73% are optimistic graduation results will improve
A new reform plan for the city schools gets rave reviews from Rochester Business Journal Daily Report readers.
Rochester City School District superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard last Friday unveiled the plan, which aims to raise the district’s graduation rate-39 percent in 2006-to 75 percent by 2013. The plan calls for grouping poor-performing schools and mandating that they teach a uniform curriculum, with more emphasis on math and reading.
Only 2 percent of this week’s Snap Poll respondents disapproved of the plan. The other 98 percent said they approve or strongly approve of the plan.
Respondents also were very optimistic the plan will deliver results. Nearly three-quarters -73 percent-think Brizard’s plan can increase the city schools’ graduation rate to 75 percent by 2013.
Roughly 400 readers took part in the poll, conducted March 31 and April 1.
What is your opinion of Rochester City School District superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard’s reform plan?
Strongly approve: 59%
Strongly disapprove: 0%
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about Brizard’s ability to boost the city schools’ graduation rate from 39 percent to 75 percent by 2013?
His emphasis on educating our students, discipline and cutting indirect educational expenses (central office) should be a beacon of light for suburban districts to follow instead of whining about F.A.I.R. and state aid! Be accountable for yourself and your students. Brizard appears to be earning his salary.
-Peter Short, J.J. Short Associates Inc.
If Mr. Brizard’s first 90 days are any indication, I am confident the RCSD has finally found the leadership it needs to create positive change for the students. He appears to have established a working relationship with City Hall, taken time to evaluate the issues facing the district, and is moving forward aware of the roadblocks he faces. Bold, unconventional, and focused leadership is essential, and I’m optimistic that Mr. Brizard is all of those and more.
-Frank A. Cania, president and CEO, CANIAHR LLC
Just research Mr. Brizard’s past record. He sets the goals and meets them. As far as I am concerned, he will raise the bar for all employees of RCSD and will accept no less effort than he himself will give.
-Alison J. Weisbeck, Barry York Inc.
Anyone with a head of steam can make headway with people who have traditionally been slow to move. Having said that, the problem with “uniform” curriculums are that children do not learn “uniformly.” While it will make life easier for the teachers having all of their lesson plans done for them at the beginning of the year, it will not lessen the challenges that are faced by low-income students. … At least Brizzard is trying to earn his salary–the rest of the administration are dead weight.
-Caren Epps, Bausch & Lomb Inc.
If cutting central office staff means that more children will have a chance at a better education, by all means, Brizard should do so! My hat’s off to Brizard for focusing on his students instead of worrying about keeping overpaid, underworked staff members happy. Too often, it’s the opposite.
-J.S. Rowe, freelancer
I volunteer as a math tutor at East High in 7th grade. Many kids come to 7th grade without having mastered the basic math skills. To make matters worse, many do not have the necessary foundation in reading, either. It is hard to solve even a simple math problem if you cannot read nor do arithmetic. More focus on math and reading is definitely needed!
-Elizabeth F. Rice, retired finance executive, Xerox Corp.
Go for it. No one else has found the secret to this success, so you might as well try your program. I applaud getting back to the basics and cutting overhead. The cuts should also apply at the school level. It’s good to go back to teaching the three Rs and to throw in one more R: responsibility (for teachers and students). Add in an S for science, also. Now also hold the school and its staff responsible for performance in your goals. Otherwise they have no vested interest. Good luck.
The graduation rates in suburbs are falling too, so the problem is more than just lack of money.
It’s refreshing to finally have someone who seems sincerely interested in the education of the children. We can only hope the rest of the board finally gets the message that it’s not about them, but about the children. Also, kudos to Mr. Brizard for making the children go to school on a cold morning. Back in the ’50s and ’60s, I don’t recall days off because it was cold.
-Dick Weldgen, Weed Man
04/04/08 (C) Rochester Business Journal