Housing instability and child poverty are problems we can fix, if we can summon the political will to do so. New York State should identify housing stability as a top priority so every child has a consistent place to call home.
New York State has drafted a proposal that will be submitted to the US Department of Health and Human Services, requesting flexibility in how it uses Medicaid funds. Known as a “Medicaid waiver,” the proposal includes a request for $13.52 billion to be used over five years. The intent is to design innovative ways of using Medicaid funds that will promote health equity and address health disparities. Despite the fact this waiver is focused on equity, the investments in the current proposal are not aligned with the needs of the poorest and most diverse population of New Yorkers who rely on Medicaid: children.
A review was done of research and evaluations on community schools throughout the country plus available data on community schools in Rochester. Synthesis of the information can inform development of a community school system. There are varying principles community schools are based on, including collaboration, equity, and a mixed model. Community schools can impact students, teachers, families, communities, and systems. In Rochester the demographics of community schools are, overall, proportionate to the district, but notable variability exists. Current academic outcomes and available staff also vary greatly. Needs assessments indicate priorities for strengthening relationships, supporting social-emotional learning and restorative practices, increasing academic support, meeting basic needs, and engaging families
The Rochester City School District (RCSD) is facing unprecedented mid-year reductions in education aid from New York State. These cuts surpass the losses faced by any other school district in Monroe County, and are among the highest of any school district in New York State. The state’s current approach to budget reductions disproportionately targets districts with the highest needs, undermines the purpose of New York State aid to local school districts, and bolsters institutional racism in our community.
The Children’s Agenda is deeply concerned that school closures are disproportionately harming our most vulnerable children. We believe schools need to reopen safely as soon as possible, but are concerned the politicization of the issue, and the lack of sufficient resources and clear guidelines for schools, is putting reopening—and children’s wellbeing—in jeopardy.
As the data in this report will demonstrate, the digital divide similarly has disproportionate impact on Rochester’s Hispanic/Latino communities. This report was originally written to inform immediate responses to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. It has been updated to reflect work that has been done to further close the divide. Information has also been added to inform long-term systemic changes to bridge the digital divide in substantial and sustainable ways.
FCC data indicate that all blocks in Rochester have necessary digital infrastructure for both residential broadband and wireless communication. According to the US Census, the majority of city residents (88%) have some type of computer, smartphone or wireless device and 80% have some type of internet subscription. However, 17% of residents rely solely on a cellular data plan. Smartphones have limited functionality for educational purposes. Therefore, 37% of residents have limited online functionality. There are geographic disparities in internet access with some neighborhoods having 20% – 40% of residents with internet access and others having 80+%. Most Rochester neighborhoods are in the 60% – 80% range. The pandemic has had significant impacts on education that are exacerbated by disparities in access to online learning.
In keeping with The Children’s Agenda’s mission, this report seeks to promote evidence-based solutions for improving children’s academic and social-emotional wellbeing, especially for those most impacted by poverty, discrimination, health disparities, and trauma.
2018 Policy Brief: Understanding Hidden Drivers: Unique Challenges, High Costs, No Vote in Rochester City School District Budgets
How the Rochester community spends money on education is a reflection of its values. This policy brief is an introduction to thinking about the larger forces shaping the RCSD budget and the values those forces are promoting.