We must reopen our schools in September. Children in the City face enough challenges already. There are single parents working two jobs, who are unable to supervise remote education. Children learning remotely do not receive the benefit of the free breakfast program, and hungry children do not learn well. Remote learning is failing the poorest and most disadvantaged students, especially those with disabilities who need specialized instruction.
According to 2019-2020 RCSD budget, it now costs $37,454 per year to educate a student in Rochester. Rochester’s per-student spending is among the highest in the nation. New York City spends only $28,808 per student per year, and faces the same, if not greater, urban problems that Rochester does. New York City’s graduation rate is 79%, while Rochester’s is 68%. The clear implication is that our money is being wasted.
I would like to see a school district where our children have many different avenues open to them. I want our children to have the learning environment most suited for their talents and abilities, most suited to the way each individual child is best able to learn. Education is too important to our future for us to shove every child into a one-size-fits-all mold.
At the present time, in-person meetings are not feasible, but life will return to normal sometime. When the time comes, I propose that public meetings be held not only in the Central Office, but as much as possible in the communities where people work and live. It’s long past time that we made a conscious effort to reach out to parents.
Many of our City’s teachers are frustrated with the school district’s policies. However, they feel that if they speak out, if they criticize the way things are done, they will be subject to reprisal. We must put in place protections for those who are only trying to provide input and help the school district to be the best environment for education that it can be.
Right now we have administrators taking home six-figure incomes while their students graduate to minimum wage jobs — or no job at all. The success or failure of their students has no impact on their lavish salaries and perks. It’s time we linked district administrator salaries to concrete metrics, such as student performance and parent satisfaction.
Childhood is a time of innocence, and also a time when people make mistakes. Our society already collects too much data on people, and engages in surveillance to an unprecedented degree. The least we can do is insulate our children from these intrusions, until such time as they are adults and better prepared to deal with it.
I have spent the last 17 years working in the field of Information Technology, and I have seen how a small investment in technology, if done wisely, can result in huge gains in productivity and cost savings. If elected to the School Board, I will use my expertise to guide and implement a plan to modernize the school district’s record keeping and data processing capabilities.