This is simply another triumph for liberal idealism and a defeat for pragmatic efforts to improve bad school environments. It will likely have a net contribution of worsening those environments and furthering the exodus from RCSD.
On 3/22/2014 the D and C ran the article “Erica Bryant: A school for the kids who want to learn” giving an in-person, very sober perspective on a day at East High School. It was an extraordinarily significant contribution and sadly unique (probably due to PC pressures). The number of fights that year at East I believe was later reported as over 700. If people want to help RCSD - and the “kids who want to learn” - then they would do well to listen to such reports.
Tim had his chance several years ago in an “in depth series” but he passed on any followup to the most insightful comments provided - a student responding that ‘students can learn if they want to’ and that they wished that the ‘disruptive kids would be removed from the classrooms’ (the latter’s contributions made painfully clear in Bryant’s article).
If Bryant had had the time she could have provided another look at East High School. She could have spent an afternoon at the practice of East High School’s boy basketball team. That year they would have been preparing for the end of their season. Their season ended in the State’s Big School bracket finals! In the beautiful and demanding sport of basketball they had succeeded in a very big way and their approach had been exactly the opposite of the reformer idealists. Of course the program is for kids who want to (learn) basketball and of course they would not have hesitated to use disciplinary measures to correct disruptions.
Finally, for people buying the race-angle provided here you might try reading the Race-related articles that the New York Times has been running in the last year or so. Almost invariably those articles are followed up by heavy criticism from their readers (I read the Readers’ Picks comments). The abuse of the race issue is ironically championed by liberal activists but it ultimately brings harm to the African American community - including of course their ‘kids who want to learn’.
It is easy to get off on idealism. The challenge in education (and life) is try to stay real.
First, this is only the Democratic primary. There are other voters to be heard from including Independents like myself. I imagine Warren got a good fraction of her potential total supporters out yesterday.
I have to comment on the "Warren's central focus in this campaign was education". To have her message on education taken seriously - in particular as an African American candidate running what appears to be an African American-centric campaign - and not even begin to acknowledge the giant issue driving the "failing" schools is striking. That issue I see several days a week as a volunteer tutor and that is unbelievably low commitment to education amongst many African American students and their parents.
It was welcome news that a recent gathering of African American ministers acknowledged this situation. But where is Lovely Warren on this issue or any other critical look at the African American community?
I am not responding to this incident but to the underlying issue of police tactics. Those tactics were raised by Daniel and are big picture issues (unlike this incident).
The pro and cons of those tactics were succinctly described in my earlier notes and did not reference "our safety".
As I alluded to the principal beneficiary of the recent trend toward aggressive policing has been young African American males by reducing their deaths at the hands (or guns) of other young African American males. By the way in a recent piece by Mary Anna Towler she cited crime statistics. The significant one she didn't comment on was the 21% - the percent of violent crime victims who were not African American but in which the perpetrator was African American.
I could have similarly commented on living in "inner cities" but it is irrelevant. By working in a heavily populated hot spot - along Dewey Ave. - surrounded by many young people and regularly looking out on to the street scene there I get a feel for these issues that I never ever could come close to in living in the South Wedge.
As a more particular example, last year after some nearby assaults (one of which led to an African American women suggesting I reconsider volunteering there due to the apparent targeting of white men) we had a meeting. The meeting was delayed a bit as a city official was late. As he walked in he said in passing, 'I was late due to attending a meeting about assaults on immigrants'. No one at the meeting needed any more details.
So the question left for you and others with similar "liberal academic backgrounds" is can you in any way be critical of those that you presume are "far more deserving of our sympathies"? For future reference if somehow I fall into this category then please forgo the sympathy or pity and just offer your honest critical opinion. Honesty can be productive, pity very rarely is.
Daniel (and Lincoln),
First, Lincoln your fine write-up contained a reference to "David" when I think you wanted "Daniel".
Daniel, you have a nice liberal academic perspective but do you have any relevant experience with the issues here?
Having volunteered in north Rochester for a little over three years now (4 afternoons a week) I have gotten a feel for the terrain and with it the police's perspective. I also commute there via bike. The crime threat there appears to be dominated by young African American males as it is in the immediate vicinity of the library (Maplewood) where I work. Assaults have been a significant problem. The library has had to call in the police to remove such people and I was there when an officer was injured by an arrestee. It is inherently difficult work for the police and I doubt PC idealizations are in any way helpful.
The targeting you were refer to was covered in an August 2011 article in Scientific American entitled "How New York Beat Crime". The principal victory of that aggressive policy was in reducing violent crime and in particular the deaths of "young men of color" (i.e., African American males). The trade-off of course is that many "young men of color" are stopped.
The rationale for such an aggressive policy was also indirectly made in a frank emotive moment of the NYC mayoral campaign. Questioned about his support for "Stop and Frisk", African American candidate Bill Thompson "thundered" back, "I'm the one who has to worry about my son getting shot on the street".
This a complicated process and the study findings are minimal - look at the numbers.
The additional complication (and explanation) embedded here is that in general we are better able to relate to and empathize with people of similar backgrounds. Thus in general people tend to try to find a general practitioner who matches up with them. Thus some women want a lady doctor. I think they could find similar findings along different lines. A study looking at obese patients would likely find that heavy practitioners were more sensitive to their needs than were light ones.
Such general biases are often unconscious and largely separate from the much hyped topic of racism. Is it racist if an Asian woman tends to be more attracted to Asian males?
The complication continues with the mixed blessing. Do you really want to be in the group that has a slightly larger chance of getting an ovoid prescription (with the associated dangers)?
The exchange here - like the campaigning - ignores the dominate issue which is cultural and not amenable to external policy rectification.
children who are being lost to an educational system that continues to fail them, and families who have and continue to lose loved ones in the streets of our city.
The overwhelming failure present amongst RCSD students is a parental/home-driven disregard for education. I see this in person as a volunteer tutor and the larger evidence - note the 4 year RCSD gap in achievement between African American males and their white counterparts (the girl gap has to be similar) - is very self-evident. Short of an internal revolution - a quiet one - amongst a majority of the African American and secondarily the Hispanic community to get on board with learning, and their(/Rochester's) economic future will be very(/quite) limited. And this situation is certainly not unique to Rochester.
This education point simply resonates with the "loved ones" lost in the streets point.
With Richards I see a pragmatic mayor, PC-light if you will. With Warren I see PC-heavy. Lightly and hugely pretending around the underlying issue, respectively.
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