Rochester has some of the most segregated schools in the country. This has major impacts on our children. Studies have shown schools with a high concentration of impoverished children have lower achievement. In Rochester, more than half of children live in poverty. All of our city schools have a high concentration of students from low-income households.

Advocating for a countywide school district is the moral position to take on this issue, but there is no legal mechanism or political will to accomplish this goal.

Therefore, we have to desegregate our schools from within. The city is racially and economically diverse, but our schools are not. The problem is people with means are moving when their children reach school age or choosing private schools. The city and school district will work together to draft and implement a comprehensive desegregation plan. Family by family, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, we will persuade families to invest in city schools. No one wants to be the “first.” No one wants to “experiment” with their child. But if we build a critical mass, we can encourage families to try city schools together. This plan will not create “entitlement” schools, but schools that provide enrichment and opportunity to all. Diversity in schools will help children from all walks of life. It’s important to involve all stakeholders in the development of this desegregation plan, including families from all backgrounds and neighborhoods.

We also recognize the role poverty plays in achievement. We must help current families, providing childcare, jobs and job training and fiber internet.

The City of Rochester will be a strong supporter of a strong public school system. We must be true partners. To that end, Rochester’s mayor should not run the school district. We oppose mayoral control of schools and receivership districts. We want to preserve an elected school board. We should explore ways to collaborate to save resources.

Library hours will be expanded.

We will focus on disconnected youth. These are young people not in school or working. Disconnected youth are more likely to live in poverty, drop out of high school, have a disability, and give birth to children at a young age. A report by Measure of America found that in the Rochester region, nearly one-third of African Americans and nearly one-fourth of Latinos between ages 16 and 24 were not working or in school. This is a crisis that needs bold intervention. Our administration will look at aggressive ways to engage these young people and get them into meaningful education or work programs. We must help these young people get on a path to obtaining the skills, experience and education necessary to succeed.

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