Thursday 2 February 2023
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An Open Letter to Tim Louis Macaluso, City Newspaper

Howard Eagle

Dear Mr. Macaluso,

Please be careful not to contribute to political mess-making. For example, in a recent article, “Rochester school board shows off its problems”, City Newspaper, February 12, 2019, you claimed that, regarding the Rochester Board of Education’s response to Dr. Jaime Aquino’s Report, “the 110-page plan, written by the board and the administration, seems to be a serious effort…” What??? You have got to be kidding!

All one needs to do in order to understand that your latter referenced assertion is fundamentally flawed and in fact fallacious is read Commissioner Judith Davis’ seven page disclaimer regarding the reason why she voted NO to advancing the bogus 110-page plan. In this particular case, many of us are elated that the board DID NOT act as a unified body. That is to say, we support each and every word contained in Commission Davis’ disclaimer.

You claimed that Commissioner Davis voted not to advance the plan because she “was concerned about structural racism and the district’s budget deficit.” Clearly, you have not studied her letter to Commissioner Elia, because if you had, you would know that her concerns do include the things you mentioned; but also includes other unaddressed issues that are just as critical as the two that you listed

For example, Commissioner Davis addresses the fact that “many action steps contained in the Board’s plan are based on documents that do not presently exist in any usable format. Also, in response to Dr. Aquino’s recommendation to establish an instructional framework that describes the District’s vision for quality instruction, the Danielson Framework for Teaching was uplifted. However, the Danielson Framework is an evaluation tool.—It is utilized to evaluate educators after the teaching moment; yet it has been presented as the tool to use to ensure rigor, high expectations, non-negotiable for teaching and learning, etc.

There is a culture of fear here in the District. This means there do exist a number of individuals who wish to participate in the changes necessary but who are oppressed,” etc… . Additionally you claimed that “board members opened themselves up, yet again, to serious doubts about their ability to follow their own road map.” Really? Whose “road map”? Clearly, you are either inadvertently or possibly intentionally missing or ignoring the fact that at least two board members have refused ownership of the bogus, so-called “road map.”

And, what do you mean by “Elia has to decide whether this board can actually push Aquino’s recommendations down through a troubled system.”? What??? What (exactly and specifically) is that supposed to mean? This is not about abstract ideas and concepts, such as so-called “pushing recommendations down through a troubled system.” On the contrary, first and foremost, it’s about the board developing a clear, comprehensive, legitimate plan to address Dr. Aquino’s recommendations, which obviously still has NOT been done, and secondly, it’s about the superintendent assigning/delegating specific, clear tasks and responsibilities to his or her senior-level subordinates, and holding them accountable for seeing to it that such specific tasks and responsibilities are carried out thoroughly, efficiently and effectively (mainly at the school building level).

It’s also about the Board holding the superintendent accountable for the same, and ultimately, about RCSD parents, families and the broader Rochester Community holding EVERYONE IN THE DECREPIT SYSTEM accountable, period! Perhaps this is what you mean by “pushing recommendations down through a troubled system.” If not, then apparently you’re engaging in perpetuation of abstract, nonsensical, super-hyper rhetoric that lends itself to mess-making and clouding of critically important issues.

Mr. Macaluso, please do tell us why the “real possibility that the board will have at least two new members [supposedly represents a] major problem.” Many would argue that that’s the best news we’ve heard all year, and that new board members is exactly what’s needed.

If your critique/analysis was objectively correct and accurate, then you would know that the operative question is NOT whether or not “newly elected board members will be able to oversee a plan they didn’t create?” Instead, the critical question is, will newly elected board members be able to help create and oversee implementation of a legitimately viable plan, as opposed to attempting to oversee an unsound, fallacious, subterfuge?

Lastly, once a legitimately viable plan does exist, there can be no question about a new “superintendent implementing it.” He or she would need to understand (prior to a contract being signed) that there is no choice, period!

Howard Eagle

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