ROC The Future report: Some progress for children, much work to be done

ROC The Future report: Some progress for children, much work to be done

Overview

 

By Cristina Domingues

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — ROC the Future released its annual report on the State of Children in the local community. There have been some improvements, but it’s clear there is a lot of work to be done.

ROC the Future is an alliance of more than 100 institutions and community partners, working to improve educational outcomes for kids.

Leaders say Rochester’s early education programs are a bright spot.

For example, more toddlers are being screened for early intervention needs, and 97 percent of the city’s 4-year olds are in Head Start or Pre-K programs.

However, the numbers also show, many of those toddlers are then chronically absent from those programs, and the challenges increase as children grow older.

Last year 8.2 percent of third graders were reading on grade level. That number has moved up, but only to 10 percent. And only an astonishing one percent of eighth graders are passing the NYS math assessment tests.

“The city gives $119.1 million to the school district,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. “That’s 67 percent of the taxes we collect from our residents. We have 32 percent to go towards other things. We believe that the dollars the district has should be enough to improve the numbers.  And the numbers are improving, but what the Superintendent wants to develop is a path forward.

“There are 28,300 kids in the city and we’re only talking about a few hundred here and there benefiting from some of these programs very directly,” said Larry Marx, said The Children’s Agenda CEO. “We need to make progress for all kids and we need to do it so it’s happening in the next few years because kids can’t wait.”

Rochester has one of the highest child poverty rates in the country.