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, September 22, 2010

Buffalo board member Vivian Evans still on board

Buffalo News reported Vivian O. Evans has steadfastly maintained that she intends to keep her house in Buffalo and commute in for board meetings every two weeks to continue serving on the board.“I’m going to continue to serve my constituents and the children of Buffalo,” Evans said. “I am accessible for my constituents. That hasn’t changed.” Earlier Buffalo New articles on this topic. Photo Credit: Buffalo News

Monday, September 20, 2010

Report finds a culture of absenteeism among administrators, teachers and aides in the buffalo schools

"This is a piece of data that for the first time answers the burning question: Do teacher and administrator absences affect student performance? The answer is yes. And so now it's up to us to do something about it," said Mark W. Frazier, a high-ranking administrator in the district and one of the study's authors. And the more their teacher is absent, the more days students are absent, the study found.

The report , Buffalo Public Schools District Attendance Report 2009-2010, a 23 page study relates teacher and administrator absences to student achievement and student attendance.

Yet, student attendance decreased steadily from 2005 to 2010 during the period the district laid-off its entire attendance faculty in 2005. It would be beneficial to study student attendance and to come up with viable solutions. Many of the absences in the study included teachers and administrators taking legitimate contractual time off the report associating it with a "culture of absenteeism regardless of how the absence occurred.

There are only two attendance teachers serving 34,000 students in the Buffalo Public Schools. One teacher retired in May 2010 and he was not replaced and his duties focused on the special education students composing about 10,000 in the BPS. And negotiations on re-hiring the laid-off attendance teachers appears stalled.

The Buffalo Teachers Federation two years ago requested the laid-off attendance teachers fill out a survey documenting where they have worked since being laid-off because the district negotiating officials asked for the information. After filling out the form neither the district or the BTF have been in contact with the teachers.

There have been several unsuccessful attempts to get Mr. Philip Rumore to meet with the attendance teachers to explain what is happening during the negotiations with the district.

If a high school had an 86% attendance five years ago and it declines to 73%, the exact time period the attendance teacher laid-off in the district, then, why it has taken it so long for district officials and the union to rehire the laid-off attendance teacher?

So instead of looking for the causes of student academic failure---student absenteeism---the district blames administrators, teachers and teachers aides while attendance teacher still laid-off, and high school attendance rates continue to plummet.

Education Commissioner declined to meet with district parent group

Education Commissioner to visit Buffalo on Monday, September 19, 2010. School Board President Ralph Hernandez and School Board possibly to meet with commissioner privately at the dismay of Superintendent James Williams opposed to the idea.

Mean while the District Parent Coordinating Committee wanted to meet with the commissioner he rejected.

State education commissioner visits Buffalo

A visit to Buffalo today by the state education commissioner led Superintendent James A. Williams to clearly acknowledge for the first time that he must -- and will -- remove the principals in three of the city's lowest-performing schools.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New attendance initiatives in NYC

Mayor Bloomberg has embarked on an ambition plan to improve school attendance and combat truancy in the NYC public schools, using a plan incorporating "volunteer mentors" to track the absent students.

Where are the truancy officers or the attendance teachers in the NYC schools in this plan? In the press release on the website of the NYC department of education, attendance teachers are not cited. Why not? Attendance teachers have special powers given to them by NYS Education law to not only compel the parents to send the students to school, but to arrest truant students. And a plan that does not incorporate this essential personnel with the years of experience they have behind them in a school attendance and truancy project is questionable and troubling.

Nearly ten years ago in 2002, the State Education Department (Section 104.1 of Commissioner's Regulations) required school districts to develop a Comprehensive Attendance Policy and requires the Boards of education or designee to review the yearly attendance data and if it drops to initiate a plan of improvement. The community should hold school districts and boards of education accountable for revamping attendance policy causing high truancy rates in a school district.

Thus, laws and regulations should be enforced and the personnel hired to get the job done such as a cadre of professional attendance teachers. The problem with the NYC plan is that it's window dressing the problem rather than seriously allowing those professionals in the field to improve on what methods have worked in the past.

But this requires Bloomberg and his lawyer Commissioner of Education to dedicate a source of permanent funding since there has been too many cuts in the budget of those in charge with attendance in the school district.

In the City of Buffalo, attendance has gone down since the district laid-off all of its attendance faculty in 2005 over a labor dispute with the Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF).

So 15 attendance teacher laid-off and it has had a devastating impact on the school attendance of Junior high school and high school students with some high schools averaging as low as 74% attendance where before the attendance teachers laid off it had been 86%.

Still the data in hand, the Buffalo City School District officials continue to argue the merits of bringing back the laid off attendance teachers because they hesitate to pay them back their lost salaries which are a pittance of the school budget at over $800 million dollars.

There are only three attendance teachers in the Buffalo Schools for over 34,000 stuents, one retired last May and the District has not yet hired anyone to replace the teacher, leaving only two. And the teacher who retired had responsbility for the Special Education population numbering over 10,000 students.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pedro Noguera: Politics of education: Schools vs slogans

On August 24 Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the ten winners of the latest Race to the Top competition. "These states show what is possible when adults come together to do the right thing for children," said Duncan. The winners—the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island—were understandably thrilled. Each will receive tens of millions of dollars (large states, even more) to implement reforms that the administration believes will spur innovation and promote academic excellence.

Assembly Member Sam Hoyt called education deformer

Buffalo Assemblyman Sam Hoyt name appeared on a "hot list" the Democrats for Education Reform (remember when they inundated Buffalo during the School Board District election in May), trying to influence the out-come of the school races successful in returning all of the incumbents and one new member?

Well, Democrats for Education Reform sent out a communication asking supporters to write checks out to the politicians on the "hot list" because they support charter schools. And Fred Klonsky's blog predicted "there is a good chance they will go down" in the September primaries.

Except don't hold your breath in Buffalo. Sam Hoyt isn't going anywhere at least not yet, though, his fellow competitor Joseph Golombek has tried one time before came close but failed. And with all of the $$$ Hoyt has it looks as though he'll get back in again.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Buffalo Massacre: Victims Speak Up

Over 1000 African Americans and the families of the victims murdered in cold blood 4 dead, 4 wounded in one of the worst massacres in the history of Buffalo at a downtown restaurant, City Grill on August 14, 2010. The Buffalonews paper criticized for publishing the criminal records of the victims in what the African-American community viewed as racist and insensitive. Margaret Sullivan, Editor and Vice-President of the News appeared at this forum with members of her staff in a historic forum at True Bethel Baptist Church, Ferry St., Buffalo. Pastor Darius Pridgen, candidate for the Ellicott District, presided over the event. read more at: the BuffaloEmpire Star

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