When educational equity is absent—a billion-dollar failure

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Equality and equity are two words often utilized in the same sentence as though they are somewhat the same or even considered interchangeable. They are, in fact, uniquely different. That said, in education they do support one another. Both are the foundational ingredient in the process of educating our youth allowing them to discover their innate skill or gift. That results in earning a relevant high school diploma. That diploma, that ticket to the next step allows them to further their educational quest toward a chosen profession or career.

The equality aspect refers to the facilities as in the building, the furniture, the grounds, transportation and the books to name a few. That equality is assured in the RCSD via a billion dollar plus annual budget.

Equity refers to the resources, the educational ingenuity that connects those perceived boring academics with profession and careers. It is the equity coupled with or interwoven with the equality that contributes and assures a successful K-12 journey.  For the K-12 educational mission to be successful, equality and equity must be applied and work as a team.

While the RCSD has the equality aspect, it has historically failed to provide the equity. It has been frozen in that position for decades! That educational ignorance and apparent deliberate omission of the equity aspect resides with the RCSD educational trio. That trio consists of the teacher’s union (primarily the president of the teacher’s union), the Rochester City School Board (primarily the board president/vice president), and the urban school superintendent, who have collectively failed themselves to say nothing of the students. That has resulted in Rochester, NY having the worst school district in New York State. With an annual school budget of over one billion dollars, the RCSD still consistently fails the kids. The simple fact is that while equality is accounted for, the equity is overlooked and being ignored. To think that the urban student population has been underserved for decades by that education trio is borderline criminal.

Educational failure has devastating results. When one bores kids to quitting school, due to this obvious equity omission, they will further their education on the streets. That street education is clearly evident in the Rochester inner-city with a soaring crime rate. It seems to me that those in leadership positions, who are reminded by the hour of that street education and its impact on the community, ought to step up and do their job. That would include the individuals who reside in elected office, post high school education leadership, and the community in general. Quit passing the buck, quit pointing the finger at someone else, quit ignoring the urban education plight and finally do what’s right and most of all… do the right thing. Get involved and insist on a relevant education, implement this equity aspect that has been missing for decades.

So, who are those leaders dodging their responsibility? Who are those who refuse to address the missing equity in educating our urban youth? There is quite a list. I will take the time and list each and every one of them. In addition, I call them out! Call them out of their comfortable office setting where they reside and just continue to ignore the obvious in silence. The responsibility of educating runs deep. Here is a list of those organizations and individuals shirking their duty, turning a blind eye, giving lip service to the issues from their educational, political, social and clerical perches but doing nothing toward the cause. After 17 years of advocating for the urban education system, I don’t mind telling you that they are collectively responsible.

Those seventeen years of advocating with my letters of criticism have always include a solution. I have provided an EQUITY SOLUTION for many years, but that effort appears to have fallen on deaf ears. The educational experts continue to do the same thing over and over expecting different results. My effort has been well researched, well thought out and well designed. It is one that received accolades from a national educational expert who specialized in K-12 education. (Johns Hopkins) That said, you have all collectively and consistently failed…consistently failed, to embrace the urban education challenge by snubbing any effort to apply equity. Shame on you! The next time you hear on the news or read about the crime and the associated misery within the City of Rochester, I want those of you responsible for the abject educational failure to look into the mirror where you will visualize the cause of that misery looking right back at you.  

Organizational Failure

The Rochester City School Board. You are looked upon, and rightfully so, as the educational leadership. While some individuals (although very few) on the board get it, understand it, their voices have been silenced by incompetent, ignorant and in too many cases, miserable human beings who are at the leadership level on the board. “F” bombing, openly “F” bombing a fellow member is disgusting. That said, when one’s ego and perceived authority is challenged, is that how leadership responds? That’s acceptable? The president and the vice president are the leaders that have failed the boards mission, that of educating our urban youth. The youth has not failed, they failed the youth. Period. Your failure to educate can be, sooner or later, read about in the paper. Youth crime can be traced back to your incompetent leadership. Next time you get up in the morning and face the mirror to put on your face, you are looking at the individual responsible for this colossal educational failure. What’s worse, you apparently think that your failure is acceptable.

Rochester’s Teachers Union

The primary individual that owns the union failure is the president of the teacher’s union. I won’t mention his name for he would look upon that mention with a sick sense of pride. He made himself a millionaire on the backs of student failure. He has 42 years of “service” which hasn’t provided any, none, zero improvement over those years and has failed thousands of kids. How one looks himself in the AM mirror with that professional “accomplishment” and gets on with another day…. is baffling.

The Politicians

Malik Evans, Mayor

Michael Burns, Deputy Mayor

John Brach, Special Assistant to the Mayor

Adam Bello, Monroe County Executive

Just to name a few. Time to come out of political hiding when it comes to education and get involved. Education is what makes it all work. I believe that each and every one of you has a certificate of higher learning hanging on your office wall. It aint your pretty face. That fact seems to escape those in political hiding. Overlooking and passing on the education responsibility is not an option and considering the educational failure someone else’s responsibility should end. Get involved. Yes, it is a tough arena to step into. But then again, you can pass on that responsibility to the Rochester City Police Department who, on a daily basis, is dealing with the educational failure of the RCSD. Keep in mind, as if I need to inform you, those committing the crime, in most cases, do not have even a high school diploma. Instead of a Police Accountability Board, the consideration of creating an Educational Accountability Board might be more effective in dealing with crime. Stop dealing with crime and address the source of the growing crime, educational failure.

Universities and Colleges

In particular the presidents of those places of higher and advanced learning…. or is that the business of education. You are collectively the experts on education.  You have the expertise to provide the equity that will give kids in the urban school district a chance to gain a profession/career. For them it would be the opportunity to escape generational poverty. Or…or are you of the opinion that the poor will always be with us. Your silence on the abysmal failure of our urban education is beyond disappointing. By not stepping up, you telegraph that solving the educational failure is either beyond your capability or you would simply rather not get involved. That said, as long as all is quiet on the educational front, the silence of your involvement appears to be extent of the higher education response.

So, as you can see, the educational failure goes well beyond the responsibility of those in the educational driver’s seat. Yes, the education Trio is primarily responsible. They should be setting the pace. They should lead. Looking back on the years of their inability to lead, their inability to provide the students with the equity has taken its toll. The RCSD doesn’t have to be the worst district in NYS. For now, however, they, as well as the Rochester community as a whole appear to be satisfied with failure or…..or the experts are simply incapable of educating.  

Josh Jochem Porte

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3 thoughts on “When educational equity is absent—a billion-dollar failure

  1. I serve a Charter Sector Support Organization called EDceptional. We recently marched for equity in education during the Juneteenth parade. It is disheartening to witness the failure of numerous educational systems in Rochester, resulting in a lack of opportunities for the city’s children. To address these failures, it is crucial that we redirect our collective energy towards the creation of an equitable education system that provides real choices for both parents and students. Education is a fundamental human right, and it is imperative that we prioritize the development of a system that upholds this right for all.

    While Rochester’s charter schools do not receive equal funding, they are playing a vital role in building an equitable education system. These schools have the potential to become even better and continue to improve the educational landscape in Rochester. Their progress represents the hope and aspiration of the entire Rochester community.

    By championing educational equity, supporting initiatives that move the academic needle, and empowering parents and students with choices, we can work towards a future where every child in Rochester has access to a quality education. Rochester kids deserve better than what they have historically received.

  2. Obviously, every resident of Monroe County has to agree that the Rochester City School District has for decades been failing the families and children of the City of Rochester and Monroe County. Yet the author of this piece does not call out the names of the real culprits- the leaders of the Union, the members of the School Board and Administrators! . And why leave off our Governors who are politicians who have allowed this situation to not only continue but get worse. They bare responsibility as well as other elected to State Senate and Congress.
    I suggest that the Governor and County Executive mandate the elimination of the School Board, terminate the Teacher Union contract and take over the management of the City School District. Monroe County has many qualified individuals – City & Suburban residents that can organize and implement a plan to dramatically improve the situation over the next 3-5 years!
    The status quo should not longer be acceptable.

    • Howie,
      Would have been glad to go into greater detail including names. That said there is only so much ink in the pen. At least it got your blood to boil. The suggestion to end the reign of this board, as in Elliott and Urbanski in name are obvious. A volunteer board with higher education management might be the ticket. I appreciate your response.

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