize, and understand the depth and pervasiveness of resistance, that many are no longer willing to spend another 50 or 100 years fighting, and struggling to achieve the unlikely, and unrealistic goal of public school integration.
For decades, many African Americans have viewed the idea of integration as being a matter of chasing pipe dreams, or a waste of precious time and energy, that would be better spent on attempts to improve their public schools now (regardless of the socioeconomic, and racial compositions of the student bodies). The latter point represents a major reason why (as pointed out by professor Richard M. Merelman), organizations such as ... "the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which designed and executed the arduous legal strategy that [theoretically] won school desegregation in the courts, now has difficulty maintaining a public posture favorable to it against an indifferent and sometimes hostile membership (Education Week, Feb. 6, 2002, p. 52). It is not likely that the majority of rank and file NAACP members are "indifferent" to the serious, deep-seated, widespread failure, and/or other problems that exist in poverty stricken, urban schools. On the contrary --- they are probably quite concerned. Yet, there is no denying that many of them are absolutely "indifferent and sometimes hostile" relative to the idea of continuing to pursue public school integration, as a possible, immediate, or near-future solution. They have undoubtedly joined the ranks of millions who are very, very tired of chasing pipe dreams.
Indeed, there is a need to carefully consider what will happen to the generations of predominantly black and brown children who are currently left with no choices, except attending segregated, underfunded, relatively poor, urban public schools. One thing is certain: If their academic well being and progress is dependent upon the unlikely advent of racial integration --- such students will not become beneficiaries of significantly improved educational opportunities. Once again, it is impossible to overemphasize the fact that this unlikelihood is based on thoroughly pervasive, organized resistance --- fueled by irrational racist and classist values, and belief systems, especially, but not exclusively, on the part of middle and upper class, wealthy, white parents.
For those who are convinced that integration is, in part, or totally, the solution that will 'fix' the urban education crisis --- current and long range strategy is the key, pivotal issue. This is the most notable area in which staunch supporters and advocates of public school integration fall short. With regard to addressing the crisis, some scholars, and others insist that the solution, or at least a significant part of it, lies within the need to "break up concentrated poverty," which is another way of saying, there is a need to integrate public schools. Yet, these same advocates and supporters of integration are lacking, and in fact, totally deficient relative to development and/or implementation of practical, effective strategies and tactics that can be utilized to bring their proposed solution into fruition --- without having to wait another two or three hundred years, which is the worst possible thing that people who are most in need of change can afford to do.
In addition to those referenced above, there are many other people who continue to advocate and fight for urban, educational improvement, but for the most part (understandably so) --- in the face of widespread, predominantly white, well organized, and well financed resistance --- have given up on racial integration as a potential solution. This does not necessarily mean that such people are pro-segregation or pro-"re-segregation" (if there is such a thing relative to public education in the U.S., which I maintain --- there is not). In order for something to be reinstated or re-instituted --- it necessarily has to exist first. Since desegregation, and certainly integration, has never occurred on any substantial level within the U.S. public school system, it is not really possible, nor is it historically accurate or intellectually honest to engage in serious dialogue or discussion about so-called "re-segregation." Many people who clearly understand the desperate need for fundamental change, and academic improvement within urban schools throughout the nation, but do not accept racial integration as a realistic or viable solution, often support the following, or similar position(s): As it relates to urban, public schools in the main, (vis-a-vis overwhelmingly, predominantly white, suburban schools, in which children are generally doing well academically and otherwise), the reality that massive numbers of socioeconomically poor, African American and Hispanic children in particular, are flunking out, dropping out, dying out, and/or being imprisoned at younger ages than ever before --- dictates the necessity of providing major amounts of additional, financial resources, human energy and commitment in order to produce significant, fundamental change and improvement within urban, public schools now! Those who support this or similar positions, often argue that we can worry about integration later --- if at all. They also often insist (correctly so) that it is mainly white Americans (as opposed to people of color) who need to be convinced of the morality, importance, and value of integration. Urban students, as well as all students --- don't necessarily need integration or segregation: What they need is adequate and appropriate education!
With regard to professor Merelman's above referenced Education Week Commentary, the essential argument that the scholar attempts (unconvincingly) to advance is that equitable, educational opportunities, and significant academic improvement for economically poor, urban, public school children is totally dependent upon the wealth and deeds of white, suburban parents. He argues that... "white parents have more money than black parents to pay for schools, public or private. Parents are mainly interested in good schools for their own children, not for the children of others. It follows that whites will only support black students who happen to be in school with white children. Thus, only if they are sitting next to white children will black children benefit educationally" (p. 37). This is an incredibly shallow assertion, which seems to hinge upon acceptance of institutionalized racism. The argument completely ignores the fact that U.S. States are bound by their Constitutions to provide equitable educational opportunities for all children --- regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or any other variable. Perhaps the intended point that the author was attempting to make is that --- since predominantly white, suburban parents and communities (vis-a-vis predominantly African American and Hispanic, urban parents and communities) are generally far more wealthy, and economically stable, as well as, a lot more organized politically --- the former group exercises considerably more clout and control over local, state, and federal legislative bodies, which are responsible for allocating resources to public schools. Herein lies one of the most critical factors embodied within institutionalized discrimination and injustice, which helps perpetuate the shameful, national, urban education crisis. That is to say, as it relates to resource allocation, nearly every state legislature in the Union has devised indecipherable financial aid "formulas," (usually based largely on property tax), which clearly favor predominantly white, politically well organized, parents and children from wealthy suburban school districts --- while blatantly discriminating against predominantly African Americans and Hispanics, as well as other parents and children from less organized, economically poor, urban school districts. Such legally sophisticated, institutionalized racism and classism has always been an inherent part of the U.S. economic and political systems. With regard to providing equitable (not equal, but equitable) funding, and equal, public, educational opportunities --- the overall situation is literally a classic example of "robin-hood-in-reverse," i.e., literally taking from the poor, and giving to the rich.
Until and unless decisive, and probably mass action is taken --- professor Merelman is absolutely correct regarding his contention that... "poor black parents, underfunded [so-called] minority school districts, and low-tax-base, largely black cities [will] continue their losing struggle to come up with educational money they don't have." As noted at the outset of this treatise, U.S. history bears witness to the fact that the only type of action that is likely to be effective relative to helping to secure additional, much needed, and much deserved resources for economically poor, urban school districts is community organizing and civil disobedience, including, if necessary --- protesting in the halls of local, state, and federal governments --- as well as, in the streets. There is absolutely no question about the fact that the cause (demand for equitable public education funding, and equality regarding educational opportunities for all children now), is a just one! The cause is in fact the same one in 2004 that produced the well intentioned, but largely ineffective Brown Decision of 1954. As it relates to prospects for change and improvement, a critical missing element, which existed 50 years earlier, is the lack of bold, committed, courageous, political leadership, particularly within the nation's most depressed and oppressed communities. It is totally amazing that those who are considered and/or have been appointed as part of the official, and unofficial, elected, and non-elected leadership, and "representatives" of urban constituencies --- have been able for as long as they have, (without a firestorm of public criticism and dis-ownership by those whom they claim to represent), to get away with not initiating decisive and indeed radical actions --- designed to effectively produce significant, widespread, improvement relative to the scandalous, national, urban education crisis.
Lastly, the remote possibility of racial integration representing part of the solution relative to the crisis in urban, public education, is an issue and question that is largely dependent upon the commitment of its advocates, especially white persons. For those who are serious about their belief in the morality and value of racial integration, and truly committed to bringing it into existence, huge numbers of white people in particular, must necessarily be willing to confront the deep-seated, irrational, racism harbored in the hearts and minds of their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. It is important to consider that, historically speaking, (in the main) people of color have not been guilty of establishment and maintenance of pervasive, organized, resistance to racial integration within the U.S. . On the contrary, there is probably no example in the history of the world in which people have surpassed the efforts of African Americans and other people of color to integrate into a society that has repeatedly rejected them as equals. It would not be morally or ethically right, nor would it be logical to now blame African Americans and/or other people of color for being sick and tired of chasing that which certainly appears to be a pipe dream.
Finding the Next RCSD Superintendent: For Some, Dr. Christiana Otuwa is at the Top of the List
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