Rochester needs socioeconomically diverse, cross-district magnet schools

Excerpt from a Rochester Beacon opinion from April 22, 2019 by Mark Hare and Don Pryor

“GS4A is not advocating the creation of a single countywide school district. Rather, we support a network of voluntary interdistrict schools. Our niche at GS4A has been to insist on a public school system that does its job to sharply improve the odds of success for all children—and in particular for those most at risk of failure. Socioeconomically diverse schools can significantly improve the odds.”

Minneapolis unrest stems from segregated schools and neighborhoods 

NY Times opinion by Myron Orfield  and Will Stancil: “George Floyd and Derek Chauvin Might as Well Have Lived on Different Planets” – June 3, 2020

“Minneapolis also operated an aggressive school desegregation plan…This new approach focused more on improving segregated schools than eliminating them, and uplifting impoverished neighborhoods without directly addressing the region’s racialized living patterns. “

Rochester’s extreme school segregation, worst in U.S.

From the LA School Report: “Haves and have-nots: The borders between school districts often mark extreme segregation. A new study outlines America’s 50 worst cases”  by Mark Keierleber, January 22, 2020

“The Rust Belt city of Rochester in upstate New York has the most economically segregating school district border in the country, walling off the high-poverty education system from its affluent neighbors next door, according to a new report.”

School integration actually drives social mobility

From Children of the Dream by Rucker Johnson

“We are frequently told that school integration was a social experiment doomed from the start. But as Rucker C. Johnson demonstrates in Children of the Dream, it was, in fact, a spectacular achievement. Drawing on longitudinal studies going back to the 1960s, he shows that students who attended integrated and well-funded schools were more successful in life than those who did not — and this held true for children of all races.

“Yet as a society we have given up on integration. Since the high point of integration in 1988, we have regressed and segregation again prevails. Contending that integrated, well-funded schools are the primary engine of social mobility, Children of the Dream offers a radical new take on social policy. It is essential reading in our divided times.”

Desegregating Rochester schools requires community wide response

By Mark Hare and Don Pryor

We have an April 9, 2019 opinion piece in City Newspaper: “Integrated metro schools can be a reality in Rochester. ”

Facit: “Given local demographics and finite available resources, desegregating schools and reversing the insidious effects of concentrated poverty in Rochester schools require a broad-based, community-wide response. For example, collaborations between city and suburban school districts can lead to a network of evidence-based, cross-district, socioeconomically-diverse magnet schools.”

Clay Osborne recognized with Founders Award

Special congratulations to Clay Osborne, member of Great School for All’s steering committee, who recently was awarded the Rochester Area Community Foundation’s Joe U. Posner Founders Award, the Foundation’s highest community service and philanthropy award. A well-deserved honor, Clay!

In his acceptance remarks, Clay stated:

“I urge that we continue to seek out the missing links to further the gains we have earned thus far through our philanthropic giving and advocacy. 1. Is to invite in more evidence based, thought disruptive and sometimes controversial initiatives into the tent.

For example, we can examine more closely and intentionally thought disruptive ideas, even some controversial ones; as an example we can pursue having economically diverse magnet schools, supported by the Great Schools for All group, while at the same time supporting quality neighborhood schools.”

Vote for a brighter future for city schools on June 25

On June 25th, Democratic voters in the City of Rochester will choose the four candidates who will appear on the Democratic Party line in the November election for the Rochester Board of Education.

Great Schools for All (GS4A) does not support specific candidates, but urges voters to designate candidates who are collaborative in their approach and supportive of cross-district, socio-economically balanced schools so that more students and families have access to academic and social success.

If our community intends to move forward to deconcentrate poverty in schools, electing school commissioners who are willing to show leadership for systemic  change is essential. Candidate information is available at City Newspaper 

With the large field of candidates this year, it is especially important for voters to educate themselves about issues and positions.  And, most important, to vote on June 25th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do about the city schools

Two approaches to RCSD change

On May 13, the Rochester Beacon hosted an education forum on the future of city schools, with a keynote address by former Newark, New Jersey, superintendent Christopher Cerf.

Two panels of local experts followed Cerf’s presentation. The first panel reacted to Cerf’s address; the second offered specific ideas for reforming Rochester schools. On that second  panel was Don Pryor, of the Great Schools Strategy Team. His powerpoint presentation is at the top right side of this homepage.

Video of both panels can be found at the link above.

‘Democrat and Chronicle’ calls for state takeover of city schools

Below is an excerpt from a Democrat and Chronicle editorial that first appeared on May 31. The editorial urges the state legislature to approve a temporary takeover of the Rochester City School District—the first time the paper has made this call.

The full editorial and a video message from Mayor Lovely Warren can be found here.

Be courageous.

We call on New York State Assembly Members Harry Bronson, David Gantt and Jamie Romeo; New York State Senators Rich Funke, Joe Robach and Michael Ranzenhofer; all other elected state representatives from our region; and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to recognize their opportunity to create a life-changing legacy.

We call on them to support Mayor Lovely Warren, whom an overwhelming majority of city voters chose to represent them, in her call for  state takeover of the Rochester City School District. 

At this moment in time, only our elected state legislators have the power to disrupt our education system. Only they hold the legislative authority and moral obligation to begin the reform that is long overdue. Only they can start to change a broken structure that cannot change itself. If they do not act now, they are failing Rochester’s children.They are also failing our entire community, perhaps for generations to come.

They must pass legislation to replace the Rochester City School Board with an appointed board. Those who claim this will rob city residents of their right to select school leaders are not facing reality. Most city residents have voluntarily given up this privilege already. Voter turnout for school board elections hovers around 10 percent, and campaigns are heavily influenced by unions. City residents do not show up for school board elections because they do not believe their votes will change anything, as decades of experience have taught them. A democracy does not work when there is no positive outcome for those who participate in it.