Mayor Byron W. Brown convened an education summit meeting on Friday at the M&T Center with a motley crew of nineteen community stakeholders, coalescing to talk about the persistently lowest-achieving (PLA) Buffalo Public Schools. Noel Tichy, a professor of management and organization at the University of Michigan served as the facilitator.
Why the summit closed to the local media was surprising since the agenda focused on the low-performing Buffalo Public Schools the turnaround plans the district recently submitted for review to the state Education Department.
And seven of the PLA schools are under the restart model requiring an educational partnership organization. This plan generated twelve proposals to be reviewed by an advisory group of stakeholders composed of district officials, board members, parent representatives, and two unions.
What's at stake here is $54 million in federal Race to the Top funds for the nine turnaround schools in the district should the state Education Department approve the plans district officials submitted in May.
Meanwhile the Buffalo Board of Education voted to hire a consultant Learning Points Associates to assist them in evaluating the proposals 12 outside groups submitted to act as the educational partnership organizations for the seven PLA schools.
There is a likelihood these seven schools at some point may change course to become charter schools so selecting the best EPO proposals critical at this juncture in the process.
Interestingly, the Mayor plans to convene these stakeholders again in early July after the Board of Education with the help of the advisory group it assembled sifted through and selected seven of the 12 EPO proposals submitted to operate and manage the PLA schools. And the EPO's will be asked to present their proposals to the stakeholders at the 2nd summit scheduled for July. Hopefully, the media will be allowed into the summit to share what is happening before the community complains about the secrecy of an event that should be in the public domain.