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Straight No Chaser: Mayoral Control May Be the Cure for Failure at RCSD

Gloria Winston

Op-Ed by Gloria Winston –

Back in the day when the Rochester City School District was teaching ALL students, those who may have dropped out and failed to graduate at least left school with survival skills. They could read, write and count. Today those who fail to graduate are lost.

To my knowledge programs like Occupational Education and School Work Program no longer exist and the chances of someone coming out of high school with a solid skill is a thing of the past.

We used to graduate, auto mechanics, cosmetologists, potential plumbers, carpenters, and more. We used to care about our children more than we appear to. We need to STOP making excuses for the folks sitting in seats, who should collectively be held accountable for their failures we keep supporting and are PAYING for.

It’s a shame that we can read about sitting School Board Members who refuse to run for office again because they are so ashamed to even be affiliated with this thing we call a school board, and still remain silent and not as vigilant as we should be. What is wrong with us? How does this continue to happen?

One remedy this community needs to review, and support is Assemblyman David Gantt’s legislation supporting mayoral Control. Google it, look at it and call your NYS legislators asking them to support it!!


“This bill will empower the educators and school professionals by taking the politics out of our school decision-making process. It will clarify lines of authority and responsibility, establish an effective system of checks and balances over the powers and duties of educational policymakers and facilitate decision-making that is based on goals not on political expediency.

The management problems faced by the Rochester city school district have more to do with overlapping responsibilities and the difficulty in establishing accountability for actions and decisions than with individual actors. The new structure of governance set forth in this proposal would clarify those lines of responsibility and allow the school district to begin functioning properly.”

Why mayoral control, you ask??? I ask why not? One of the main reasons we need to look at and consider mayoral control of the RCSD board is simple: 54% graduation rate is despicable and scandalous! Anyone celebrating what some School Board Commissioners are calling PROGRESS needs to hang their heads in complete shame. Those stats are nothing to celebrate or be proud of. The lack of collective community outrage suggests we as a community are more than satisfied with the failure to produce solid, educated young people. Those young people are just lost and turned out by people our taxpayer dollars are paying to fail us and our children. What we are doing instead is supporting the pipeline to prison mentality—because that is where most with no education are possibly headed.

I support Mayoral Control wholeheartedly  but this community may once again fail to see the wisdom in doing so. I also support Democratic Candidates, Howard Eagle and Judith Davis. I pray Howard makes it this time. I have always voted for him and continue to believe he would make and awesome Superintendent. We keep going outside of our community overlooking homegrown excellence and wisdom. We keep doing the same thig allegedly expecting different results… SMDH!!

An example of what the future may hold for those not graduating can be found in a recent incident of car theft affecting a friend of mine. On a recent winter morning, my friend made the mistake of arming her car in her driveway while getting ready for work. She had no automatic starter that would have accomplished the warm up without having the key in the ignition. Because she had done this several times, she failed to recognize this moment, she and her car had been targeted and the car was stolen.

Of course, the theft was reported to the police and after a week-long search, she was notified that her car had been found. I’m assuming the car was in the possession of one of the 46% because only someone uneducated could be as stupid as he was. To date we don’t know if he stole the car or had paid some money to the thief to drive it. The person caught in the car was on parole and was caught driving it on a night his parole officer decided to do a bed check at his home. His apparent joy riding in the stolen vehicle seemed to have caused him to miss curfew, as well. When the perp arrived home his parole officer was waiting for him the parole officer of course, knew the perp did not own a car and as he went about his due diligence, discovered the car had been reported stolen, SMDH!! So, the bottom line is the homie is back in jail as a result of his missing critical thinking, something he had obviously never been taught.

My guess is the 46% of students who fail to graduate are looking forward to this kind of future and encounters with the law. They are the ones clogging the PIPELINE TO PRISON!! They possibly feel they have no future whatsoever. I hope I am wrong, but what do these young people do when they have no survival skills, does not qualify for college or does not seem to have a plan to survive in this world? Do they steal your car because they are cold or break in your house or rob you or a business to survive?? Is this what the future holds for the 46% we don’t seem to be concerned about??

BTW, coming soon to a streaming device near you, “STRIGHT NO CHASER-UNFILTERED!!”

Gloria Winston is a Community Activist, Writer, Communicator, and Political Activist. She is a native Rochesterian and has been involved with numerous community organizations in Rochester. Contact Gloria at:

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(The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of the Minority Reporter.)