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Feedback 12/18 

CITY welcomes your comments. Send them to feedback@rochester-citynews.com with your name, your address, and your daytime phone number for verification. Only your name and city, town, or village in which you live will be published along with your letter. Your phone number and address will not be published. Comments of fewer than 500 words have a greater chance of being published, and we do edit selections for publication in print. We don't publish comments sent to other media.

Adjunct profs are gig workers, too

I appreciated the column on gig work ("Some gig workers are 'dependent contractors,' December 11) but it missed one of the time-honored types of gig work endemic in our Rochester community: Adjunct professors.

When I joined the professional staff at Monroe Community College many years ago, I had the impression that adjuncts were people who had "real world" jobs who came in and taught a class or two and shared their experience with the students. I thought about teaching a class myself until I learned the pay. It wasn't worth my time.

Then I started talking to some of the MCC adjuncts. Besides their low pay, they received no benefits and waited on tenterhooks at the start of every semester to find out if their class had enough students to proceed or if a full-time faculty member would "bump" them. Some of them taught nearly the equivalent of a full-time class schedule. Many of them cobbled together full-time work by teaching at many different local colleges. Rochester's famed higher education relies on the low pay / no benefits of adjunct professors and the scheduling flexibility that these "gig" workers provide.

ANNE PERRY, FAIRPORT

Applause for shopping around

Wayne Willis made some good points in his feedback letter ("Wegmans isn't our only supermarket," December 11).  Like him, I find myself shopping at a handful of stores to get everything on my list.

Once upon a time, it was Wegmans for everything.  However, over the last couple of years, Wegmans has been phasing out a lot of products and carrying more and more of Wegmans brands. I prefer to have a wider choice. Tops market has really stepped up in that area. Most recently, I was happy to find a favorite low-sodium tamari soy sauce by San-J at Tops, which Wegmans stopped carrying months and months ago. Aldi's has superior (and inexpensive) salad mixes that don't contain the beleaguered romaine lettuce. Trader Joe's has a peach salsa that is to die for. Many staple items can be found for less at both Aldi's and Walmart. Lori's is great for bulk and organic foods.

It would be nice if there was a central city "food markets" square, where multiple grocers could be found.

BARBARA BRAG, ROCHESTER

A CITY reader's plea: Give us more news

CITY indicated that it welcomes more feedback, which I'm sure it does ("Is the art of letter writing dead?" Feedback, December 11). But I'd suggest CITY doesn't have enough news articles for readers to provide feedback.

You have plenty of opinion, especially, and forever, about the Rochester public school system. I'm hopeful you will add more news. A page of highlights — openings, closings, Main Street, State Street, changes, updates.

That's my feedback. Less school news, more news news.

ROB LEWKOWICZ, ROCHESTER

Picking up the slack

I read with dismay that some weeks the CITY inbox is empty, a fearful sign that the centuries-long art of letter writing is on life support. It was dismaying because I am one of the rare birds who — when opening my print edition of CITY, the Democrat and Chronicle, or The New York Times — scans the letters to the editor. In fact, I dropped my weekday subscription to the D&C because it dropped its weekday Opinion page.

Over the years, the local Letter to the Editors pages have been graced with the witty and incise commentary of Byrna Weir, Sam Abrams, Lynda Howland, the late Morris Shapiro, George Cassidy Payne and Michael J. Nighan, just to name a few.

It's a shame not enough newspaper readers are carrying their mantle. By contrast, The New York Times is flooded with letters. People actually read and respond to online articles slated to be printed the next day. We're not Manhattan, but let's pick up the slack.

DAVID KRAMER, BRIGHTON

RCSD needs parents' voices

As parents, grandparents, guardians, and concerned Rochester residents, we believe in our children and feel there is hope for our voices to break through the din of endless crises and setbacks.

We are calling for more consistent engagement for what is desperately needed in our community — comprehensive reform that puts the needs of our children and their future opportunities at the forefront. Systems, policies, structures, and the dynamics of power have left our children and our city behind.

As Distinguished Educator Dr. Jaime Aquino noted in his 2018 report on the Rochester City School District:

"(I)f RCSD's schools are going to transform into places where all students thrive, the district must undertake a total reset of the way in which the district operates. In addition, all stakeholders must understand the difficulties RCSD faces. To produce better student outcomes, administrators, staff, and parents will have to make tough decisions and implement reforms."

By partnering with parents to respond to the current budget crisis, maybe we can do something new. We need the discipline to avoid bickering and finger-pointing and instead focus on urban education reform.

As parents, we are exhausted by news coverage of crisis after crisis without those in power examining and correcting the real crisis that is leaving almost 87 percent of the district's 26,000 students below grade level. We will never fully thrive as a region unless we can graduate college- and career-ready men and women across race, income, and geography.

We reject the narrative that parents are incapable of working to address these issues or that parents are to blame. This narrative permeates conversations throughout the region, and sends the underlying message that our black and brown children are too poor, too broken, or too traumatized to learn. We know these narratives are false.

Let's galvanize to improve our community, one school at a time. Consider reaching out to your school's parent group or joining the school-based planning team, attend Board of Education meetings (or watch online), and talk to other parents at your child's school and encourage them to be involved and vote! Follow Greater Rochester Parent Leadership Training Institute on social media for parent empowerment information and to keep in touch with what our parent leaders are doing.

The time has come to recognize that there is no quick fix for the problems our children are facing.

DEBORAH HANMER, LUVA ALVAREZ and JESSICA GUSTAFSON

Hanmer, Alvarez, and Gustafson are representatives of the Greater Rochester Parent Leadership Training Institute, a local initiative of the National Parent Leadership Institute since 2012.

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