Coalition Sponsored Meeting with Justin Murphy,  May 20, 2022

From: Dan Drmacich a href="">>

To: David Long,Sean Smith,Dave Atias,Eileen,Deb Hanmer and 79 more...

Cc: Beatriz LeBron,Ricardo Adams,Willa Powell,Cynthia Elliott,Jallow, Shelley (State Monitor) and 32 more...

Sat, May 21 at 10:25 AM

We met yesterday, 5/20, with Justin Murphy, D&C reporter & author of "Your Children Are Very Greatly in Danger," to discuss his recommendations for achieving public school integration in Monroe County. Approximately 15 people participated, several from organizations other than our Coalition. Among the possible actions and understandings that were suggested are the following:

1. Justin's first recommendation to form a commission to study the possibilities for desegregating Monroe County schools, gathering information on costs, different options, NYS support, benefits to students, etc., as an important step to clarifying what would be needed to proceed, appears to be doable. However, an institution with credibility and funding would be needed to lead the initiative. Whom might we invite to do this?

2. Despite the reality of racist push-back by some suburban citizens and the advocation for stronger, well-funded, non-integrated "community schools" by some Rochester citizens, there are some signs of support for Monroe County desegregation initiatives, including the recent county school board elections that overwhelmingly supported progressive education leaders, and the survey results by Great Schools for All, indicating strong support by city & suburban citizens & interest by a growing number of county school superintendents.

3. The current "Urban Suburban Transfer Program" needs substantial revision and could be facilitated by the RCSD BoE requiring participating suburban schools to make specific changes or not be participants. Currently the program operates similarly to charter schools, which have control over who is admitted and dismissed and financially profits from the transfer, without contributing to transportation costs.

4. Facilitating the Urban Suburban Transfer Program to be a "two-way-street" in which suburban students would be attracted to RCSD schools is an issue that could be solved through the development of inter-district magnet schools and the creation of other small specialty schools, such as a School for Social Justice or Sports Management or Business & Marketing.

5. Developing the interest and desire for suburban parents & students to participate in desegregation efforts requires a change in the mid-sets, values, skills and attitudes of students, who will eventually become parents. The infusion of anti-racist skills & curriculum into all county schools is crucial for our democratic society and the development of good citizens. In-depth professional development for all school staffs is a key component.

6. The RASE Education Recommendations include initiatives that could facilitate the adoption of many of Justin's and other progressive recommendations that would aid in the development of responsible, critical thinking, anti-racist citizens. The current RASE process invites all citizens as "power-brokers" to become involved in the discussion of implementing equitable, anti-racist initiatives. Please let me know if you are interested in participating.

7. Our Coalition will also be discussing how to productively create these changes in schools & we invite interested, supportive folks to join us at our next meeting on Friday, June 10th, @ 4:00 BY Zoom. Please let me know if you are interested in joining us.

Dan Drmacich

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