How many times have students and families supported the call for community support around teachers’ salaries, layoffs and government funding to support Rochester city teachers?
How many times have the children of Rochester represented the face of a campaign to rally around benefits that they rarely experience directly? How many times will voices of youth be uplifted as narratives to affirm the essential value of educators as life changing agents, yet their own narratives are ignored and dismissed when their life experiences and actual futures are at stake?
We are a coalition of parent leaders, community activists, educators, and most importantly, we are concerned citizens. The questions represented here are a small sample of a long list of questions and concerns that we and many parents have in response to the RTA’s Resolution in opposition of RCSD’s Phase 2 and 3 reopening plan.
For the past 40 years, the Rochester Teachers Association has claimed to be focused on “the best interest of the students and teachers of Rochester City Schools.” Dr. Adam Urbanski, the leader, public face and speaker of the teachers union, through this resolution, makes several generalized claims, many of which are not substantiated by fact.
Ultimately, Adam Urbanski does not speak for the parents and families, and more importantly, he does not speak for the students of this district. The fundamental injustice that is perpetuated through the RTA Resolution is inequity and disenfranchisement based on race and socioeconomic status.
The children and families of Rochester City Schools deserve the right to choose an in-person learning option based on the reopening plan that has been presented and approved by the school board. To remove this option is synonymous with restricting one the right to vote in a democratic government.
For far too long the children and families of Rochester City Schools have been used as pawns against an establishment that fails to adequately provide educational learning experiences. No more will the parents and families of RCSD allow RTA to use youth voices as sounding boards to fulfill their own agendas, while secretly disenfranchising the communities they have chosen to serve.
As parent leaders, we stand in solidarity and confidence of the plan presented by the Superintendent and demand that the children of Rochester city schools be afforded the same opportunities as their counterparts across Monroe County, the state of New York and around the country.