In an email chain, Regents Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown outlines a plan for the state to potentially take over the Rochester City School District.
In the emails, Vice Chancellor Brown throws out the idea of the state appointing a superintendent and for the board of education to remove the elected board.
Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski tells News10NBC he was a part of the email chain, but he does not agree with a complete state takeover of the school district.
“Teachers in Rochester schools fear that if the state were calling the shots and appointing a school board, all that they would care about is the test scores,” Urbanski said.
District parent Omar Marroquin has two students in one of the 19 schools the state has identified as struggling or persistently struggling on the receivership list.
“The state is going to come in…they’re not going to know anyone,” Marroquin said. “They’re going to treat the students as just numbers.”
Instead, Urbanski would like to see more resources put into the community schools model.
“You have not only education services but also the kind of support for children and parents, recreational, emotional support, health support, that makes children more ready for learning,” Urbanski said.
Rochester City School Board President Van White says the board is following recommendations from the distinguished educator on the path to improvement.
“The numbers make it pretty clear,” White said. “We have figured out a way how to credibly slowly but steadily increase our graduation rate and we’ve done that at about two percent a year.”
For something like a state takeover to happen, lawmakers would have to approve the plan first.
In an emailed statement, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren asked lawmakers to act saying in part, “I implore the entire state legislature to fix our school system, which has failed far too many of our children for far too long. We have a clear choice.”
For Marroquin, the slow but steady approach is productive.
“You can’t expect for change to happen overnight,” Marroquin said. “It just doesn’t happen that way…everything is progressive.”
Read below for Mayor Lovely A. Warren’s statement in its entirety:
“The New York State Education Commissioner and the local members of the Board of Regents, given months of review, have put on the table a bold, visionary plan to provide every child in our city a quality education and address one of our greatest challenges.
Our children deserve an educational system that puts their needs above those of adults. The Commissioner is best equipped to fix our broken school system. The plan that allows for true change is the solution that our community needs. Anything less will only exacerbate the problem and put needs of adults before our children.
This solution at its heart removes any political influence from the process and truly focuses on the education of our children.
Now, it’s up to our local delegation to lead the fight and I implore the entire State Legislature to fix our school system, which has failed far too many of our children for far too long. We have a clear choice.
A choice between the status quo or a brighter future.
A choice between the wants of adults or the needs of children.
A choice between families suffering or community schools that lift them up.
A choice between losing another generation of our children or allowing them to fulfill their dreams.
Our community and our Legislature must seize this last best chance to make our city’s schools beacons of hope.”