City schools leader: ‘Last chance to improve outcomes’

City schools leader: ‘Last chance to improve outcomes’

• February 7, 2013 • 1:40
Welcome to our blog! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and have taught writing and literature blog 1locally at MCC, RIT and St. John Fisher, and currently am at Keuka College’s Rochester and Batavia satellite campuses. I also have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters and Opinion pieces in the Democrat and Chronicle, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Open Closet, and the City. In addition, I recently became NYS certified to teach English and Social Studies through Nazareth College. I am also a Fellow at Nazareth’s Center for Public History.  In the past year or so, I have the opportunity to work in over 70 schools throughout the district, interacting with students in all grade levels and subjects. Quite an experience.  As I visit various schools, I hope to give readers an inside look at real life inside the RCSD. And, of course, I am hoping you will share your experiences, ideas, and opinions. Let our journey begin.

Today is an auspicious day—or inauspicious, depending on how you look at it—to start a blog on education in the Rochester city schools. For, today we read in the D&C an ominous sounding headline: City schools leader: ‘Last chance’ to improve outcomes.’

In his State of Our Schools address, Superintendent Bolgen Vargas offered a dire, jeremiad-like, warning: “If we fail this time, the consequences for this community will be huge.”

On the one hand, I deeply share Vargas’s concerns. It is certainly possible that the RCSD could reach some kind of negative tipping point almost impossible to reverse.

At the same time, I have great hope. If we choose, we can say instead: “If we SUCCEED this time, the consequences for this community will be huge.” In some ways, Rochester is in an educational competition with our regional neighbors in Syracuse and Buffalo, ones with similar challenges. Fundamentally, the first city to really “solve” its educational dilemmas will reap the rewards. And rewards they will be.

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


Like what you see on our site? We’d appreciate your support. Please donate today.

Featured Posts