Friday, February 18, 2011

A Real Fix for Rochester's Schools

It's hard, very hard, to respond with anything other scorn and ridicule to the incessant analyzing, speeches, meetings, focus groups, wailing and gnashing of teeth over the farce known as the Rochester City Schools.

A 46% graduation rate and only 5% of graduates ready for college.

All, and we mean all, of the efforts under way purporting to address the problem are every bit as unserious and useless as every prior effort.

It's not rocket science.   If the City Schoool District were genuinely serious about turning things around, here's how they'd fix things:

1.     Study any urban Catholic school in the country.

2.     Note its curriculum, teaching methods, administration and rules.

3.     Replicate that curriculum, and those teaching methods, administration and rules in Rochester's schools.

4.     And then you'll be educating children again, not running a daytime holding pen.
That, and it would cost a whole lot less.


Rottenchester said...

Any plan that doesn't at least mention the fact that we have a 75 per 1000 teen pregnancy rate in the city versus 11 per 1000 in the suburbs is missing a big part of the picture.

It isn't just teaching technique, it's the kids who don't have a chance in the first place because they're the children of uneducated children.

Anonymous said...

The biggest difference between the RCSD and Catholic education are the "rules". In the RCSD the rules are broken daily and repeatedly by the students. The teachers struggle to to teach and the administrators deal with the same trouble makers every period of every day. There are no suspending trouble makers nor is there an alternative school to rid the schools of the trouble makers. These are the "rules" of Superintendent Brizard as he intentionally ruins the RCSD to clear the way for his wife's charter school and to implement the Broad Institute ideas of education, which have failed in other cities in which they have been implemented. The City is getting a real screw job from Brizard and the Board of Education.

Anonymous said...

I attended the City schools and have watched over the years as various remedies have been proposed to "fix" them. The biggest problem is the collapse of the family among blacks and hispanics. Maybe the politically correct times we live in prohibit it from being said, but all the talk about teacher salaries, merit pay, etc. is just a smokescreen for the truth behind the failure of public schools -- it is not so much the schools that are failing as it is the families these kids come from. Having raised children myself, I know how many hours must be spent studying at home, and the importance of parents (2 of them, preferably) in enforcing study rules, going to class, etc. There is none of that with the City kids -- and no school that has them roughly 5 hours a day (if they show up at all) can make up for the collapse of the family at "home" wherever and whatever that is. The only real solution is to make school a full time program and break the cycle of the breakdown of black families.

Earl Gonzalez said...

I could not disagree more with all the commenters. Steve Zodiac has it correct. Look at the private schools and do what they do. I have craeted a crosspost on this issue at MonroeRising about the Horizons program. It is a nationwide summer program that stops the summer brain drain. It gets the kids at early grades 1-8. These kids raise their graduation rate to 95%. They are 90% African American or Hispanic. It is run by a frined of mine Luis Perez.

Rottenchester said...

I'm sure there are more than a few messed up caucasian families in the city, too. If you want to avoid "political correct" criticism, you can just cite the stats, as I did. Who cares if the parents are black, white or brown? The issue is that a much larger number of inner city parents aren't prepared to parent, and a few hours of school won't fix that. I'm sure there's a wealth of statistical information showing the breakdown of families, other than that one statistic I quoted.

Philbrick said...

I agree fully with Rottenchester's observation on 2/20 that it's the statistics that matter, not speculations about ethnicity in regard to those stats.

However, Rotters, your central point in your 2/18 comment has merit, but doesn't tell the whole story. It is precisely "...the kids who don't have a chance in the first place because they're the children of uneducated children" whom the urban Catholic schools across the country are sending off to college. That's why I cited them as the model.

Anonymous said...

The urban kids that go to Catholic schools have parents that care about their children. The role of the parents is far more important than which school they attend. Charter schools have some success because they are able to identify students who have been raised properly and that care about their education. Neither Catholic or Charter schools would be successful if they had to accept all students.

Earl Gonzalez said...

Agreed there are messed up caucasian kids as well. They are also helped by the program.
However an accusation of "political incorrectness" is a straw man argument. My intent was not racist and my statistics are accurate.

Back to the point; The horizions program working at grades where children are prepubescent also decreases teen pregnancy. Smarter, well read children are less likely to become pregnant in their teen years. I am not sure of the exact number but will get that information.

Anonymous said...

But back when the urban public schools employed the curriculum, teaching methods and rules that the Catholic schools mostly use today, it was the public schools -- then as now, taking everybody, and not choosing its students -- that were sending its graduates off to college, and to nskilled and professional employment.