By Deziree Garrick
An opportunity gap can be described as a lack of equitable opportunities and resources relating to education. Factors like your race and zip code play a role in the amount of opportunities and resources you have access to. Rochester’s youth has been and continues to be denied access to viable opportunities, and it is mostly due to systemic oppression.
Mrs. Delehanty of the TLI department, explains how the gap affected Rochester’s students. She says, “A very clear example is right now during the pandemic, where in all of the surrounding suburbs those students have the opportunity if they chose to participate in hybrid learning or remote learning. Whereas that option has never been given a chance in the RCSD.” As a student of the RCSD, I can tell you that students were and are offended by the lack of choices given to us.
“Some students aren’t even aware of what they are missing out on and I often see students pity themselves, and subconsciously start thinking they aren’t as good as their suburban counterparts,” answered Mrs. Delehanty when asked about the hidden effects of the “gap.”
Mrs. Delehanty went on to say that “the border between the RCSD and the Penfield school district is the most segregated school district border in the country! And that gap would be even larger if it [the RCSD] was with Pittsford, NY, which is the most affluent suburb in our area.”
That statement was new knowledge to me, but did not surprise me. As a high school student in an urban district you often compare yourself to suburban districts and there students, and you wonder why they have great academic programs and top notch sports facilitates. And to know that the only reason they are “better” than you is because of systemic racism is frustrating. We need to hold our leaders accountable, whether it be at the local, state, or federal level.
I look forward to continuing this topic in a later issue. And I send a Special thanks to Mrs. Delehanty.