The People Have Spoken

With the voters of Rochester electing to reinstate the School Board incumbents, it is evident that there is a great deal of work to be done by those who know and understand that change must occur before success can be realized.

It was expected that voters would vote along party lines believing that if they registered as Democrat, they must vote for Democrats.

There will be two years before this community will have the opportunity to change the way we educate our children.

In two years four school board members will be up for reelection which means that those who are willing to continue to fight for the right of our children to an excellent education will have two years to educate the public to the necessity for change.

In those two years concerned education stakeholders must hold accountable those who are currently seated and those who were reelected to their duties and responsibilities as elected School Board Commissioners.

We must continue to attend committee meetings and Board business meetings, making our voice heard and our concerns addressed.

In two years the budget will be larger and the opportunity for unaccountable spending more prevalent. Now more than ever it will be incumbent upon the citizens of Rochester to become knowledgeable about the workings of the district, the policies in place, the contracts entered into with unions and businesses, and the programs of the Superintendent.

If we relax our vigilance we will fail our children and send the message that they are not worth the fight to secure an excellent education for them and future generations.

Our children must know and understand that loosing the battle does not mean giving up that in fact the opposite is true. Loosing the battle prepares you for winning the war.

To all those who challenged the incumbents, congratulations. To stand against the “status quo” is to stand up for freedom in the most American way possible.

Our children are worth every minute and every dollar spent spreading the message that they deserve a better education.

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This Election Change The Direction Of Education

Imagine a system of education in which “each student (would) be able to reach his educational goals and enter adulthood as a good citizen capable of fulfilling his self-determined purpose in life and; that students who show specific talents be awarded the opportunity to pursue them to their personally and socially beneficial limits. A proportionally-educated, maximally self-governing electorate . . . America’s greatest defense against tyranny.” {Thomas Jefferson}

Imagine a child centered system of education that concentrated on discovering, developing and directing the gifts and talents of every child, making them proud of themselves and proud to be a contributing member of society.

Imagine teachers who are respected as professionals, trusted and empowered to bring their passion into the classroom to inspire and empower their students.

Imagine a system of education not bound by the inconsistencies of political policies, infused with corporate ideologies.

It may seem more like a dream than a reality but it can be accomplished.

Last night at the Conversation with the Regents event held at Gates-Chili High School Regents Brown and Norwood reiterated what has been said many times before, they are bound by the Legislature and must carry out their intended purpose for our current system of education; to create college and career ready students.

This being the case, it is up to the citizens of the United States, the voting public, to make their voice heard by voting into office those candidates who will ignore the jingle of corporate coin and return education to its original intent.

It is up to the voting public to seek out those leaders in education who believe that our children are more valuable as human beings than as a 21st Century workforce.

It is up to the voting public to vote into office those candidates who truly want to lead our children and our society to a successful future in an America that is “one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”

Today, November 5th, 2013, election day, can be the day that changed the face of the nation.

Vote for Change.

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Doctors Heal Sick Bodies – Teachers Inspire Great Minds

Profession: A type of job that requires special education, training, or skill.

Professional: A person engaged or qualified in a profession.

When an individual decides to consult a doctor, that person relies on the doctor’s expertise to determine not only the problem, but the best course of action to alleviate or cure whatever is wrong.

The doctor examines the individual and orders relevant tests to determine the cause of the problem while taking into account the patients physical and mental health both historically and at the time of the visit.

Upon receiving the information from the patient and the relevant tests, the doctor makes a determination as to how to proceed in treatment.

The patient, relying on the doctor’s knowledge and understanding of medicine decides to trust the doctor’s judgement or not.

At no time does the doctor or patient go to the makers of tests, the makers of the equipment used to test, or the makers of the furniture in the doctors office for their opinion.

This is because the patient trusts the profession and professionalism of the doctor.

Teaching is a profession, a teacher is a professional and children are entrusted to educators to determine through history and current evidence, the best course of action to follow in order to properly educate the child.

However, in education, we have allowed test makers and computer companies and retail market moguls to decide our children’s educational course while ignoring not only the profession of teaching but the professionalism of the teacher who is in direct contact with the student.

Individuals who never see or interact with the children who come to school are determined to influence the direction of their educational future by putting them in a room with every other child taking the same test in the same way regardless of their abilities and talents.

These same individuals then blame the educational misdiagnosis and failure to thrive of the child on the teacher.

Our children are gifted and talented individuals who deserve personal attention and professional guidance to ensure their educational success.

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No Voice-No Choice – No Vote-No Voice

The duties and responsibilities of the NYSED Regents include:

“…The head of the department of education shall be The Regents of the University of the State of New York, who shall appoint and at pleasure remove a commissioner of education…

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…

Under such name, with such number of trustees or other managers, and with such powers, privileges and duties, and subject to such limitations and restrictions in all respects as the regents may prescribe in conformity to law, they may, by an instrument under their seal and recorded in their office, incorporate any university, college, academy, library, museum, or other institution or association for the promotion of science, literature, art, history or other department of knowledge, or of education in any way, associations of teachers, students, graduates of educational institutions, and other associations whose approved purposes are, in whole or in part, of educational or cultural value…”

On Monday, November 4th, from 6:00-8:00 pm, at Gates-Chili High School (1 Spartan Way) Board of Regents members Wade Norwood and Andrew Brown will host a forum on education issues. All members of the public are welcome.

On Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 three RCSD Commissioner of Schools seats will be open to election. Other than the three incumbents, there are five candidates vying for these positions.

Commissioner of Education John King is scheduled to appear at a public forum on Thursday, November 7th from 3-5:30 in Brighton.

It is imperative that the Rochester community attend these forums and vote for change on November 5th.

Our children deserve an excellent child centered education. Our voice in the process is the only way to guarantee they get one.

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We All Are Human

Define: Mark out the boundary or limits of.

Confine: Keep or restrict someone or something within certain limits of (space, scope, quantity, or time).

Undermine: Damage or weaken (someone or something), esp. gradually or insidiously.

Refine: Remove impurities or unwanted elements.

When we define the spirit within us based on our physical nature we confine the multitude of possibilities to become and undermine the strength of our spirit to overcome all adversity.

This is how our current system of education chooses to address the needs of our children and this is the perspective upon which our society is based.

The content of a person’s character is more important than their physical attributes yet we immediately define our children by color, appearance, socioeconomic status, and disabilities.

As children grow, they begin to define themselves according to the same arbitrary physical measures that were used to confine them when they were young, athlete, dancer, geek, or nerd.

The definitions become even more confining in adulthood, upper class, middle class, and impoverished.

Yet, everyone knows and freely accepts that there is “good” and “bad” in every person regardless of their station in life which is itself a confining attitude that has become acceptable.

When we concentrate on seeking out the gifts and talents of all children we do not limit their abilities but expand them by introducing them to the myriad of creative possibilities for success that exist in the world.

By opening up the world of possibilities to them, children become strong in the belief that they can achieve whatever they chose to attempt. This is the nature with which they are born.

This is human nature.

The ultimate goal of education is to advance humanity towards a more enlightened, caring, concerned, loving society. To continue on our present path in education is to undermine that goal.

Concentrating on developing the gifts and talents of all children, regardless of their physical attributes, will refine our choices so that we will evolve into the higher order society of loving human beings we were created to be.

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What They Envisioned – Mis-education Has Secured

When the political leaders wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence they stated:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

It is evident that these leaders meant affluent white males when penning this document and when signing the Constitution of the United States thirteen years later.

And, while many fought and died to change the intent of the language with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to include every American, mis-education has returned the language to its original intent.

This argument is supported by the fact that only 23% of the registered Democrats in Rochester voted in the Democratic Primary. Of those, the majority voted for the incumbents without knowing or understanding their political views, ideologies, or standings on the issues.

As well, since there is only one non-Democrat running for an elected position there is little choice to vote against the “status-quo”.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree.”

We have seen the degeneration of our government in the recent shut down and in the refusal of our leaders in education to listen to their constituents.

For the sake of our children and our country, we must change our current system of education so that it concentrates on providing an excellent education to every child.

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What’s In A Word? – Understanding

Special: Better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual

When we talk about growing a city we must begin with the system of education that city provides for its families.

Public taxes should not be the “cash cow” for private enterprise. They should be used to increase the welfare of the greatest number of individuals in the society in which those taxes are collected.

Currently in education, the greatest amount of educational tax dollars collected fund those districts with the greatest amount of failure so that the greatest good can be done for those who have the greatest need.

Ergo, to increase funding districts must maintain or increase failure. This is the condition of urban education.

Without realizing the effect this rationale has on the total society, we have created a system of education that maintains failure for a larger population of society so that members of a smaller population can maintain and/or increase their level success.

Under this system, the smaller population must continually increase their level of success in order to pay for the increased failure of the larger population.

When we begin to look at education from a different perspective, concentrating on the gifts and talents of all children, the system of education begins to reward those districts that are successful in providing an excellent education to every child thereby creating a larger population of taxpayers who pay less to relieve the burdens of the smaller population that education has failed.

Should a district be highly successful in educating its population, that district would be given funding to replicate their system of education in failing districts increasing the necessity for failing districts to succeed in order to receive funding.

All education must be special in order to recognize the necessity to provide an excellent education to all children for the good of the larger population in order to meet the needs of the less successful smaller population of our world that education has failed.

We must change the direction of education towards success for the benefit of all mankind.

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No Time Like The Present

With November 5th, Election Day, eight days away, voters must ask themselves, are we content or discontent with the way our leaders are running our government?

In the education arena, three School Board Commissioner seats are open. Given the failure of the Rochester City School District to provide an adequate education to even half of its students, the answer to that question should be clear.

Other issues in education, such as adherence to the Common Core Standards, standardized testing, teacher evaluations, and more local concerns, the Superintendent’s imposed “master schedule” the question of district leadership becomes even more vital.

There have been a great many forums for candidates to attend and share their views, beliefs, and plans with the public. Now it is up to the voting public to decide who best to represent their voice as School Board Commissioner.

Three important questions that must be asked of the incumbents and those who would be newly elected candidates are:

What have you done; what will you do to facilitate increased student success in learning?

What have you done; what will you do to increase parental engagement and involvement in their children’s educational lives and in the process of educating their children?

What have you done; what will you do to increase transparency and accountability in the day to day management of the Rochester City School District?

Our children plus our parents equal our district. If one of these aspects fails, the entire system fails. Without parents there would be no children, without children, there is no need for the district.

Currently, the leadership of the Rochester City School District has failed in each of these areas to effectively and efficiently achieve success.

The citizens of Rochester have eight days to read, watch, and listen to candidate literature, commercials, speeches, and radio programs.

Voters have a serious responsibility to decide to maintain the current status of our district or vote to change the leadership and possibly the direction of the district.

Change does not guarantee success but it does provide the possibility for success.

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Knowledge Is Power – Understanding Is Powerful

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Henry Ford

“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” C. S. Lewis

“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress. Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.” Mahatma Gandhi

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” Benjamin Franklin

“Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.” Khalil Gibran

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” John F. Kennedy

“Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies.” Robert Kennedy

“Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.” Thomas A. Edison

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” Cesar Chavez

“Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex, the ugly ones included.” Karl Marx

“Without a struggle, there can be no progress.” Frederick Douglass

It cannot be said better than it has been said before.

Our children must know their history to be successful in their future.

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It’s Not Them, It’s Us

Accountability: The quality or state of being accountable; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.

Blame: To say or think that a person or thing is responsible for something bad that has happened.

If there is too much blame going on with regards to the leadership of the Rochester City School District it is because the leadership is not holding itself accountable for the failure of the district to provide our children with an excellent education.

When the public is told to stop “pointing the finger of blame” and start providing solutions and those solutions are ignored, our district leaders must be held accountable.

We are willing to hold parents accountable for not properly raising their children when we know that many of our parents are the product of a system of mis-education that has failed to provide them with the understanding of the values and virtues of their lives and the knowledge that they are important to the positive evolution of mankind.

If parents do not value their own lives, how can they teach their children to value their lives?

It is also important to recognize that many young parents are “told” how to raise their children by Child Protective Services but are not shown how to “love” themselves by loving their children.

If you do not have love for yourself how can you have love for your child?

We are willing to hold teachers accountable for the lack of knowledge imparted to their students, yet force them to teach from a script while adhering to an unrealistic timeline, ignoring the brightest students, classifying the bored students and passing along the students who make a minimal effort to succeed.

We are not holding elected leaders accountable.

We are however, voting them into office, term after term and allowing them to hire incompetent administrators who assume no responsibility for the system’s failure.

It is time for this community to hold itself accountable and vote for change that will lead us to educational success for our children.

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