Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Solutions, or Lack Thereof

Every so often, we are reminded about the city of Rochester's disastrous childhood poverty rate, disconcerting educational environment, and stubborn embrace of violent crime.  The Rochester region has taken some less desirable elements and lumped them together in a select few areas.  This phenomenon is not unique to Rochester and can be noted in essentially every metro area of the country.  As mentioned many times previously, Rochester's major handicap is that it has firm geographic boundaries around the problem areas, making our performance in statistical analyses rather dismal.  To make matters worse, the problem areas are found in the heart of the region, not pushed to the outskirts as seen in "poverty-free" metros.

Given that boundaries are not going to change anytime soon, Rochester has to dig deep to find solutions to contend with its unflattering numbers.  Our well-intentioned local papers seem to place the onus on those not living in poverty to improve conditions for those living in poverty.  While everyone would love to help, here are a few statistics which show that we are already trying pretty hard, to no avail:

  • During fiscal year 2013, New York State had the highest annual per-pupil spending of any state at $19,818.  In 2013, the Rochester City School District spent $20,333 per pupil, third highest in the country among the 217 districts with over 30,000 students, and higher than most suburban districts in Monroe County.
  • In fiscal year 2014, New York State spent $54 billion on Medicaid, second only to California (though far exceeding California on a per-capita basis), and crushing more populated Texas ($32 billion).
  • Among the 51 largest U.S. metro areas, Rochester has the fifth highest rate of volunteerism.
  • Two of the highest performing elementary schools in the region speak against a problem with overt racism - Mendon Center Elementary School in Pittsford is 28% non-white, and French Road Elementary School in Brighton is 30% non-white.
Coming from someone who votes Democrat, we have to at some point accept that those not in poverty cannot help those in poverty unless some return effort is exhibited.

1 comment:

  1. It may be more than a coincidence that the areas highest in poverty across the country tend to be those dominated by Democrat politicians for long periods of time. Folks like Bernie and Hillary advocating taking from the rich to give to the poor don’t make anyone better off. As you say, we need everyone who is able to work to improve their lot in life. That lifts us all.