ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Rochester, New York school district had a graduation rate of 43 percent in 2012, which is actually a decline from 45.5 percent in 2011.
Even more depressing? A study found only 9 percent of black males and 10 percent of Latino males graduate in 4 years, if ever.
As if that’s not bad enough, the most recent round of standardized testing found 5.4 percent of Rochester students are proficient in reading and writing, while only 5 percent were proficient in math.
But the district is in total denial.
That’s the subject of our latest EAG Education Report.
Last August, Superintendent Bolgen Vargas sent a letter to parents telling them “poor student achievement is not acceptable. But neither is pointing a finger of blame. The disappointing test results are not the fault of teachers or administrators, parents or students.”
Really? NO ONE is to blame? In a district that has a student-to-teacher ratio of less than 12-to-1?
The buck doesn’t stop anywhere in Rochester, unless you’re talking about the adults’ pockets.
A recent analysis of the school district’s spending found a whopping 292 employees made over $100,000. That’s a 13 percent increase over the previous year.
What are taxpayers getting for all their “investment”? Not much. Graduation rates and student proficiency actually declined during that same period.
How many people in the private sector get a raise when their job performance, in effect, is worse than the year before?
Public school apologists argue that school districts, such as Rochester, are struggling because they’re underfunded. But money doesn’t appear to be the problem. The district is ranked in the top 10 in the state for per-student spending, with the most recent reported amount being $20,984 per student.
So think about one of the outcomes this way: If Rochester is spending that amount and only graduating 43 percent of its students, taxpayers are paying an incredible $48,800 per GRADUATE.
And there’s no way of calculating the long-term costs of the non-graduates. How can one measure the effects of leaving so many children uneducated and unprepared for life?
But the teachers union is upset because it’s getting elbowed away from the trough by the administrators.
When a news station scrutinized administrator pay back in 2008, Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association said, “It’s discouraging that salaries for Central Office bureaucrats are increasing at a much higher pace than salaries for everyone else in the system, especially teachers.”
How about this – how about NO ONE gets a raise until student proficiency hits 10 percent. That shouldn’t be too difficult, should it? Apparently it is in Rochester.