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What a fine editorial concerning the concentration of poverty in Rochester (Urban Journal, May 13). Despite the negative responses from many commenters, I believe that most fair-minded people will allow that there is more than 51 percent truth in the editorial's position.
The very hard fact is that wealth and poverty are correlative. There is a finite amount of wealth on the earth at any moment in time, and it is all owned by someone. That is a very difficult truth to swallow. It means that unless I am willing to share more, the problem will remain.
What is most distressing to me is that both sides sincerely believe their version of the truth is absolutely and irrevocably correct. Just like the five blindfolded people touching a different part of the elephant, each of them is so absolutely sure of the truth.
Ms. Towler, you make my heart sink. "What can we do about high poverty rate[s]?" you ask. How about changing the culture? I say.
All of your solutions amount to one solution: more money — the eternal fail-safe liberal answer to every problem.
I am old enough to remember when throngs flocked downtown by bus. That's where the shopping was: Sibley's, McCurdy's, Forman's, Sears. That's where the upscale restaurants were: Trebor's, Eddie's Chop House, Edward's Pub. That's where the movie theatres were. Nobody in those days felt the need for a bus terminal.
Now that bus riding has dwindled to a trickle of people, we have to have a bus terminal. It wasn't hard to predict that concentrating all those students in one place was going to cause problems.
So, what to do about it? Subsidized housing, higher minimum wage, job programs, yada, yada, yada.
Liberal-inspired government programs have created a dreadful culture of dependency and low expectations. THAT is the problem we must address.
The State Education Department says that the enrollment of Genesee Community Charter School should reflect the population of the Rochester city school district.
GCCS offers a vibrant school community, diverse student body, and an outstanding education. Instead of seeking to change that successful formula, we should seek to replicate it in the Rochester city school district and statewide. Instead of asking GCCS to become less diverse, we should ask how we make the RCSD more diverse and more successful.
If anything, this article and GCCS demonstrate that we need a regional school system so that all students can be part of school communities that are not more than 40 percent free-reduced lunch, and are thus more likely to do well.
BARB VAN KERKHOVE
I happen to believe GCCS delivers an exceptional education program in a city that is short on quality options. However, the school is in clear violation of the charter law and needs to be more accessible to ALL city students. Sometimes in the course of discussions such as this, it is easy to forget that there are outstanding charter schools here in Rochester that serve poor students almost exclusively and deliver tremendous results.