It's our choice folks,
Divide and conquer can be a good move to win a battle but it can also be a devastating way for the powerful elements in our society to retain power and subjugate and exploit the poor. We have seen it everywhere: voter suppression, bulldozing poor neighborhoods in the name of urban renewal, dividing neighborhoods with inner-loops and highways, drying up urban businesses streets with highways bypasses, encouraging affluent flight from our city through fear mongering and financial regulations that favor building in the suburbs, mass incarceration of minorities. We have experienced it all in Rochester and now Monroe County is one of the most segregated in the country and our city school district is among the poorest and worst performing. It continues! We are shipping our kids to schools all over the city and in the process separating parents from their children's schools.
Recently I asked in a post,"Would it be ethical for NY State to keep poor parents out of their child's school?" That is an easy "NO!!" for everyone. Unfortunately that is precisely what is happening with the busing reimbursement formula NY State has. We can say we blundered into this situation, but once we realize what is happening, it is OUR responsibility to correct this injustice.
We can look at School 17 for proof that providing short distance busing increases local student enrollment. In 2017 only 22% of students lived in the school's catchment area. Local recruitment efforts by the school and parents, plus local busing within the catchment area for K through 2nd grade has increased enrollment for K through 2nd grade to 77%! And guess what! Parent involvement in the school is also way up. They have a large PTO and around 30-40 parents in the school each day helping make a difference. Don't get me wrong, Caterina Leone-Mannino is a great Principal at 17 and has channeled this parental involvement and energy very well to benefit the students.
The four receivership schools that the SWCC Education Committee and 19WCA Schools Committee are working with in the SW Quadrant also have great Principals! Seeing the devotion they have for their students gives me hope for the future. They also deserve the high local student enrollment and parent involvement that local busing brings. I'm sure they too will welcome the higher parental involvement and energy in their schools.
Please sign and promote our petition requesting NY State busing reimbursement also cover short distance busing to our schools. You can click on this link to find the petition: http://chng.it/kxvLJG4Vr6
Note that this short distance busing reimbursement request is in no way trying to limit the Managed School Choice program. We simply want to give parents the same busing option for safety and convenience to send their child to their neighborhood school if they want. The rationale for the petition is on the petition page if you click on the link and scroll down.
I hope you will support our effort by signing the petition and share this with your organizations and friends.
The SW Common Council Education Committee and the 19WCA Schools Committee have been working together for nearly seven years and we have had good results keeping school from getting closed and getting them renovated. Now we need to improve the the way our schools and neighborhoods work together. To do this we have to unite all elements in our neighborhoods to work with our schools and we have to persist to ensure all our schools' staff are well integrated into our neighborhoods. All our elementary schools should be Community Schools and be successful.
The SWCC Education Committee meets every 4th Wednesday of each month at the Arnett Library at 6:30pm. You can find the agenda for this Wednesday'a meeting at this link April 24th SWCC Education Committee Meeting. Minutes from our last meeting are at SWCC Education Committee Minutes 2019-03-27. We have met with the Superintendent on these issues and Dan Lowengard and his administrative assistant Linda Cimusz agree with our objectives.
Co-Chair, SWCC Education Committee