Mamie Till Mobley

"There was an important mission for me, to shape so many...young minds as a teacher. God took away one child but...(gave) me thousands. And I have been grateful for the blessing." Mamie Till Mobley

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ogilvie new interim superintendent Buffalo Public Schools

"I am pretty much an open book, they know I'm inclusive." Donald Ogilvie, 7/9/14

Saying he wants to lead this district, " I think can make a difference," former superintendent of BOCES, Donald Ogilvie is thevnew interim superintendent of the Buffalo Schools.

He signed  a contract at the school board meeting tonight, but there were four abstentions by the  African-American women board members disagreed with the selection process though when questioned by reporters said "could have been done in a different way."

 He wants to work with all board members, calling it "bringing the temperature down," and feels empathy for anyone  who feels  not apart of the process.

Friday, June 13, 2014

HipHughes on H2

Monday, June 9, 2014

Common Core media conspiracy

When we think about who owns the media in this country and controls the major political parties, the Common Core hoax becomes clearer. 

And it is how thousands of school districts in the nation got hoodwinked on a curriculum less rigorous than what many had in place before the Common Core Learning Standards stealthily popped out it seems from no where. 

"...Stealth is not a good strategy for pursuing fundamental, sustainable change to 100,000 schools educating 50 million other people's children. " 

Yet it is what the main media had engaged in a conspiracy to allow the corporate influence of the curriculum. 

This  allowed the switch to the Common Core one less rigorous than what many public schools had in place in the nation before the corporate and government complicity to stealthy change it,

"U.S. news outlets mentioned the term Common Core 453 times in 2009 and 1,729 times in 2010--the period during which the standards were first unveiled and during which more than half the states adopted them. Compared to later reporting, that critical early coverage appears pretty sleepy. "

"In 2011, the number of mentions increased to 2,313. In 2012, it more than tripled to 7,800--when the issue had already been settled in most states. Last year, in 2013, the media discovered the Common Core, with 26,401 mentions--or more than ten times the number of stories from 2009 and 2010 combined. " 

Yet, "in 1999, when fewer than 30,000 students were enrolled in voucher programs, there were more stories written about vouchers than were written about the Common Core in 2009, 2010, and 2011combined (when states enrolling more than 41 million students signed on). "

"The standards were rarely covered even as states prepared to alter instruction for tens of millions of students. Now, the media has been making up for lost time."

The information cited on this blog piece came from Rick Hess article March 2014 for Education Week "Did the press do its due diligence on the Common Core?"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Professor Garrison to speak about education reform at Karpeles

Teachers encouraged to attend an upcoming evening seminar with acclaimed education professor Dr. Mark Garrison.

Dr. Garrison is a professor from D'Youville College who has become nationally recognized as an expert and critic on current issues and reforms in education.  He speaks about a wide range of topics that are impacting students, parents, teachers, and administrators in today's educational climate:  CCLS, Privatization, APPR, and Local Governance structures in education and in our democracy.  

We are privileged to have a scholar like Dr. Garrison as a local expert right here in Buffalo.  This event is completely free for all teachers, and is being conducted completely for free by Dr. Garrison.  It is being sponsored for all teachers by a handful of Buffalo teachers who know Dr. Garrison personally, have taken his education classes, or who had graduated from high school at the same time as him.  

It is the hope of all those involved with this evening that we can build up an audience that is passionate and inquisitive about the current issues.

Please mark your calendars for this great event, Tuesday, June 10th, from 4-6pm, at Karpeles Church at Jersey and Porter Avenue (Corner of Grover Cleveland HS -- behind Kleinhans).  Information submitted by Professor Patrick Foster, Global History at Lafayette High School.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Buffalo School Board endorsement…..

Buffalo School board endorsements

Buffalo Public Schools still searching for Deputy Superintendent amid a looming school board race

The Buffalo Public Schools updated its search for a deputy superintendent, the posting appearing on the website Education Week, TopSchoolJobs.

The position was filled in February, when Superintendent Pamela Brown appointed Dr. Mary Guinn after the Buffalo Board of Education ended its contract with the consulting firm Cross and Joftus last fall.  The firm had a contract for one year costing nearly half a million with Guinn making $290, 359, irking some members of the Buffalo Board of Education alleging it was more than what the superintendent of schools earned.

Previously, Guinn filled the position on a interim basis last March 2013, but at the time she didn't possess the certificate from the New York State Education Department in Albany that she obtained in February 2014, when Superintendent Brown appointed her again.

And the Buffalo News reported two years ago in the fall that the Say Yes to Education organization had contracted Cross and Joftus for $400,000 to develop a new organizational structure for the district, action plans for the superintendent's cabinet, a building based budgeting model to encourage "earned school autonomy" and a model to evaluate the work of the executive cabinet.

Hence it was Guinn's role to supervise the implementation of the new Central Office organization after she ended her temporary duties as the interim deputy superintendent.

Superintendent Brown has been criticized for hiring an executive staff viewed as top-heavy with Central Office administrators similar to her former predecessor James Williams.  In fact, she has done many similar things, yet Williams stayed on for six years, while Brown a female superintendent right or wrong; she has been held to a higher standard than her male counterparts, surviving attempts to oust her as soon as she was appointed.

Moreover, there is an election looming on May 6, three at-large school members will be elected from a slate of 14 candidates, there are two incumbents seeking office, attorney John Licata and Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold.  Florence Johnson who served for over 20 years is not running for reelection this year.

And it's hard to predicate the outcome of the race that five years ago two whites and one African-American won seats.  If it happens again, two whites and one black, the quorum on a nine-member school board critics of Brown sought will be in place to end her contract.

Yet, something is different about this at-large school board race that happened five years ago and another that didn't happen.

For one thing, big time money is pouring into the race from the unions, wealthy groups and individuals and outside organizations such as StudentsFirstNY, all vying to influence school board policy that governs 57 schools 12 in good standing.

Also, there are racial overtones in the race and a sector in the black community composed of the old-guard individuals and organizations  like George K. Arthur, Frank B. Mesiah,  and the NAACP that view the elections as a threat to the presence of blacks on a school board where they first served for the first time in the early sixties and after the City charter changed to an elected school board in the mid-seventies.

And a good example was the reelection of Mayor Byron Brown though he lost his popularity in the two terms he has been in office among blacks before elected again, African-Americans  came out to keep the Mayor in office for another third term.

Interestingly, Puerto Ricans and other Latinos have become energized too, and for the first time two Latino candidates Ralph Hernandez formerly on the school board and Sergio Rodriguez former Mayoral candidate are both in the at-large school board race this year.

Whether the deputy superintendent position is finally filled depends on this election, as well as, the tenure of Superintendent Brown in the district.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Judy Elliott, building based budgeting and more...

Judy Elliott, distinguished educator, commented "this is not a safe environment for people to speak their truths" in her presentation to the Buffalo Board of Education at the meeting on March 26.

Still too many schools continue on the State Ed list of failing schools, while more has to be done about the "focus " schools to prevent them from becoming "priority." Elliott told the School Board the district has enough of its own data to do something about improving the failing schools and don't need to wait upon State Ed for more data.

Interestingly,  other comments from the public on the Buffalo News School Zone blog concerned the new district policy of school based budgeting.

For example, "Re: Title I .. The expectation is that Title I funds will be bumped 2% in the Federal 2015 budget (per U.S. Dep't of Ed's website) .. NY's share should for next school year should remain flat, but still consistent with funds that have been recv'd each of the past 3 years. 
Yet, Dr. Brown's school -based budget program is cutting discretionary Title I funding by half, resulting in cuts in reading teachers, guidance counselors, etc. These people are essential and there is no logical explanation as to why this is happening--state funding doesn't affect Title I.. Sandra, I looked forward to the BN looking into this issue."

Here is another comment on the blog on this topic.
 "Along the lines of Title I funds... "building based budgeting" is hurting some of the neediest schools. It all sounds great, as though schools get to decide how to spend money, but it distances central office from any responsibility to provide services fairly."

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Distinguished Educator, Judy Elliott presentation to the Buffalo School Board

Dr. July Elliott:  Photo: Mike Desmond, WBFO News 
Dr. Judy  Elliott, the distinguished educator, Commissioner John B. King, Jr., appointed to the Buffalo Schools, the School Board hired July 2012, started as a part-time consultant, the same time as Dr. Pamela C. Brown the new Superintendent of the Buffalo Schools.

She presented a report to the School Board at a meeting on Wednesday, March 26. Elliott presents quarterly reports as part of her contract with the district.

Elliott, quiet as it is kept, has been mentioned as possible superintendent of the Buffalo Schools, though she left the area to pursue her career goals, some have asked why not?

Her appointment as distinguished educator generated controversy because the Buffalo School Board had to hire her whether they agreed to her appointment or not about 18 months ago.  She works  as a consultant from her home in Tampa, Florida after spending a tumultuous period as Chief Academic Officer in the L.A. Unified School System after a new superintendent allegedly wanted his own team and  disagreed with her advocacy of a controversial homework policy in the district. 

Her contract bought out in 2011, she has been moonlighting as an educational consultant in the nation's public schools, Buffalo Schools is one of these schools she works for around the country.  When appointed it was rumored, the distinguished educator was the first step in the State Education Department move to take over the Buffalo Schools, "something prefaced by the  proposed take-over legislation discussed back in 2009.  And it may happen if there is as she noted at the School Board meeting Wednesday night, …"the number of low-performing schools has not changed."

"Judy's here to help - be a source of support for the superintendent and the board," present recommendations to them and ultimately to us at the (State Education) Department on how to move things forward in Buffalo.  The only thing I'm interested in is improved student outcomes." Commissioner King (10/7/2012)
Tiffany Lankes blogged in the School Zone blog , Buffalo News, it was the second time in three months she had seen Elliott.  This information cited here mostly comes from her blogging at the March 26, Buffalo School Board meeting  

She described her role as a new one for the state education department and said it was "meant to be a technical resource and assistance."  Lankes blogged, Elliott provided, "…an overview of her role and the system she is using to assess progress."

Elliott said  there are  two key questions in doing this work: "Are you happy with your data and  is every classroom one you would put your own flesh and blood?"

She spoke about her collaboration with Superintendnent Pamela Brown to develop the new Common Core Formative Assessments and the audit on special education by the Great City Schools, working with the Educational Partnership Organizations and walking classrooms. And she has been working with the Chiefs of Leadership in Central Office more closely this year on student support plans.

Lankes blogged, Elliott, Elliott mentioned, "Student placement is a huge issue in this district, especially students with special needs, English Language Learners and those overage and under credited ."  She said, "some areas of concern are promotion and retention, student placement, service for suspended students, attendance taking, discipline data, general use of data to improve outcomes for students."

Elliot continues, "We are working on a better system for taking and tracking attendance. "(The Buffalo Schools  introduced the student information system Infinite Campus, the summer of 2012, but personnel have complained they were offered minimal staff development to understand how it worked from the clerks to the administrators. And the system is a problem because  teachers  have to document attendance period by period though last year home room attendance introduced).

She cited as "our big picture issues…support for students with special needs and those learning to speak English."

A  "Comment from Kim" on the blogged mentioned, "we were directed to change IEPs in the building to reflect whatever services we happened  to have available.  We told the state, Barb Trunzo. Nothing ever came of it." News blogger Lankes responded, "Kim, I'd like to hear more about this can you e-mail me,  so expect a story sometime about this issue if "Kim" follows through and e-mails Lankes.

Elliott recommendations included "…improving instruction for struggling students, increasing collaboration with principals and help them to understand policies and procedures.  School Board member, Carl Paladino responded, "It seems to me we spend an awful lot of money hiring consultants to train our principals."  To this, Superintendent Brown responded, "that with all of the new mandates and standards you don't always have expertise in the schools."

Eilliott adds, "we are spending a lot of money on professional development, but need to do a better job tracking or return on investment." 

Hmmm, does it include her work and reports about the Buffalo Schools?  How is the district return on investing in a distinguished educator?  How is it helping to move the failing schools she oversees, the Priority schools from the state list?  Some have questioned in a cash strapped school district facing a $50 million budge deficit why is a distinguished educator needed at nearly $200 hourly in addition to daily  paid expenses who principally  resides out of town?  That includes Dr. Mary Guinn and Company from Evans Newton Consultant group. 

Lankes blogged, "Elliott was taking about the retention issue and the need to track kids throughout the year to make sure they are not sliding.  Right now, the number of low-performing schools has not changed.  It behooves us as a district to go  in and look at our focus schools to make sure they don't slip into priority school status."

Superintendent Brown chimed in that district still"... waiting to hear from the state on whether any of our schools can come off the priority list."  While School Board member Paladino said, "it's nice to say we're making progress, but it's hard to see it."

Elliott sees as a problem, …"disconnect between Central Office and the schools, and that's typical in large urban districts.  If we want to show improvement, we need to listen to the people at the building level."  How?  In what way is Elliott proposing this listening should be done?  Isn't there suppose to be a "one-stop shop" mechanism Superintendent Brown proposed the different Chiefs of Leadership are suppose to do through their offices in Central Office to help the leaders in the school buildings?

At large School Board member Florence Johnson chimed in saying " I am amazed at how long it takes the state to get us data."  Elliott responded , she "…thinks you have the data you need to make decisions." And Elliott continued to respond to School Board member Johnson, "the last thing you want to do is wait for someone to give you a report to take action.  The challenges with students who are overaged and under credited  are well-documented in this district." 

 If so what is Elliott doing to contribute to the discussion to remedy the situation some ask? And she added, "you're held accountable for all of the kids who show up in your building.  You can calculate that right now."  And, "theres's lots of stuff in the district's power and authority that we could be doing."

Elliott commented, " if we're suppose to be taking attendance, we need to make sure we're doing it.  Principals have Apps on their telephone to help track which teachers are taking it."

A secondary staff member making a "Comment From Guest" said something very interesting why attendance is challenging to keep up with on the  new student information system Infinite Campus:

"...students come in at any point in the period (especially in chaotic schools). It becomes unreasonable for teachers, who need to be teaching, to keep updating Infinite Campus throughout the period. Especially when they need to be in the hallway during transitions and therefore can't do it between classes." 
Attendance is an issue. I have the same class all day but have to take attendance eight times.....its time consuming.
"When you have to stop teaching to log in and take it attendance it makes it hard. You have to stop what you are doing for at least five minutes eight times a day. Total of forty minutes lost on teaching"

Interesting Elliott quoted as saying, "this is not necessarily a safe environment for people to speak their truths." Hmmm, did she mean her own truths or district staff in general?

Elliott presented for about one hour at the meeting. Her reports are on the district website .

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Buffalo school board voted on turnaround plans for MLK and Bennett

Hot off the press, the Buffalo School Board tonight Buffalo News blogger, Tiffany Lankes, commented: 
"...narrowly approved turnaround plans for Bennett High School and Martin Luther King Multicultural Institute. At the same time, the board rejected a plan to merge the former Pinnacle Charter School with Harvey Austin School."

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)
"Let’s be honest: we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks with a personal stake in both charter schools and education reform in general if we’re going to take reform to the next level, both politically and operationally.Whitney Tilson, hedge fund manager and major funding angel for the school privatizing Democrats for Education Reform, thinks there’s not enough rich, educated white folks.( Preaprez) click photo to his blog.

Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education, click photo