Rachel Barnhart expressed dismay at Lovely Warren’s characterization and dismissal of the landmark school desegregation ruling, Brown v. Board of Education.
Warren, an attorney, made the following comments at Tuesday’s Rotary Club debate: “This notion that black kids and Hispanic kids can’t learn unless they go to school with white kids is false. And I cannot believe that we continue to state that. This is a basic argument of the 1964 [sic] Board of Education, Brown versus Board of Education, and I think that it’s wrong. I think that we have to give the same resources, the same opportunity, the same stability to the school district, as we give to other suburban school districts, and the children will perform.”
While many of the efforts to implement Brown are certainly open to Warren’s criticism, her statements mischaracterize the Supreme Court’s ruling itself, which affirmed every child’s right to participate in a robust and inclusive public education system.
With these remarks, Warren also mischaracterized the position taken by those who, like Barnhart, oppose Warren’s promotion of charter schools as a solution to the challenges faced by the RCSD. Charter schools destabilize public school systems because they cannot and will not serve all children—particularly those with special needs.
“As mayor of the City of Rochester, Warren should be advocating for policies that prioritize a strong City public school system—one in which all City families, black and white, rich and poor, will find opportunity and success. Families have been abandoning Rochester’s school system for decades, and are likely to continue if we do not elect a leader who encourages full community support and investment in the Rochester City School District,” said Barnhart.