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Feedback 9/25

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RIT is partnering

with RCSD

Reporter Tim Louis Macaluso is right: RIT should be partnering with the City School District to improve educational results ("How About Partnering With the District?" News).

In fact, we have been partnering with them for years, and will continue to do so, even as we partner with Uncommon Schools in the development of a new charter high school.

Our RIT Science and Technology Entry Program provides academic enrichment and college and career exploration to 7-12 grade students. Our Middle College program offers college readiness skills to academically eligible 9th through 12-graders; our Rochester City Scholars Program covers full tuition for financially eligible City School District graduates who are admitted as freshman to full-time study in baccalaureate programs at RIT.

Since its inception in 2010, 74 scholars have come to RIT, 81 percent are still in the program, and 42 percent have earned a 3.0 grade point average or higher. The first class of scholars is expected to graduate in May 2014.

Our move to support development of a charter school comes from our experiences with these programs and our strong belief that we need to do more. I wish we had four times as many City Scholars, but frankly, not enough city students are getting the academic preparation to graduate with the necessary grades, let alone succeed in the academically rigorous university setting.

It's true, we have a vested interest. Universities need a stronger pipeline of future students who are prepared for college. Until higher education contributes constructively to righting the K-12 ship, it will continue to founder and the futures that await our urban youth will continue to dim.

To say, as Macaluso did, that this partnership "does not rise to the level of being innovative" shows a misunderstanding of how unique such a partnership is, even at the national level. And it underestimates our commitment, which includes participation from our faculty and students as well access for these students to the university's classrooms, laboratories, and other facilities.

Uncommon Schools' Rochester Prep has a proven track record of improving learning results for its students. We want – and need – to support that. Rather than quibbling over where a student is enrolled, we must find ways to cultivate academic success among children who live within the city of Rochester.

BILL DESTLER

Destler is president of the Rochester Institute of Technology

Tap and Table

on our review

I am sorry that Ms. Kenyon didn't enjoy her time at my restaurant, and I do not feel that the overall article is a fair assessment of the food (Dining Review: Tap and Table).

We put a strong emphasis on serving world-class beer and pairing it with the dishes on our menu. We make recommendations for a beer with every dish. There is a hugely diverse range of flavors in craft beer and we feel they enhance the meal. This is a major part of what sets Tap and Table apart from other restaurant experiences. I wish Ms. Kenyon had explored this area that is obviously an important part of our identity.

While there was no mention of the service in the article, I hope that Ms. Kenyon enjoyed my staff. They provide a knowledgeable, friendly and professional experience. I receive many compliments in this area.

Our goal is not "reinvent and reimagine," as Ms. Kenyon suggests. We prepare dishes with the finest ingredients that are available at the time and strive to keep the food simple and elegant. We hope that the quality and essence of the ingredients are able to shine through.

While Ms. Kenyon may believe that we do not "fully reflect Rochester and its surroundings' unique food bounty," readers can enjoy a locally sourced food experience that is made possible through our current relationships with the following New York farms: Seven Bridges Farm (Lima), Bolton Farms (Hilton), Cayuga Produce (Cayuga), Lively Run Goat Dairy (Interlaken), Oink and Gobble (Interlaken), Pittsford Dairy (Pittsford), Red Jacket Orchards (Geneva) Mason Farms (Williamson), Old Ridge Farms (Williamson), Grassland Farms (Ovid), and Lagoner Farms (Williamson)

JOE MCBANE

McBane is the owner of Tap and Table.

Do black teachers

make a difference?

Regarding your "Classroom Chaos" article: The consensus for some time now, including that of the dozen ministers mentioned in the article, is that one of the more attainable solutions to improving the dismal graduation rates and "out of control" behavior of city school students is to increase the number of African-American teachers, especially males.

That's either common sense or an assumption, and if the later, how safe an assumption? For one thing, more and more of non-white teachers are born or raised or live in the suburbs and may have little in common with their students other than the color of their skin.

I once asked a popular black teacher at Franklin High School, who has since died, what difference he felt his race and gender had on his students; his response: "Ask my students."

Seems to me there should enough data now supporting this assumption; how are kids performing and acting with primarily African-American (male) teachers?

Otherwise, assumptions abound.

JIM GRAHAM

Racism's status

I first thought Mary Anna Towler's "Slim Progress on Racism" was a satirical piece (Urban Journal). Slim progress? Really?

We have a black president, a black attorney general, and roughly 20 percent of the federal workforce is black while only 14 percent of the US population is black. Forty-plus percent of all federal entitlements go to black Americans – three times the rate that go to whites and five times the rate that go to Hispanics. I laughed out loud when Towler referenced "the assault" on voting rights. You need an ID to drive a car, cash a check, take out a library book, and buy a beer, but requiring an ID from someone if they want to vote is racist?

Yes, racism still exists in our country today, but not Jesse and Al's version of racism from yesteryear. Today's racism has created an atmosphere that makes it ok for blacks to "expect" (and receive) better treatment than whites and to receive compensation without obligation. It's also created a massive population of self-loathing white Americans (the mainstream media, politicians, actors, musicians, professors, and in many cases our own children and grandchildren) who are taught to be ashamed for sins they did not commit (slavery, bigotry, etc).

Towler didn't mention the white kid on the bus who was nearly trampled to death; three black teenagers have been charged. Or how about the World War II (white) vet who was beaten to death and blacks have been charged? Or the Australian baseball player in Oklahoma who police say was killed by black kids because they were bored? Articles like Towler's are not only completely false, they are also counterproductive.

I'd like to think blacks who suffered the tragedy of slavery would equally be offended by the reverse racism that exists in our society today. I believe that they only wanted to be free and be able to have the same opportunities that every other American has. Unfortunately, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Obama don't want equality for blacks. They want a leg up, a free pass, a guarantee of success, happiness, etc. Our Constitution clearly states that all people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is not a guarantee of happiness, riches, etc. It's a guarantee of the right to pursue it, and your success or failure falls entirely on your shoulders, based on your work ethic, ingenuity, intellect, etc.

Slavery would never have ended if not for the brave (and just) actions of millions of white Americans, many of whom paid the ultimate price for the freedom that black Americans enjoy today. There are no more debts to be paid or reparations to be had.

Slim progress? No, massive progress that basically has eliminated racism as it was once known.

TOM BAGLIO

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