Put children's interests first
On the recent report assessing the problems in the Rochester school district: As someone who grew up in the sit-still-and-listen 50's, I still have a chip on my shoulder about reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick. In regards to the lengthy report on the Rochester City School District's failings, most teaching professionals will never read it, and all that paper is destined for a shredder.
If it is true that we remember 10 percent of what we read, 55 percent of what we read and picture, and 100 percent of what we read, picture, and feel, how can the RCSD make schools work better?
Joy DeGruy said it best in "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome": Some children respond to external rewards like grades and prizes, but many children don't. They respond to praise from teachers they trust, and when they feel good about themselves, they will try new things out of loyalty.
If top-down academic theories have failed for decades, how about a strategy that places children's best interests first? They need to know how to live and thrive in a fast-changing society. Their future depends on it.
MCC faculty is causing tension
On the dispute between the faculty and the administration at Monroe Community College: I am enrolled at MCC part-time. It has been my experience that some professors should not be teaching here. Some are good and some are mediocre. One of the main issues this semester is the conflict with adjuncts and tenured profs over the contract.
I found the conflict to be a disruption, because despite the fact that they were not supposed to mention the dispute during our classes, petitions were passed in class, professors wore buttons, and they put up banners and encouraged students to protest.
I think it is a negative that the faculty doesn't have a contract, but they're using President Anne Kress as a prop for their contract negotiations.
Housing the neediest
On local efforts to provide housing for the poor: Rochester excels in providing affordable housing – except for the really poor. (The terminology is Extremely Low Income.) One reason is that to determine the standard by which incomes are measured, the Average Median Income, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development gathers data from the entire metro area.
The AMI for this metro area is over $70,000. But for the City of Rochester alone, it is less than half that. The Rochester City Council, with very little power or leverage, did recently courageously require that new apartments receiving any kind of city assistance include this class of housing.