I received a couple articles on the Common Core that nicely explain how we got into that mess.  A thank you to Dan Drmacich for sending them.  In 2012 when the SWCC Education Committee started the fight to save School 16 we kept running into controversies in the District over Common Core.  The following articles shed light on what had gone on and are well worth the read:

We need to connect this to what we face today. 

The Common Core and its high stakes testing, which was adopted by Albany and most other states was forced on our schools.  It has done great damage to our children and our school districts.  This ill conceived program hurt the performance of students in a district that already needed to improve.  More schools were put into receivership forcing relocation of teachers.  Staff stability and their relationships with students is particularly important to city students traumatized by the high poverty environment that deprives students of stability in their lives.  I wonder how many hundreds of millions of dollars adopting Common Core and its testing has and will cost us.  Besides the books and testing bills, think of the problems caused: The self esteem damage to students who failed high stake tests intended to rate teachers; the damage done by teaching to the tests; the demoralization of teachers; the reduction of college students choosing teaching because of the downgrading of teaching as a respected profession.  What impact will all this have on our children?

So now on top of all this we have a budget overrun that will force over 100 teachers to be cut.  We need an aid package of $30 million to put off cuts until June.  It does not solve the whole problem. It does however prevent the trauma of teachers suddenly disappearing from student's classrooms over the holidays. There is enough uncertainty in their lives. 

Headhunters from other districts are already swooping in looking to snap up our young enthusiastic teachers who would be the first victims of our "last in first out" policies. We were already understaffed for doing the work our children need and deserve.

Please act right now to send Governor Cuomo a request for his immediate help to provide a $30 million state aid package to stop very damaging mid year teacher cuts.

The surest way of of being certain your contact with Governor Andrew Cuomo is counted is to either call :  518-474-8390 and/or contact him online at https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form

The Rochester Coalition for Public Education has put together this sample letter:

Dear Governor Cuomo,

I urge you to support a financial rescue to help the Rochester City School District avoid mid-year teacher lay-offs and resource cuts that will have devastating effects on thousands of city children, who bear no responsibility for the crisis now facing the district.  Of course, the district must do its part to close a $64 million shortfall its own practices created. That means union & RCSD action and cuts as far from the classroom as possible. But those steps alone will not close the gap. It will take approximately $30 million in state assistance to do that. But we must put the children first.

City children face multiple socio-economic and psychological challenges. Layoffs would create disruptions that ripple through the district, separating many children from the teachers who have been preparing them to be responsible members of society and for mid-year state exams. Rumors of teacher layoffs have sparked students protests and left many children, teachers and parents distraught and confused. Please help them now.

The school board and the unions are negotiating and hope to have a plan by week’s end. State assistance is needed to minimize the damage to our students. Substantial mid-year relief is not unprecedented, as you know. In 2014 and 2015, the state approved more than $50 million to bailout the Yonkers schools.

In addition to the short-term relief, I urge you to support the appointment of two expert educators, one for financial matters, the other for academics, who would have the authority to insist in implementing the major reforms needed for a sound educational future for city students. This focused intervention would be far preferable to a state takeover and dissolution of the board of education—moves that have failed in all other school districts throughout the nation. 

Please act now, Governor. The Rochester city school children need your assistance today.
You probably have heard of other groups pushing to get $86.1 million in Foundation Aid New York State owes the Rochester City School District.  That is all well and good and I hope they succeed but we need to push for the 30 million today.
Give our kid a great Christmas present this year.  Take action.


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