Mark, Sorry friend, I live in this district and I find I have to challenge your assertion. These people very much believe that it matters who their child sits next to in school. That is indeed the issue for them. They don't want their kid sitting next to a "city kid". And appealing to the common good is looked upon as a negative argument not a positive one. This is the place where the powers that be fought for exclusionary town prayers, the district has a Good News Club that teaches creationism as an after school program and the most important political issue is the registration of assault rifles. It is sad and ugly, but appealing to reason and the belief that it just can't be that bad and pervasive is simply naive.
On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglas asked: "What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?" Today, nearly 163 years later, I ask: What, to the African American is your bleeding-heart rhetoric? Douglass answered his own question by stating that, where black people were concerned, celebration of the 4th of July represented "fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages." With regard to the history of public education in this nation, state, county, and city, and ongoing, rampant, bleeding-heart-rhetoric about so-called "equality" --- my answer today is exactly the same as Douglass' was in 1852, which brings us to the article at the link below.
With regard to the historic, intentionally-created, and intentionally-maintained, dual, race-based, unequal, public education system --- the article (at the link below) easily ranks among the biggest bunch of bleeding-heart, super-liberal, hogwash that I have ever read. The content is nothing more or less than puffed-up, super-rhetoric of the highest order, which is so filled with fundamental contradictions, conflated distortions, and abstractions --- that the author ends up undoing some of his own arguments. Let us examine my claims.
1. There is absolutely no evidence --- nothing that substantiates the authors fairy-tail-theory that "most parents in the Spencerport school district would welcome participation in the Urban-Suburban program." In fact, if history is an accurate indicator, the exact opposite is likely true. Nor is there one single iota of evidence that "the voices of opposition [are] few" in number.
2. "Urban-Suburban [might be] a [so-called] low-maintenance integration plan," but way more importantly, is the fact that it is a thoroughly ineffective, miserably failed, so-called "integration plan." Let's examine the facts: a) The program is 50 years old; b) there are 18 suburban school districts in Monroe County (excluding two, overwhelmingly white BOCES districts) --- only 7 of which have participated in the urban-suburban program (over a 50 year period), which means the other 11 have made it clear that they want no parts of racial, so-called "integration" ; c) it's difficult (to say the least) to make a credible case that 500 students of color, spread out over 7 suburban school districts (while their own home district remains at least 85% students of color), and the districts that they are being "integrated" into remain, in most cases, over 90% white --- represents some type of effective model of so-called racial "integration." What a joke; d) Monroe County has some of the most racially segregated schools in the nation, and that's how the overwhelming majority of white people intend to keep it --- period. http://www2.monroecounty.gov/government-sc…
3. It's exceedingly easy to detect phoniness within the author's argument. For example, as a so-called benefit of the program, he touts the superficial, and largely irrelevant idea that "thousands of suburban kids get to know classmates whose lives are very different from their own." So what? By the way, since it's supposedly significant that "thousands of [mainly white,] suburban kids get to know classmates whose lives are very different from their own" --- is the opposite not also true, and/or important, i.e., that 500 urban students of color "get to know" white students whose lives "are very different from their own" --- or is this a one-way 'benefit'? And then there's the important question of how well most of them really "get to know" each other.
4. A classic, and extreme example of a fundamental contradiction, conflated distortion, and abstraction is contained in the author's claim that "our own experience [has] made it absolutely clear: socioeconomic integration of our schools is essential, though not sufficient to reverse the catastrophic outcomes in the city schools." What? The guy is literally making it up. There has been no local "experience" that involves, on any significant level --- "socioeconomic [and certainly not racial] integration of our schools." Thus, any claim regarding relational impact on "outcomes in city schools" is a matter of total fallacy.The writer is also very careful to shroud his argument in the cloak of "socioeconomic," as opposed to racial "integration" (even though we know that the two are as closely correlated as they could possibly be, especially within deeply-entrenched, thoroughly segregated, Monroe County).
5. Another conflated distortion is the idea that it "matters where you go to school, or who you sit next to." Of course, it "matters where you go to school" --- in the sense that some schools are much better than others (for many complex reasons), but there is no evidence what so ever, that it "matters who you sit next to." That is to say, just as in the case of good schools that are overwhelmingly, predominantly white --- good, overwhelmingly black or brown schools, don't become any less 'good' --- because few or no white students attend. Thus, again, in part, the latter quote represents a false dichotomy or fallacy, and really seems designed to skirt a critically important, historic issue, and question: 'Why are so many predominantly white, suburban schools good, and so many predominantly black and brown, urban schools bad (based on measures such as orderly classrooms, and general environments, modern, high-tech facilities and equipment, graduation rates, parent and community involvement, etc...)? This is NOT just one huge coincident. So, what (specifically) has produced this condition?
6. It is most interesting that, in the process of attempting to validate the 'significance' of the miserably-failed urban-suburban program, the writer extracted a totally de-contextualized quote from "the 1966 Coleman report on equality of educational opportunity." The full truth of the matter is, the Coleman report raised more questions than answers regarding widespread, educational improvement for black and brown children attending public schools. And clearly, with regard to public education, where the masses of children of color are concerned, in some respects, since the time of the original 1966 Coleman report, overall conditions have grown worse. For example, I'm quite certain the author would shy away from discussing the facts that: "The Coleman report gave rise to mass busing in public schools. As a work of sociology, the Coleman Report was full of subtleties and caveats, but the mass media and makers of policy focused on one prediction--that black children who attended integrated schools would have higher test scores, if a majority of their classmates were white. That last point is key because in 1975 Coleman concluded in a new study that busing had failed, largely because it had prompted white flight. As white families fled to suburban schools, the report concluded, the opportunity for achieving racial balance evaporated. Political support for busing quickly waned. Many civil rights leaders, educators, policy-makers, and sociologists who had embraced Coleman's earlier findings now were outraged.They blasted him for abandoning his earlier commitment to desegregation. Some members of the American Sociological Association even moved to have him expelled, albeit unsuccessfully. (Coleman was elected president in 1991)." http://pages.jh.edu/~jhumag/0400web/18.htm…
7. Of all the many illogical, nonsensical, abstract notions contained in the article, the following takes the cake: "If we are going to give the poorest children in our community a chance to succeed in school, we need not just Urban-Suburban, but a family of urban-suburban prodigies to bridge the gap." What?
8. The author is obviously speculating relative to when or how "socioeconomic [/racial] integration works." Since it has not existed on in any large, or even medium scale within Rochester, and certainly not within Monroe County --- none of us know for certain how, or even IF it works.
9. IF it is true "that good schools teach students how to care for each other, and about our obligation to work for the common good" --- then how do we logically explain that, as stated in the article --- according to "Chris Widmaier, a science teacher and the swim coach at the city's World of Inquiry School --- suburban kids don't even make eye contact with my swimmers. The fact is many of them have no idea how to talk to people who are different from them?"
10. Based on a very long, and clear history of well organized, well financed, and thoroughly effective resistance, I would urge urban parents and families to categorically, unequivocally reject (as totally unrealistic) the old, old, hyper-liberal, bleeding-heart, rhetoric regarding the assertion that: "If we truly believe in equal opportunity, we must break up the segregated schools that have preserved inequality for decades." Socioeconomic / racial inequality was built into the fabric, foundation, and structure of the public education system (from day one), and there is absolutely no evidence that the vast majority of predominantly, but not exclusively, white parents have the least bit of interest in "breaking [it] up." In fact, nearly all available evidence seems to indicate the exact opposite. Thus, my humble, but staunch recommendation would be focusing with laser-like precision on fixing urban schools as they currently stand --- as opposed to chasing an integration-pipe-dream for another 50 or 100 years. Our children can't afford to wait --- period. http://blackagendareport.com/content/publi…
Rochester has a housing issue from homeless, to affordable living, and on and on. There is a lack of innovation going on. A homeless village where it was set to be a skate park at one time is absurd. This location is ideal for a skate park yet such is dashed. The subway used to house the homeless but not its an urban tour destination that still lays undeveloped. There is a lot of undeveloped and under developed in the city. Then there is the fill in of the inner loop instead of doing a tunnel as Boston and other cities have done.
Rochester is a hot mess... Yet we have resources we should turn to. Like Cornell University and other Colleges that have architectural programs could easily solve homeless housing. Forget Pike and the construction firms we have who want huge profits. Lets turn to students and professors to develop housing and to rezone Rochester. We have homes filled with asbestos, lead paint,inefficient mechanicals, and are out dated. Lets get rid of such. Bring in RIT students and professors to collaborate with other Universities to provide diverse efficient and innovative housing for our City. With the understanding that we need to coexist with the Diversity we have. Neighborhoods that are a solar co op as is in DC and other cities, linked into a Geothermal co op, metal roofing and hardie board siding so that fires don't spread house to house, and such other innovations to make living affordable. This way we can have resources to share with homeless shelter co op style housing. Tiny homes and small homes are in now and we as a community should pioneer this by taking down abandoned housing stock to build tiny and small home communities where less is more. Build brownstone and row housing for middle class families. Build condo's and Townhomes for empty nesters. Revive neighborhoods via culture centers. Such as lil havana, chinatown, and such so that heritage can be built, explored, and enjoyed. Repurpose old factories or tear them down and rebuild. Build up our water front properties for high end housing so we have tax income coming in. Issue permits so we can have street vendors, street performers, and street exhibits so that jobs are created and to attract people downtown or into cultural neighborhoods.
Also transition employment to be flexible so that part time jobs offer health care or dental and vision so that people can be offered 2 part time jobs where one offers health and the other offers dental and vision so that there is diversity of employment options beyond full time shift work or 9 to 5, 8 to 4, 7 to 3 full time day shifts. So this way we have neighborhoods alive with people being able to securely afford a home and to invest in their home.
Neighborhoods with schools, parks, shopping, and such in walking distance... infrastructure for every neighborhood. Festivals, block parties, and such community events that is meant for the community to come together and not to draw in tourism as park ave and corn hill festivals are. Make housing affordable and break away from slum lords who are from california or some other state who don't care about community. The City allowing this is what has destroyed our City. Lets set our city as one tolerant of each other be ye homeless, a struggling college student, young professional, empty nester, disabled, or what ever. That the city is the place to flock to to start home ownership be it starter home, homeless housing, family housing, empty nester housing, and such. If we fail we will be more like detroit. If we area success then we will grow. It is a risk we need to take.
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