Category Opinion

URBAN JOURNAL: Why not ban guns?

BY MARY ANNA TOWLER I’ve found it nearly impossible to avoid thinking about gun control as the stories kept coming over the past few weeks: 12 people killed and 58 wounded in Aurora, Colorado; six killed, three wounded at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin; a security guard shot and wounded at a Family […]

URBAN JOURNAL: The City School District – Can this system work?

BY MARY ANNA TOWLER “Who is in charge of America’s urban schools? Everyone and no one. We Americans love divided government. Distrustful of power, we established a constitution with three branches of government, each designed to check the power of the others. “We have done the same thing with our schools. What could be more […]


GUEST COMMENTARY: Invest in youth now or pay later BY RODERICK GREEN As I read Mary Anna Towler’s recent article “Facing Facts on Violence” (Urban Journal, July 18), I reflected on how, as a community, we really must openly address and discuss Rochester’s violence. As executive director of Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection in Rochester, I have […]

URBAN JOURNAL: Romney and Ryan

BY MARY ANNA TOWLER Shortly after Mitt Romney introduced Paul Ryan as his running mate on Saturday, The Atlantic’s James Fallows suggested that the choice was good not only for Romney but also for the country. Given his outspoken conservatism, Fallows said, Ryan’s presence on the ticket means that voters will be able to focus […]

URBAN JOURNAL: Boy Scouts, gays, and the company we keep

BY MARY ANNA TOWLER We are such a deeply divided nation. And while we occasionally make great strides – electing a black president, permitting openly gay Americans to serve in the military, passing laws permitting same-sex marriage – the divisions persist. And at times, they seem to be getting deeper. NPR’s Morning Edition on Tuesday […]

URBAN JOURNAL: Vargas heats things up

BY MARY ANNA TOWLER Things have been relatively quiet at the Rochester school district this summer. That ended over the weekend, though, with a letter from Superintendent Bolgen Vargas to school board members, telling them he had hired two new administrators – one of them a longtime district critic. Patty Malgieri – former Rochester deputy […]

URBAN JOURNAL: After Aurora – accepting violence

BY MARY ANNA TOWLER It would be hard to find a more graphic illustration of parental fear than Barry Gutierrez’s AP photograph of a father screaming out in anguish as he searched for his son after the Aurora, Colorado, carnage. The horror, for those who were in that theater and for their families and friends, is […]

URBAN JOURNAL: Facing facts on violence

BY MARY ANNA TOWLER Rochester is more than a decade into an epidemic of violence – a specific kind of violence: young black men shooting at, and too often killing, other young black men. Can we talk about this? If we can’t, we’ll never address it effectively. From January 1 through June, Rochester had 22 […]


BY DONALD BARTALO Always reforming, not always improving The teacher evaluation bill, passed by New York lawmakers on June 21, will give “limited public access” to teacher evaluations. Evaluation scores (not the names of teachers) will be posted on the State Education website. Parents will be able to see only the evaluation scores for their […]

URBAN JOURNAL: Dems must get fired up over health-care law

BY MARY ANNA TOWLER So Republicans have decided to make repealing the Affordable Care Act the focus of their campaign for the White House and Congress. The Supreme Court says the law is constitutional, but House Speaker John Boehner says it has to be “ripped out by its roots.” This ought to be an easy […]