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

Friday, October 29, 2010

Buffalo more charter schools than any other city in the state

"In Buffalo, A Debate Over Charter Schools Gets Noisy And Personal." Over 71 million public funds transferred to charter schools in Buffalo annually.  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teachers and leaders in education petitioning President Obama to remove Arne Duncan

Over 400 teachers, leaders in education and American citizens have signed a petition asking President Barack Obama to remove  U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Some of the comments on the petition:

  • "He is not qualified and is ruining education in America."
  • "He is holding school systems hostage to testing that makes no accounting of the very existence of multiple intelligences or learning styles."
  • "Mr. Duncan is simply unqualified and doing much harm to public schools across the country."
  • "Replace Duncan with someone who knows what education is all about! A teacher, perhaps?
  • "Dump Duncan"
  • "remove him now."
  • "Education needs to be funded in a fair and consistent way. It needs a leader who understands that test scores are not what we expect as the end result of education--an education is!! "

  • President Obama's choice of Mr. Duncan to head the Department of Education is disappointing, even more so given Mr. Duncan's record in Chicago and his support for the evaluation of teachers using test scores. Why must we suffer with educational leaders who have spent so little time in the classroom and really don't understand what teaching entails.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Jersey Gov. Christie fired his education chief to tap Michelle Rhee for post

"The state lost 4.8 points because it submitted financial information about 2010 and 2011, rather than the 2008 and 2009 figures that the application requested" in the federal Race to the Top application. Gov. Christie fires his Education Commissioner wants to tap former D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee at $141,000 less than what she earned as chief of the D.C. public schools.

NYC Mayor Bloomberg praises Legislation passed in Colorado ties teacher evaluation to student academic growth

"The law, known as Senate Bill 191, ties teacher and principal evaluations to student academic growth and changes the way teachers get and keep what is commonly known as tenure."

Read more:New York Mayor Bloomberg praises Colorado educational reform - The Denver Post

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How administrators appointed to positions in Buffalo Public Schools still a mystery

"Staff and students at the three schools have complained that the district kept them in the dark about who would be taking over the buildings, and when."  And, "Williams, through his spokeswoman, declined to say who has been named acting principal at International School 45, Riverside or Burgard."
Why all the mystery? Individuals mysteriously appear in a school office what is suppose to be the new building leader.  And those serving in leadership positions suddenly disappear nobody knows where they have gone to resurface in another school, central office in city hall or staff development center downtown in the WNED building. Why so much hush-hush, when the public and those working in these buildings once the appointment is made have a right to know? 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Errol Louis: fight for education quality must be rooted in reality

"Arne Duncan...and the rest of us have to stop kidding ourselves about what it will take to end inequality in America.

Hedge fund investors and education

Public education attracts the most unsual political bedfellows all associated with hedge fund investment  firms.

Democratic Senator Schumer's Republican challenger says he'll be more vocal about championing charter schools

"Education hasn’t been a big topic in the Senate Race between Schumer and his Republican challenger, Jay Townsend. “I would be much more vocal in championing charter schools than Mr. Schumer has been,” Townsend said in response to emailed questions. “I believe that too many young kids are trapped in failing public schools.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mutual decision to part ways: there is a new boss in town

There is a new boss in town one former D.C. school Chancellor Michelle Rhee had campaigned against in his mayoral bid to oust Mayor Adrian Fenty. But Vincent C. Gray. D.C. Council chair succeeded. And the decision Rhee made to step down as the Chancellor of the D.C. schools described as a "mutual decision to part ways." Her successor, Kaya Henderson, an African-American involved with Teach for America in her early teaching career noted for playing a lead role in the contract negotiation team that led to a new evaluation system for teachers, pay-for-performance and firing so-called ineffective teachers. She has a good rapport with the DC teacher union president George Parker. Photo of Rhee in 2010 and bottom photo 2007 when first appointed to head the DC school system.

Rhee: stepping down!

Embattled D.C. Superintendent, Michelle Rhee, steped down today. And Mayor Adrian Fenty lost the primary last month to the Vincent C. Gray, city council chairperson. Interestingly, Rhee campaigned for the Mayor during his re-election bid ironically in the white section of town.

"There is some notion buried in our educational experiments that we still don’t really know how to teach kids, or that there is some silver bullet waiting to be discovered. We do know how, and there isn’t a magical answer."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Offering teachers higher pay didn't result in increase student performance research concluded.

In the results of his three-year groundbreaking study, Matt Springer, a researcher at the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee last month concluded "that opportunities to earn a large financial incentive didn't increase student performance. It didn't change teacher behavior overwhelmingly." And, "teachers who could earn a bonus and teachers who could not delivered the same results. Money made no difference," even though one group of teachers offered incentives of $15,000.

When asked," what evidence is there that putting more money on the table will make teachers better?" Springer responded, "in education we have very little limited evidence of that."

If studies continue to conclude similar findings what happens to the Race to the Top educational initiatives of President Obama the $4.3 billion which includes pay-for-performance?

D.C. Mayor Fenty lost re-election bid voters had enough of mayoral control of schools and Michelle Rhee

"Mayoral control of schools short-circuits democratic processes by concentrating all decision-making in the hands of one elected official, who need not consult with anyone else. If D.C. had had an independent school board, Rhee would have had to explain her ideas, defend them, and practice the democratic arts of persuasion, conciliation, and consensus-building."

And, "In other contests, the pro-charter lobby took a beating in Democratic primaries in New York City. There, the pro-charter group Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) targeted three African-American state legislators for defeat because they questioned the expansion of charters in their communities."

Diane Ravitch

New octopuses: 16 superintendents from east coast to mid-west sign on to education manifesto

Sixteen superintendents in public schools from the east coast to the mid-west and a southern one signed on to an education manifesto on "How to fix our Schools" in the Washington Post newspaper on Sunday, October 10, 2010.
Needless to say, these are all large urban school districts with poor minority children comprising the student enrollment. Obviously this opinion piece regurgitates similar criticism as before.
Teachers  and unions are the problem in public education today,  and what  parents need are options like charter schools and inexperienced teachers at the expense of the veteran teachers whose higher salaries they don't want to pay, as well as, to "de-professionalize" teacher education, bringing in a cadre of young unemployed college graduates with a BA or BS degree they could control and pay lower wages.
U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan with only a BS in Sociology  insists upon highly qualified teachers and administrators in the classroom when he lacked the qualifications for the positions he held in education from the Superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools to U.S Secretary of Education.
Here are a few excerpts: "How to Fix Our Schools," opinion piece in Washington Post.
"...the transformative changes needed to truly prepare our kids for the 21st-century global economy simply will not happen unless we first shed some of the entrenched practices that have held back our education system, practices that have long favored adults, not children. These practices are wrong, and they have to end now."
"...for too long, we have let teacher hiring and retention be determined by archaic rules involving seniority and academic credentials. The widespread policy of "last in, first out" (the teacher with the least seniority is the first to go when cuts have to be made) makes it harder to hold on to new, enthusiastic educators and ignores the one thing that should matter most: performance."
"...we have to change the rules to professionalize teaching."
"We also must make charter schools a truly viable option. If all of our neighborhood schools were great, we wouldn't be facing this crisis."
"Until we fix our schools, the gap between the haves and the have-nots will only grow wider and the United States will fall further behind the rest of the industrialized world in education, rendering the American dream a distant, elusive memory."
Octopus credit: DeviantArt

Monday, October 11, 2010

COMPLETE DECISION REPRINTED... Chicago Teachers Union upholds teachers' tenure rights... Judge Coar's decision shows how completely CPS has lost (agai

"...the Chicago Board of Education
On October 4, 2010, U.S. District Judge David H. Coar in a strongly worded opinion held that CPS had violated the rights of more than 1,000 tenured Chicago teachers when it fired them from their jobs based on a number of spurious grounds that had been conjured up by the Board during the summer of 2004.

Chicago Teachers Union upholds teachers' tenure rights... Judge Coar's decision shows how completely CPS has lost (again) in federal court

"... a federal judge's decision that the Chicago Board of Education had violated the rights of tenured teachers in firing them during the summer of 2010, using inflated "deficit" claims as the basis for creating a financial emergency and assuming to itself unprecedented powers."

Black Chicago Teachers Win Discrimination Lawsuit Against Arne Duncan's Mass Firings

Chicago's insurgent teachers, some of whom now lead their union, spent years forging deep ties with parent and community groups around the city.

Buffalo Public Schools: Another Consultant to study schools

Buffalo Board of Education and district officials once more commissioned another study of the schools and contracted a consultant.

In January 2010, the Council on Great City School issued, Raising the Academic Achievement of English Language Learners followed by the Organizational Study of the Buffalo Public Schools, MGT Report, July 2010, and most recently a national research specialist on School Attendance, Hedy Change from California provided Attendance Statistics from the Buffalo Schools to figure out why kids are not coming to school.

Gee-whiz, School officials laid-off Attendance Teachers in September 2005, a major reason for the decline in student attendance from 2005 to 2010. District officials simply need to stop balking at reinstating the attendance teachers because they don't want to give the teachers back wages for wrongfully abolishing their positions in 2005.

While forty-four teachers laid-off this year in September the district threatening to lay-off more due to budgetary problems yet there is money to contract outside groups and pay consultants to compile studies that seem to sit on shelves longer than on the desks of policy makers to implement any changes recommended.

There ought to be some accountability here committees appointed to review and implement the changes especially if it saves the district funds, putting money into the classrooms and saving the jobs of teachers in high need areas such as math and science, as well as, reinstating the attendance teachers.

Rochester School Board appointed if Mayor Duffy bill passes senate next year

Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy visited Buffalo Sunday, 10, 2010 to meet with Latino leaders. He talked about his mission to take control of the Rochester City Schools....

Friday, October 8, 2010

Attendance Teachers Elephants in the Room

Attendance teachers laid-off in the Buffalo Schools in 2005 are the elephants in the room in the district.

Dr. James Williams, Superintendent of Buffalo Schools, the School Board, and district officials continue to balk at reinstating the attendance teachers similar to the elephant in the room in this cartoon. "Yeah, they see them...but nobody wants to talk about reinstating them!"

That's why the Attendance Offices in the high schools have been empty since 2005 staff by aides and other school personnel, lacking the powers attendance teachers have under Section 3213 NYS Education Law.

And the other elephant in the room employees classified as "Community Education Leaders" the district started hiring in 2003, now numbering about eight, assuming the former duties, roles and responsibilities of attendance teachers in central office, Family and City Courts when they don't have the certification in attendance or the requirements stipulated by Section 3213.

Attendance teachers had submitted a grievance through the Buffalo Teachers Federation but there has been no follow-up or feedback on the status of it from the district or the union.

Also, funds the City of Buffalo possibly provided for truancy intervention allegedly goes back into the city coffers to pay the salaries of 55 officers working in the schools under a Chief of Police hired after the attendance teacher laid off in 2005 as the Organizational Study of the Buffalo Public Schools Final Report revealed in July 2010.

Yet, there are no attendance teachers to arrest the truants, a power police officers don't have under Section 3213 of State Education law. And the Attendance Intervention Mobile (AIM) team in which police officers and attendance officers paired up to combat truancy and to arrest truants abolished.

The Buffalo Teachers Federation and the district ostensibly have been negotiating reinstating the attendance teacher since 2005. The arbitrator ruled in 2006 the lay-off was wrongful one, the district used it as a wedge to pressure the union to accept the single health carrier without negotiating it. So the district reaped all of the savings realized from the switch for themselves, including the salaries and health care benefits of the laid-off attendance teachers!

Unfortunately, the Appellate Court in Rochester ruled the district violated the contract, but vacated the part reinstating the laid-off teachers. The ruling finally issued in 2008 specifically stated these teachers were not "contractually entitled to job security," therefore, the district didn't have to rehire them.

Yet, the Appellate court ruled in error because the attendance teachers were "contract" teachers most of them tenure with permanent appointments, while some probationary and a few temporary. The court made no distinction between these three category of teachers and summarily vacated the part to reinstate all of them, including those with tenure/contract status who had permanent appointments.

Thus, the ruling is one of the most egregious violations of teacher tenure rights in the nation because tenure provides a teacher with property rights that come under the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution and must be afforded due process before its taken away, something denied to these teachers.

The district continues to negotiate vindictively, having lost the single health carrier case in four rulings--an arbitrator, NYS Supreme Court, Appellate Court and the Court of Appeals from 2006 through 2008. So, attendance teachers continue to be held hostages as the contract is negotiated.

In 2009, two years ago the Buffalo Teachers Federation asked the laid-off attendance teachers to fill out a form the district requested during contract negotiation in order to assess their liability if they reinstated the teachers but there has been no follow-up since the teachers filled out the form.

Therefore, attendance teachers are like the elephant in the room people know they still are waiting reinstatement, but no one seems to do it. While the families and professional careers of these teachers used as scapegoats continue in limbo as their financial situation worsen, causing some to face foreclosure of their homes, and a longer period of unemployment than expected.

Still, the district continues to neglect hiring these teachers for available positions in other areas of certification. Although the lay-off letter attendance teachers received from the district in July 2005 implied they would be hired in other positions in the district if other opportunities became available, they have not lived up to this commitment.

While, the laid-off tenured teachers were certified in other areas, though, the district interviewed many of them for other positions, including for administrative appointments from 2006 through 2010, they did not hire any of these teachers even though the lay-off letter from Human Resources in 2005 specifically stated "if other opportunities became available where they can use us."

Yet, after the State Education Department recommended Stepping Stone Charter School close in June 2006, the district hired the administrators, staff and teachers from this charter school while denying a similar opportunity for its own laid-off staff. The President of the School Board Mr. Ralph Hernandez at a School Board forum on May 2010, captured on a video camera, disclosed this information to the member of the audience how the district hired the staff from Stepping Stone Charter School.

Only one former laid-off attendance teacher, an African-American, hired last year in September 2009 as a school guidance counselor in the district. Why just one?

Sadly, besides the teachers suffering the devastating impact of a long lay-off, hundreds of school children equally denied an opportunity to attend school. And this has been the unfortunate and enduring legacy of the lack of attendance teachers in the schools.

The elephants in the room nobody wants to talk about.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

California consultant to study attendance data in Buffalo schools

District laid-off the attendance teachers in 2005 in a dispute with the Buffalo Teachers Federation over the single health carrier that deprived children of their right to benefit from a free public school education.

How many of them followed the pipeline to drugs, jails, and prisons as the result of missing out on an opportunity to attend school during the period attendance teachers laid-off?

So from a faculty of 18 attendance teachers only three left after the lay-off in 2005 and one retired in May 2010, not replaced yet. Still, district officials continue to balk at reinstating the teachers even though attendance data from the period 2005 to 2010, particularly in the academic high schools (Bennett, Burgard, Lafayette, Riverside, and South Park) classified as "persistently failing" showed a decline.

Yet none of these high schools ever had an attendance rate below the eighties when attendance teachers managed and supervised the attendance offices in the high schools, while now most of them are in the seventies at Riverside as low as 74%.

Now Buffalo school officials have contracted a national researcher Hedy- Nai-Lin Chang from California to peruse the attendance data they provided to her to inform them why students don't come to school.

Chang 's idea is to track and address chronic absence in early elementary school. And in 2008, she worked as a consultant for the Annie E. Casey Foundation researching the causes of children missing extend periods of school from kindergarten through third grade in Baltimore and other cities. She created an Attendance Counts powerpoint and Race to Top paper on Attendance Data and Early Warning Systems in 2009-10.

Over the next several weeks Chang we'll ask questions to a focus group to help her understand why Buffalo students don't come to school in order to provide the information to district officials. And once they are provided the reasons, what is the district going to do, continue to deny reinstating the attendance teachers?

So the question is not why they are not coming to school, but what is the School Board doing about addressing the issue of high absenteeism in the district? While Commissioner's Regulation 104.1 already requires the School Board to read the attendance data annually and to develop intervention strategies if the rates decline.

Meanwhile back at the ranch so to speak the district attendance teachers continue laid-off because the school officials rather not comply with the back pay owed to them when they were wrongfully deprived of their salaries and tenure in 2005.

Buffalo Public Schools had a stellar Attendance Department with thirty-five attendance teachers in 1997. Under the guidance of its Director, Maxine Hare, the teachers provided truancy intervention throughout the district from kindergarten through secondary education though the New York State Compulsory Education Law covers children from ages 6 to 16.
And up to 17 if there are over 6,500 students enrolled in school, providing the the Board of Education the option of increasing the age what happened in the Buffalo Schools in 2004.

Also, New York State Compulsory Education laws are unique in the nation while section 3213 outlines the appointment, compensation, powers and duties of supervisors of attendance, attendance teacher and truant officers. And Section 3213 begins by stating:

"To the end that children shall not suffer through unnecessary failure to attend school for any cause whatsoever, it shall be the duty of each attendance teacher and each attendance supervisor to secure for every child his right to educational opportunities..."

Thus, Section 3213 gives additional powers to attendance teachers to arrest truants, to arraign them in court, as well as, to enter any place of business to verify employment certificates and enter any place the public has access to investigate if there are any students who should be in school.

Also, there use to be an Attendance Intervention Mobile called the AIM team a collaboration between Buffalo Police Officers and Attendance teachers, working together to arrest truant students. Funding for this attendance intervention program cut back in 2003 or 2004.

Meanwhile the Buffalo Police presence increased in the Buffalo Schools a Chief of Police paid through the districts and there are fifty-five police officers in the schools according to the final report about the organization of the Buffalo Schools.

James Kane, Chief of Staff for the Buffalo Schools had commented in 2005 after announced at press conference in the Board Room how many teachers the district planned to lay-off, "we went deep into attendance," he said.

So, for the past five years, I've wanted to know who the "we" had been who axed the attendance teachers because at the time Superintendent James Williams recently selected for the job merely rubber stamped the decision.

Yet, in his almost six-year tenure he never rescinded it though his own motto was, "behave, be on time, be in school," something he seems to have forgotten though it's the reason why attendance teachers supported his candidacy when he was being vetted in April 2005.

In the resubmitted race to the top application for federal funds some of the teachers at one of the persistently failing schools recommended revamping the district Attendance Policy in place since 2000 when the regulations of the Commissioner of Education mandated them. Perhaps, its an area the district should share information with Hedy Chang for any recommendations to renew the policy.

Organizational Study conducted of Buffalo Public Schools insightful merits school board attention

An "Organizational Study of the Buffalo Public Schools" final report dated July 2, 2010 by the MGT of America, Inc. consultants from Tallahassee, Fla. started last year provided insightful recommendations to district officials in areas from District Administration to Financial Management and Transportation Management with a Summary of Potential Savings and Cost.

The concise report, costing over one quarter million, recommended what areas needed to be restructured, providing a new model or reorganization of the school district.

Interestingly, there are staff members in central office engaged in duties and responsibilities not aligned with other departments where the work should be conducted, i.e, the Chief of Staff in the Superintendent's office handling charter schools not suited for this role and function. This seems to be a recurring theme in the report.

Also, the final report gauges the perceptions of central office administrators, building administrators and teachers in the school district, using a climate survey from strongly agree to disagree.

The report includes time tables for initiating and completing the recommendations. The questions is has the district initiated any of the recommendations yet? If so, which ones? And how are they currently reflected in any policy changes?

The report is strong in some areas but weak in others for example, removing bus aides from school buses, not a good idea, overall it was well-written. Unfortunately in the Buffalo Schools these studies collect dust on a shelf while the "same old, same old" way of doing business persist.

That this still happens is reflected in the recent administrative appointments to the school buildings, i.e. some principals at failing elementary schools rewarded with transfers to elite secondary schools, or principals in elementary schools placed in vocational high schools and schools with high enrollment of English Language Learners many of them Spanish-speaking still assigned building administrators unable to communicate in the language students speak among a few things.

Also, the havoc the Superintendent caused this year in not honoring transfers teachers requested as per their contract, causing a grievance, requiring costly legal intervention on both sides funds that could be better used for the instructional.

District legal expenses for a four year period from 2006 to 2010 total
$3, 933, 894. The bulk of it going to outside legal expenses from
$2, 039, 258 according to the report. The district Finance Office reported legals expenses high during the wage freeze period from 2007 to 2009, costing $1, 387, 587.

A committee of stake-holders in the community, the School Board, key district personnel, teachers, union representatives, including the State Education Department should be organized to study the final report and to ensure implementation along the time-tables recommended, because of the cost factor involved---savings to the district, especially at a time teachers laid-off needlessly and deep budget deficits expected as the federal stimulus funds dry up amid a financial crisis in New York State.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Teacher wins $25,000 Milken Award

Robert Baxter, a science teacher at Westminster Community Charter School gets a $25,ooo check for excellence in the classroom and plans to use it to open up a school of Cosmetology in the African-American community. State education commissioner attended the assembly in the school gym for the event.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Attendance a crisis in the five persistently failing Buffalo high schools

Deputy Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Folasade Oladele agreed to include three attendance teachers in the $42 million federal grant application to the New York State Education Department when talks with union officials in the Buffalo Teachers federation reached an impasse last Friday.

Unable to reach Superintendent James A. Williams, she agreed to add the three attendance teachers to cover five of the designated "persistently failing" district high schools. How did Dr. Oladele pull the number three out from the hat when the total enrollment of (Bennett, Burgard, Lafayette, Riverside and South Park) is 3, 785?

According to Dr. Oladele these schools would share the three attendance teachers each averaging about 1,262 students. Still a large case-load, considering all five high schools average attendance rate is 78% with the lowest at Riverside 74%.

And the Joint Intervention team made up of district officials and NYS State Education Department staff found attendance a problem in these high schools, as well as, cited on the list teachers in these "persistently" failing high schools submitted as one of the resources they wanted the district to reinstate back in their schools.

There is so much verbiage about replacing administrators in the buildings yet hardly anything is mentioned about those at the top responsible for the ones in the buildings.

Yet, the ex-basketball player U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan with only a bachelor's degree in sociology under his belt no formal credentials in education except he shoots a better basketball than his boss President Barack Obama blames teachers for students in failing urban schools targets them and administrators for elimination. Yet he doesn't have the qualifications to be U.S. Secretary of Education.

Buffalo school district officials resubmit application for federal funds

Buffalo News reporter Mary Pasciak reported Buffalo school district officials finally resubmitted its application for federal funds to Albany by the 4 p.m. deadline via e-mail yesterday. The problem now is district officials failed to share the resubmitted application with the president of the School Board while collaboration is expected and essential to the process.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Three attendance teachers added to the district revised application

It's unconscionable to think the Buffalo Public Schools officials revising the application to qualify for $42 million in federal funds failed to include any attendance teachers, the Buffalo News reported on Sunday.

The union President Phil Rumore would not sign off until they were included. "Then, deputy superintendent Folasade Oladele could not reach (Superintendent) Williams by phone, but she agreed in a phone call with Rumore to include in the grant application three attendance teachers, who will be shared by the five high schools."

Attendance at these persistently classified failing schools Bennett, Lafayette, Riverside, South Park, and Burgard High Schools declined in the five year period from 2005 to 2010, when the district eliminated almost the entire cadre of attendance teachers/truant officers.

If student are not attending school which is why these schools are persistently failing in the first place whatever additional sources of funding they receive defeats the purpose one would think.

There are only two attendance teachers/truant officers in the Buffalo Public Schools today responsible for 34,000 students. That is 17,000 students per teacher!

Aside from the three attendance teachers included in the grant application, the district needs to immediately replace the one who retired in May 2010.

And the district would have to canvass first from the list of the attendance teachers laid-off in 2005, hiring them at the salaries they had before the lay-off, including the one step teachers received two years ago what it is the district would rather not do.

The other issue is that the district wrongfully laid-off the attendance teachers/truant officers in August 2005. Fifteen of these teachers most of them tenured/contract ones with permanent appointments got pink slips because the district used them as a wedge to pressure the Buffalo Teachers Federation to switch from multiple carriers health insurance to a single carrier plan without negotiating it.

So what did they do, they laid off the teachers, then hauled them into a meeting in the Board room in City Hall to get them to pressure the union to accept the single carrier health plan in order to get reinstated. That happened five years ago. It never happened so the teachers continued laid-off.

After the arbitrator ruled the teachers should be reinstated in 2006, the district took the case to NYS Supreme court who ruled in favor of the union. Then, they took the case to the Appellate Court in Rochester that continue to rule in favor of the union but vacated reinstating the attendance teachers.

And the Court of Appeals in Albany sided with the Appellate that the district violated the teachers contract when it imposed the single health carrier insurance, reaping the savings over a five year period, but continue to vacate reinstating the laid-off teachers most of them the attendance teachers.

In 2008, the district requested the union canvass the teachers laid-off in order to assess the salaries they had to pay back to the teachers if reinstated as the arbitrator had originally ruled in 2006. After the teachers submitted the requested information on the form, they have not heard from either the district or the Buffalo Teachers Federation.

So, teachers with a permanent appointment with tenure/contract status with the district were laid-off without a cause or reason consistent with NYS Education Laws denied 14th amendment due process since tenure essentially provides teachers property rights.

Hence, there was no bonafide economic reason for the laying off these teachers in the first place while the district reaped the savings realized through the single health carrier it imposed on the teachers without having negotiated it, as well as, the salaries of these teachers laid off.

And in the five year period from September 2005 to September 2010, continuing into 2011, many of the teachers were deprived of their health care benefits thrusted needlessly into the ranks of the unemployed.

There has never been a more egregious violation of tenure rights of teachers than what happened to the attendance teachers when wrongfully laid-off in the Buffalo Public Schools. And five years later these tenured teachers with permanent appointments continue to wait for reinstatement. This is truly a case of "justice delayed is justice denied!"

Diane Ravitch on the slandering of American public education

American educator Diane Ravitch discusses the privatization of public education, merit pay, and teacher evaluation. I like Dr. Ravitch but as she herself admits in this video she was part of the ideologues attacking public education when she worked for the conservative think tanks she cites here like the Hoover Institute. And she is correct to say these are terrible times because of the attacks on public education and teachers. We are ignoring the most dramatic increases in poverty ever seen in this country in many years. Those profiting from the privatization of public education use it as an excuse to divert the public away from thinking about the increases in poverty and racial isolation so many urban school children live in. Instead the current debate in public education is to blame the teachers.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reinstate Attendance Teachers top of Buffalo teachers list at persistently failing high schools

"Buffalo teachers say it would make sense to reinstate all those attendance teachers who were let go so early in Williams' tenure."

The teachers composed a list to help the district compete for Race to the Top funds the 2nd time around. While it is a long list, the teachers in the high schools designated as persistently failing asked for the re-reinstatement of Attendance teachers, including attendance support staff, attendance incentive programs, revamped Attendance Policy, and research based data driven attendance models at Lafayette, Bennett, Riverside and South Park High Schools.

In July 2005, the district sent lay-off letters to Attendance Teachers and in August 2005, the Board of Education voted to eliminate them all except for three. Recently one of these teachers retired and the District didn't replace him. So now there are only two Attendance Teachers serving 34,000 students in the Buffalo Public School system while the district high school attendance rates dropped drastically from 2005 to 2010.

Superintendent Williams to present the revised plan to the Buffalo Board of Education in a Special meeting on Friday, but most of them including the superintendent flying out to Baltimore to attend the Council of Urban Board of Education Conference.

Also, math and science teachers laid-off in September?

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