Fairport Central School District Superintendent Dr. William Cala spoke at a Rochester Teachers Association forum on March 5, 2015.
Dr. Cala’s notes can be read here.
Dr. Cala has no faith in the New York legislature and believes that Governor Cuomo is totally corrupt. He still believes that it is possible to fight bureaucracy in Albany and win because it has been done in the past (examples given in his speech). He believes that money and power are running New York State but for us to win, we must acknowledge what is going on (speak truth to power; silence no more) and then get to fixing the real problem of poverty. His words are way better than mine so watch or read what he has to say.
I don’t agree with every point of Dr. Cala’s solution for dealing with poverty but I agree that poverty, NOT failing education, is the ‘elephant in the room’ that we have to deal with as Americans.
We need to stop bashing schools and teachers. We need to fix the educational problems where they exist with our schools allowing our local educators to contribute to the solutions as the trained professionals that they are. And we have to start working on the hard problems in our society that lead to or keep people in poverty!
As the year winds down, many students/classes throughout the Kingston school district are going on field trips. But are all students able to participate in the field trips?
At Meet the Candidates Night on May 13, 2014 potential school board candidates were asked if they have knowledge or experience working with the low socio-economic families in our school district. School lunches, supplies for school assignments and transportation are areas that often come up with regards to low socio-economic families but what about field trips? Can all families afford to send their students on the field trips that the school classes are taking?
Some PTO/PTA groups raise funds to supplement field trips but does this happen at all schools? By the time students get into middle school, field trips can become quite costly – frequently costing the family in the range of $30 to $70 for a student to attend the field trip. The Kingston school district offers free and reduced lunches. If field trips are truly part of the enrichment of curriculum, should there also be ‘free and reduced field trips’ offered by the school district?
For students who are unable to attend field trips, what is provided to them to compensate for the enrichment they are missing? Is there a video of the field trip that they could watch so they can participate in class discussions or discussions with other students after the field trip?
Some students are not allowed to participate on field trips due to behavioral issues. Is there an in-house program being offered to these students during the field trip time that will help address the behavioral issues keeping them from attending the field trip? Something that will help to break the cycle of behavior causing the problem? Incoming board member Mrs. Priscilla Lowe pointed out at Meet the Candidates Night that in her years as a truant officer she observed recurring patterns of truancy and behavioral issues related to generational poverty. Is it possible that by missing out on these enriching field trips, the behavioral issues are just being exacerbated?
How does each school within our district handle students who are not able to go on field trips (due to cost or discipline)? What is your experience as a parent with regards to field trips? Is there inequity between schools as to how these situations are handled, for example do some schools offer scholarships for field trips but not others? If you have concerns in any of these areas, how do you think they could best be addressed within the Kingston school district as a whole?
Please give the kids of Kingston 17 minutes to hear Joshua Katz, a high school math teacher in Florida, clearly explain what is wrong with the current state of education (its not the students and teachers!), this ‘Toxic Culture of Education’, and what we can do to get out of it.
Toxic Culture of Education – Joshua Katz at TEDxUniversityofAkron
In the mid 1800′s, Horace Mann captured the potential impact of education on society. We have yet to realize the potential he saw, and in fact, we are missing the mark by a wider and wider margin. We have created a “Toxic Culture of Education” in our country that is damaging students, impacting our economy, and threatening our future. Since the passage of No Child Left Behind, we have embraced a culture of high stakes testing and are perpetuating a false sense of failure in our schools. We have ignored research and data on effective policy making practices in order to serve the interest of private industries that have monetized our students. The impact is being felt in communities, on college campuses, and in our economy. The solution lies in a common sense approach to student development, curriculum choice, career exploration, and relevant data analysis. This talk will present a vision of an education system that allows us to embrace our full potential if we only had the courage to ask “Why Not”?