Say Yes: Part II with Lowengard

Saying "Yes" to Education Series

Part II of an interview with Syracuse School Superintendent Dan Lowengard:

"Perception is reality." This is a concept that may work well for baseball umpires, but it is generally ineffective in dealing with decision making in most other areas.

Syracuse City Schools Superintendent Dan Lowengard is well aware the misconceptions involving the comparisons between urban and suburban education. The New York State Department of Education, in assessing the quality of education in New York, has essentially created a one-size-fits-all standard of comparison that actually does not fit all. Instead it fits some.

"There is no essential difference between the quality of education in Syracuse and the education in surrounding areas. They mirror each other throughout the school year, but over the summer things change. In the suburbs, things continue to flow, but in the city, for the most part, they don't," Lowengard said. "The Say Yes summer program will make a difference in that."

According to this Superintendent, educational momentum is critical. Once the process begins, it needs to continue to move forward, to build on itself. Educational momentum provides the energy to continue learning outside the classroom as well as in, and urban demographics are not always encouraging to that flow.

"There are a lot of distractions, particularly when there is more free time than can be reasonably occupied with educational pursuits. Say Yes is enabling us to remove some of the stumbling blocks that interfere with the flow of education. The summer program will allow the flow to continue for the kids that participate.

"Some 800 SCSD students, age 7-10, will have the opportunity to maintain that educational momentum through the Say Yes Summer Camp program -- (More on this next week). Our intent is to make school an 11-month process for kids but fun at the same time.

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