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Feedback 8/24 

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Buildings don't teach; people do

On education writer Tim Macaluso's "Politics Creeps Into School Overhaul":

Come on, Mr. Macaluso – who are we kidding? Who in the world is dumb enough to believe that the state legislature, the city, and the school district are going to spend over a billion dollars and the process by which the money is doled out and controlled is going "to be immune to politics"?

(Let's not forget that even though the state is picking up most of the tab, the school district is still responsible for paying a portion of this money. And since the school district has no legal authority or capacity to raise money, the city is necessarily involved, and potentially on the hook.)

The entire process is necessarily political, and was, right from the word go. It's mind-boggling that mass media operatives and others attempt to convince the public that a process in which hundreds of state and local politicians are making decisions can magically occur within an apolitical reality. We understand clearly that everything is political (from the cradle to the grave), especially anything having to do with billions of dollars.

We also know that provision of "high quality, 21st century education" is not equal to or necessarily an automatic outcome of modernizing buildings. Buildings don't provide education; people do. Thus the most critical elements relative to provision of "high quality, 21st century education" are knowledgeable and committed educators; supportive and involved parents and families, and the broader community, particularly within sectors from which the vast majority of students come.

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.

HOWARD EAGLE

Bring in big biz?

On Urban Journal's "A Modest Little Proposal for Revitalizing Downtown":

Couldn't agree with this more. Wegmans, Paychex, Harris, etc.: if one of the larger companies in the area put its headquarters in the middle of the city, I think it would really send a message that the future of Rochester is downtown.

BEN

And don't forget Constellation Brands. I think their products are served all over the city. More so than the suburbs. Downtown needs a critical mass. The more people who work downtown will want to live downtown.

NICK POWERS

A modest little proposal for revitalizing downtown? Moving corporations back downtown isn't a little thing. Haven't big corporations like Wegmans, Paychex, Xerox, etc. done their homework and decided that it was best for their companies AND workers to move their headquarters to the suburbs?

Could it be that it's too expensive and inconvenient for these corporations to stay downtown? What incentives could be offered to make them give up what they have in the suburbs and bring them back to the city? I don't think it's enough for them to just be proud to say that their headquarters are located downtown.

Detroit is not Rochester, and what you see happening in Detroit may work there but you can't assume it would work here. We might learn from what Dan Gilbert did and how he did it, but do you think Rochester and its corporations want to be told what to do based on what other cities are or are not doing?

Here's a modest little proposal: Rochester has been nicknamed "Smugtown" for a reason. I would prefer to see that image dissolved. What about doing things that are more welcoming; like offering free and convenient parking? This might encourage a less smug image and then build from there. Maybe, in time, Rochester might attract corporations to move their headquarters back downtown and be associated with a less smug image.

DON SHERMAN

I'm sure COMIDA will have to be involved. I always thought CITY was against moving companies to another town within our region, leaving a hole where they came from.

How about this: lower taxes so NEW companies move to the area, making the pie for all of us larger? How about lowering the minimum wage within the city's borders to spur entry-level jobs that give people the experience to start moving up the ladder, gain experience, and maybe someday start their own business?

JOHNNY

Is "Q" a slur?

Please stop using the derogatory "Q" with "LGBT." Any LGBT person who calls himself or herself a queer has a much self-respect as a back person who calls himself or herself a nigger.

I said that yesterday at lunch with three other people. One of them, who is black and gay, immediately replied with an emphatic and sincere, "Thank you! I've spent my life fighting against being caller both slurs."

GIL FRENCH

Editor's response: Language changes. "LGBTQ" is becoming common usage by many people and reflects several changes. For some people – particularly younger ones – the word "queer" has lost its stigma. Some prefer to identify themselves as queer rather than specifically lesbian, gay, bi, or transgender. Others consider the "Q" to stand for "questioning."

Our editorial policy is to use the designation preferred by the people to whom it is being applied. This has been the case with the media's abandonment of the word "Negro," for example. And we no longer refer to a woman by her husband's name: "Mrs. John Smith." To do otherwise, we believe, would be to impose an elite "majority's" tastes and standards on people who prefer a different designation.

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