To Johnny: Your comment makes me think you have not seen the panel. If you did, you would know it is not a picture of a young child playing with chickens.
Mary, thank you for this article. Yes, it is appalling that it has taken so long to raise this issue. I noticed it ten years ago and cried while riding the carousel with my grand-daughter. I vowed never to take children on the carousel again. That didn't take care of the problem. We must have the fortitude, know-how and the guts to speak out and do something about things that we see that are wrong. thanks to the Democrat & Chronicle blogger and to Howard Eagle for leading this effort for change.
Thanks for at least attempting to open the discussion about receivership. The media coverage of this new law has been terribly lacking. The law REQUIRES community engagement. Dr. Vargas has already violated the law by making drastic changes at School #9 before the Community Engagement Team is even formed.
This law was written with the thought that a superintendent would put helping a school to improve above ego. This law was written with the understanding that the community will support what they create. Having the school community develop a plan for a school gives them ownership and responsibility to make sure the plan succeeds.
Dr. Vargas is determined to implement his agenda despite the advise of the School #9 community. He insists that he knows best how to help the school improve. His plan to move the 7th and 8th grade students from The Boys Academy, one of the most successful programs in the district, to be part of the Young Mens Leadership at Charlotte clearly demonstrates that his reasoning has nothing to do with school improvement. Students in this program have some of the highest attendance in the district. Attendance has been his key talking point for years and yet he wants to dismantle a program that meets one of his key goals. He has made a point of sharing only the negative data regarding these boys - - - dismissing any evidence of their success. He told some recent 8th grade graduates from the program that the fact that they earned some Regents high school credits doesn't count. Only the scores on the NYS Math and ELA tests count in making decisions. 9 out of 11 eighth grade boys in The Boys Academy passed the Regents Algebra I exam. He says that's good but. . .
These are the boys who came up with the creative idea to produce a video to get the superintendent's attention about not having a Spanish teacher. It worked! These are the students who Van White selected to represent our district in a national symposium. They made a video detailing their research into historical discrimination, from the antebellum South to the 1960s. Their character and leadership skills were developed over the years of being in the Boys Academy. It wasn't a one or two year growth plan.
Lastly, I invite the media, school board commissioners and community to read up on the Receivership Law and not just believe what you hear from RCSD Central Office. This law gives power like never before to the community. Our school board and regents commissioners must hold Dr. Vargas and his inner circle accountable for obeying the law and not using this new authority as a bully pulpit.
I was reading this article and saying, "Yes. Yes. Yes." Until. . . I came to " But at what point do we stop pretending that this has nothing to do with poverty?
The evidence is clear: Decades of concentrated poverty is having a profound effect on families who have lived in it for generations."
Here we go again with a one dimensional answer to a very complex problem. NEWS FLASH! There is no one reason for the numerous problems we see occurring with our youth, especially violence.
I do believe that spending less time on increasing academic rigor and more time on social, emotional and leadership development will give our youth a sense of self-worth, hope and purpose for a future.
thank you Howard for bringing this our attention. I am certainly not interested in investing a single penny in prisons. what a slap in the face to educators to try to rationalize this action.
Great news! This change is long overdue. It was a terrible idea from the beginning. Having the students transfer downtown was about money from the very beginning and not about safety or anything that valued the students or parents.
I agree with Dr. Vargas that a culture change is needed. Changing a culture means changing attitudes, priorities and philosophy of an organization - - - how and why that organization wants to do business. Transformation of the RCSD - - - changing the culture cannot be accomplished by closing schools, adding new courses to the curriculum, giving students more time on task, clearing the books of non-attending students, or more standardized tests. Changing the culture must begin with changing the mindset of each individual who has a vested interest in the district. The purpose and reasons for existence of the school district must become the focal point for all. There are transformation processes that have been successful in making dramatic culture changes in other school districts, corporations and even countries. Positive transformation can only happen when all constituents agree that there is a problem and desire to do their part to solve it. The entire country of Guatemala (including the president) adopted a process to change culture and a saying which means Transformation Begins with Me! I strongly believe that there is no reason why the Rochester community and RCSD cannot do the same.
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