In her controversial essay, Jada Williams urged her fellow students to “not just be a student but become a learner.” Jada read a very difficult novel, contemplated its contents, responded intelligently, and was persecuted for her efforts.
Commissioners Adams and White are concerned about students enrolled in the All City High program being exposed to an innovative and engaging reading program because of the low reading ability of the district’s high school population.
With school ending in two days, Rochester City School District students are being sent home with the expectation for them to read and no accountability to make sure that reading takes place.
Private, charter, and many suburban schools, have the same expectation for reading but hold their students accountable to the expectation by requiring that students return to school in September with at least one book report on a book chosen from a reading list provided by their school. The suggestion to do the same for RCSD students has always been met with a positive attitude by each superintendent to which it was presented but has yet to become a requirement.
This is understandable since RCSD students know that they would not be held accountable for the required reading or writing assignment. In fact, RCSD students know that they are not held accountable for any personal involvement in their education.
Thousands of students who refuse to work all school year long, will attend summer school where they will do little work, and will move up to the next grade not having been held accountable for any learning. The district responds to this travesty by offering over-age/under-credit students yet another program they hope will entice students to learn to read and possibly be successful.
“. . .fewer than one quarter of Rochester city school third graders met the New York State standard for English Language Arts (ELA). Rochester performed considerably poorer than the statewide mark (56%), lower than our regional level (57%) and considerably lower than all suburban school districts.”
Our children deserve a Board willing to fix the problem where it begins.
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