Presented At The RCSD Business Meeting

The Rochester City School District students with disabilities population is 18%, nearly four times the national average of 4.8%. The district’s special ed population supports the funding for nineteen different Not-for-profit organizations.

While the numbers of individuals with physical disabilities such as hearing, speech, and eye impairment have remained, for the most part, unchanged since 1976, the number of individuals classified with disabilities that are subject to perceptive reasoning such as, emotional disturbance, multiple disabilities, developmental delay and other health impaired, have increased dramatically. The number of other health impaired classifications rose from a low of 55 individuals in 1990-91 to 714 individuals in 2010-11.

It is the shame of every American to have allowed corporations to create and increase a profitable $77.2 billion dollar market that capitalizes on the educational failure of our children by concentrating on the perceived disabilities of an individual instead of discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents that every child possesses.

It is the shame of the Rochester City School District that it chooses to succumb to the money offered to maintain the discriminatory, segregationist system of education that forces our children into the school to prison pipeline remanding them to a lifetime of low self-esteem, low self-worth, and lack of self-confidence.

It is a shame that an institution that should be committed to providing every child with a developmentally appropriate, arts based, experiential education that recognizes and respects every culture in every neighborhood and every school community, prides itself on forcing its students and staff to adhere to a standardized schedule and curriculum, provided by the corporations that profit from the educational failure of our children.

When the members of the Board of Education for the Rochester City School District petition the state to change the language of its education policies and procedures so that they reflect a recognition and respect for the gifts and talents that every member of the school community adds to the fabric of America, then we will know that they believe what they say when they advertise, “We will treat every child like one of our own.”

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Change Is The Key

Key actions the RCSD has taken since the 11-12 school year to advance their priorities.

Reading on Grade Level by Third Grade
Full-day pre-Kindergarten for 70% of students
Eliminating summer learning loss
Summer literacy opportunities for every Pre-K – 2 student
Thousands of students are reading at home
“Smart Notebook” supports K-2 ELA teachers

More and Better Learning Time
Early dismissal Wednesdays eliminated
Five Expanded-Day Schools-students get 300+ more hours of instruction, support, enrichment
13 Extended-Day Schools offer students 200+ more hours for academic support and services
More Art, Music, PE, AP and Extra-Curriculars
59 New sports programs
10,000 Students in summer learning

Instructional Excellence
Common Core Instructional Program fully implemented in 2013-2014
More Than 16,000 Hours of Professional Learning For 1,600+ teachers and administrators on Common Core instruction
100 Instructional/Technology Coaches Along with 5.5 Instructional Directors added in 2013-2014
More Students Took and Passed January Regents Comprehensive English: 1,445 tested (+470*); 43.5% passed (+14.7%)Integrated Algebra: 1,373 tested (+113); 27.9% passed (+2.3%)

Effective, Efficient Allocation of Resources
More services for students & staff
$51.8 million in operational efficiencies
Collaborative new health plan saved $7.6 million in 2013
School-Based tutoring
State and National Recognition

Communication and Customer Service
Student placement moved to C.O.
Back-to-School orientation events at every school beginning in 2012
48-Hour response time to Questions/Concerns
Weekly school visits – monthly parent meetings

Parent, Family and Community Involvement
Community attendance initiative
Improved target school attendance from 88% to 90% in 2012-2013
Parent liaisons in every school
Reserved parent parking is standard at Central Office
Neighborhood schools will become the norm

Management Systems
Accurate attendance data
Rigorous staff feedback & support RCSD is the only large district to fully comply with APPR law
Ended Phase-In & Phase-Out of schools
Consistent instructional time
School Modernization in progress

While returning to the neighborhood school concept is a move in the right direction, the key actions taken by the RCSD do not address the educational failure of the common core curriculum and its implementation which the RCSD believes to be “Instructional Excellence”.

We will achieve “instructional excellence” when every child receives a developmentally appropriate, arts based, experiential education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing their individual gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, actively engaged citizens.

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Smoke And Mirrors

Marlene Sokol of the Tampa Bay Times reports, “MaryEllen Elia, fired four months ago as superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools, was named New York’s state education commissioner on Tuesday. Elia, 66, will replace John B. King Jr., who left in December to take a job at the U.S. Department of Education. She will be paid $250,000 a year. . .”

“Working with the union, she (Elia) entered into a $200 million partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to revamp teacher evaluations a full year ahead of the rest of the state. Empowering Effective Teachers, (a Gates Foundation Program) now entering its sixth year, propelled her to national stature.”

“In her remarks, during and after the regents’ meeting, Elia praised teachers repeatedly and vowed to work with them even as she insists on high standards and accountability. “Everything that happens to a student happens in a classroom because of a teacher,” she said.”

While we continue to concentrate on the players in the game, the game continues to be played and the losers continue to be our children.

Section § 207. Legislative power of EDUCATION LAW AND THE NEW YORK STATE BOARD OF REGENTS states:
Subject and in conformity to the constitution and laws of the state, the regents shall exercise legislative functions concerning the educational system of the state, determine its educational policies, and, except, as to the judicial functions of the commissioner of education, establish rules for carrying into effect the laws and policies of the state, relating to education, and the functions, powers, duties and trusts conferred or charged upon the university and the education department.”

Every child in America deserves an excellent education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing their gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, concerned, actively engaged citizens.

Every child in America deserves a developmentally appropriate, experiential, arts based curriculum that provides them with the opportunity to explore museums and other cultural learning centers.

When we change the language and intent of our current system of education it will not matter who leads the federal, state, or local education agencies.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

Change The Language And The Code Will Follow

On Thursday, May 28, 2015, members of Metro Justice will be protesting outside the Rochester Board of Education to support the adoption of a new Code of Conduct.

The current “No Tolerance” policy has led to an unconscionable increase in the number of arrests of children in the district.

This summer, districts in the greater Rochester area will be sending teams of teachers and administrators to a Constructivist Conference in order to learn how to teach and evaluate an explorative way of teaching the common core curriculum that engages the student and promotes critical thinking skills. The Rochester City School district has no teams registered for this conference.

We continue to concentrate on the symptoms of the disease that plagues education while ignoring the malady itself.

When we change the entire system of education so that it concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the individual gifts and talents of ALL of America’s children, their conduct will not require a code. Every child will have the opportunity to gain the self-confidence, self-respect, and self-reliance necessary to make intelligent, positive choices for their life.

Concentrating on every child’s gifts and talents while acknowledging and respecting the gift’s and talents of every member of the school community gives our children a sense of self worth that gives them the strength to resist and overcome the peer pressure and fears that lead to abhorrent behaviors in school children.

When our children understand that they are worth more than the money it takes to educate them then they will understand that they have more to offer society than their ability to join the workforce.

All of America’s children must know and understand that they were created to be great and to lend that greatness to the world, making it a better place for everyone.

It is extremely important to change the language of the RCSD code of conduct. It is more important to change the language of the Federal, State, and Local education agencies so that it concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of all children.

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Our Money – Their Profits

TOTAL EXPENDITURES FOR ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION IN THE U.S. 2012-2013 – 718.0 billion dollars.

STATE OF NEW YORK 2014-15 BASE YEAR AIDS (FOR EDUCATION): 21,757,472,399 dollars

THE NEW YORK STATE LOTTERY 2014 EDUCATION AID: 9,226 billion

As districts plan their budgets for next year, they do so depending upon the financial aid they receive from the State which plans its budget according to what is received from the federal government.

Each year our federal and state governments spend billions of dollars collected from United States citizens in the form of mandatory taxes taken out of their yearly income to support programs and entitlements that provide our children with a “proper” education.

According to FreedomWorks: – “In New York, the {Common Core tests} cost is $25 per test, totaling a $129 million bill for the state. Oct 15, 2014”

That bill was paid to Pearson by New York State taxpayers, just as every Pearson bill is paid by the taxpayers of every state in which Common Core testing is mandatory.

It is important to understand that we, the people of the United States, through the collection of income taxes and the sale of lottery tickets, are the financial support of this country.

We, the people of the United States, through the collection of income taxes, the sale of lottery tickets, and the purchase of consumer goods, are supporting the profits of the corporations that purchase the votes of our elected leaders which maintain the failure of our current system of education to provide an excellent education to every child in America.

By segregating our children into “needy” groups, our government employs discriminatory practices that usurp the power of the people and place that power into the hands of the “hedgehogs” that control the corporations that receive federal, state, and local tax dollar funding to provide and protect their profits.

When every child in America receives a developmentally appropriate, experiential, arts based education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing their gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, concerned, actively engaged citizens, we will regain and retain our position as the government of the United States.

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Institutionalized Humanity

Institution: an established organization: a place where an organization takes care of people for a usually long period of time: a custom, practice, or law that is accepted and used by many people.

An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education, including preschools, childcare, elementary schools, and universities.

Institutionalized: to cause (a custom, practice, law, etc.) to become accepted and used by many people: to establish (something) as an institution:

Our current educational institution has become an organization that takes care of people and the practice that has become acceptable and used by many is discriminatory and segregationist for people of different ages including preschools, childcare, elementary schools, and universities.

Our current system of education has institutionalized the beliefs of the American public into thinking that we must classify and strengthen the disabilities of our children without regard to their gifts and talents.

Our institutionalized thinking has us believing that the Arts should be no more than “push-in” services that can be delivered on a cart in twenty minutes, twice a week and dispensed with during seasons of budget crises.

The American citizen has accepted the practice of allowing their elected leaders to pass education legislation that is contrary to relevant research concerning childhood education and they have accepted the established language of education that disparages all cultures and the value they add to the fabric of America.

When we become committed to changing the institution of education so that it becomes a place where people of different ages gain an education, we will break the institutionalized attitude of American citizens and begin to think freely.

When we provide ALL children in America with a developmentally appropriate, arts based, experiential education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing their gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, concerned, actively engaged citizens who take seriously their civic responsibilities and are proud to pledge their allegiance to the United States of America, we will lead the world in a new direction, the direction of love and respect for self and others.

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We Must Act On What We Know

The following excerpts from “Let the Kids Learn Through Play” By David Kohn on May 16, 2015 state what educators have always known.

“TWENTY years ago, kids in preschool, kindergarten and even first and second grade spent much of their time playing: building with blocks, drawing or creating imaginary worlds, in their own heads or with classmates. But increasingly, these activities are being abandoned for the teacher-led, didactic instruction typically used in higher grades. In many schools, formal education now starts at age 4 or 5. Without this early start, the thinking goes, kids risk falling behind in crucial subjects such as reading and math, and may never catch up. . .”

“But a growing group of scientists, education researchers and educators say there is little evidence that this approach improves long-term achievement; in fact, it may have the opposite effect, potentially slowing emotional and cognitive development, causing unnecessary stress and perhaps even souring kids’ desire to learn. . .”

“Rebecca A. Marcon, a psychology professor at the University of North Florida, studied 343 children who had attended a preschool class that was “academically oriented,” one that encouraged “child initiated” learning, or one in between. She looked at the students’ performance several years later, in third and fourth grade, and found that by the end of the fourth grade those who had received more didactic instruction earned significantly lower grades than those who had been allowed more opportunities to learn through play.”

We must change the system of education so that it concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of all children.

Making music, dance, and art the foundation of early childhood education excites the imagination, creating an interest and eagerness in children to learn about the world they will grow into.

Creating a developmentally appropriate, experiential curriculum that inspires children to question and explore their world, provides the impetus for the creative thinking necessary to solve the problems encountered in life.

Every child in America deserves to be educated in a free and public system of education that acknowledges and respects the gifts and talents they all possess.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!