The RCSD superintendent turnover is not the problem!

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In the Rochester City School District, each part of the system operates with a different set of objectives for success. The result: failure. Read the letter.

To me, the Rochester City School District is like every other organization. And like every organization they are the sum of their “parts”—finance, product/program offerings, sales, staff, technology, marketing, customers and others. How the “parts” work together determines if the organization meets its objectives and therefore succeeds. One “part” alone does not determine success.

Most organizations have a leader—CEO, President, Executive Director or Board Chair that is responsible for and focused on ensuring the “parts” are working together to achieve their objectives. This is where the RCSD separates from all other organizations. RCSD has no leader to ensure the “parts” are working together towards their objectives therefore succeeding. At the RCSD, each “part” operates with a different set of objectives for success. Each “part” measures its individual objective but does NOT measure their success against ONE OVERALL OBJECTIVE. The Teachers Union has its objective which is measured by how well Adam Urbanski improves their contract. The School Board members have an objective to be re-elected and keep their paid job (salary and excellent benefits). The Superintendent has an objective to figure out how to work with a dysfunctional system (which has proven to be impossible). The Parents have an objective to see their children educated. The Students have an objective to learn so they can have a level of success in their lives following graduation. The Monroe County Residents have an objective for the RCSD to educate the RCSD students so they can be productive members of the Community.

The Rochester City School District should have one overall objective—EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN. Plain and simple. Like all good business objectives, the success is measurable. And the measurement for decades is awful-despicable-unacceptable-pathetic (and I am being kind!).

The solution to the lack of educating our RCSD children for decades is not another new Superintendent. The solution is staring RCSD in the face—in Monroe County, at every school district! The solution is not that they have better superintendents. NO. They have working “parts” focused on educating the children in their districts! These school districts work TOGETHER to educate their children! One single objective = EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN!

Once in for all, RCSD—get with the program! Take a lesson from your neighboring school districts in Monroe County. CHANGE THE “PARTS”! CHANGE YOUR OPERATING STYLE! LOOK AT YOURSELVES AND REALIZE YOU ARE FAILING THE CHILDREN IN OUR COMMUNITY!

Howie Jacobson

6 thoughts on “The RCSD superintendent turnover is not the problem!

  1. If my math is correct the new budget that was just passed provides funding of approximately $43,000 per student. Poverty does not prevent parents from making sure their children go to school, do their homework, and behave once they are in school. Poverty is an excuse not a reason. New York State is a leader in providing financial, medical, housing, and food assistance to residents in need.Taxes paid by residents in both suburban and urban areas fund the support. Until city parents put pressure not only on the school board, but also on their children our schools will not improve.

  2. I strongly agree with Howie Jacobson’s analysis of the RCSD. There is one other issue that is critical to the success of any school district and needs to be an essential part of education here in Rochester.
    It is “PARENT ENVOLMENT” All parents must be part of the team to have a successful school system. They must be sure that their children attend classes, do their homework, behavior in classes, and participate in programs. Any parent, of any socio-economic status can do this.It costs them nothing but time, focus, and commitment. It is critical that this happens.

  3. Your business analogy is fairly straightforward….you hit all the details except one of the most important. The “customer”!! If the customers (parents) don’t care about the quality of what they are being “sold”, how can that business ever improve???

    If a restaurant sells hamburgers that are burnt to a crisp yet people still buy, why would they change anything??

    If a mechanic does a tune up on customer’s cars and the cars run worse afterwards but they come back every year for a tune up, why would he do anything different??

    When the RCSD performs at such low levels and the parents don’t complain, why would they do anything differently??

    Good schools start with good parents….I know no one wants to address that and that is why this will NEVER get fixed..

  4. Of Course! Howie is spot on. Lets follow this logic one step further down the rabbit hole to understand why there is no focus on a good education.
    The School Board is responsible for setting the objective and managing the other parts of our school system. They control the focus on a good education that Howie correctly identifies as the key missing element, the broken part that needs fixing. So, members of the School Board should be selected and elected by we voters based on how the system has performed “on their watch”. By this measure, no School Board member in the last 30 years should have been re-elected. But reelection is the norm.
    The Democratic “machine” of Rochester has consistently selected Board candidates that will support the Teacher’s Union. Re-election is also supported if a Board Members allowed the Teacher’s Union to control the schools. as expected. The Democrats then point fingers everywhere except at the teachers to “explain” the terrible performance of Rochester Schools. Why do the Democrats select Board members that allow bad teacher behavior? Because the teacher’s union is one of the largest contributors to our local Democratic party, both in block voting support and financial contributions. Ask a City School teacher you trust about this good bad examples: This Board prevents the administration from firing teachers, no matter how bad, without the approval of the Teacher’s Union. These dregs of the teaching profession instead report to “the rubber room”, in some cases for years and then to get a pension. In this rubber room, their assignment is to do nothing all day. This sends a terrible message to students, who learn that bad behavior will be tolerated if you “play ball” with those in power.
    Lee Drake chimed in to play one of the excuse cards used by the Democratic politicians, in his case that the City is poor. No, the City wastes huge money- look at the City School budget. The problem is corruption, pure and simple
    You, dear fellow concerned voter, can fix this. Get yourself elected to the Board without the help of the Democratic party, and demand good behavior from all the teams that Howie has identified as necessary to create well educated and well intentioned members of our community.

  5. Howie, I would challenge this assumption that if the city schools were just more like the suburban schools everything would be fine. I certainly agree that the politics are getting in the way of progress (witness the termination of the successful Collab between East Irondequoit and U of R) but…. All those same challenges and roles exist in both urban and suburban achools. What is the main difference is the level of poverty and parental freedom to assist in the process of ensuring that education is achieved and given the right priorities. You can’t solve the issue of education in a poverty stricken school without also addressing the poverty itself. And that isn’t the role of the school but the role of the community as a whole. Including the suburbs. As long as those in the suburbs continue to resist efforts to assist those in poverty we will continue to have educatal issues.

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