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

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hernandez resolution passed 6-member group to review the EPO proposals

The process of selecting an educational partnership organization (EPO) for the Restart models in the persistently lowest-achieving Buffalo Schools was the focus of a special Board of Education committee meeting Thursday night in the board room at City Hall.  The Buffalo News education blogger, Mary Pasciak posted it live from the Board Room in City Hall.
The resolution Board  President Ralph Hernandez introduced  passed by a vote of  5 - 2,  establishing a 6-member stakeholders  group  composed of representatives from the Buffalo Board of Education, Common Council, District Parent Coordinating Committee, Buffalo Teachers Federation and Buffalo Council of School Administrators to review the EPO proposals outside groups submitted to district officials on May 31.
 Board Member at-large, Florence Johnson told Mr. Hernandez  she needed more "clarity" on the issue before voting when  he responded she can vote "no." Johnson shot back, "close your mouth!"
Park District board member Louis J. Petrucci made some insightful comments about the size of the group perhaps too small whether it's inclusive of all parties both teachers and administrators including the reps from the site base management teams in the persistently low achieving schools.
John Licata board member at-large said the State Education Department (SED) doesn't know what they're doing after he sat in on a meeting for half an hour what he called ridiculous.
Yet the most interesting exchange at the meeting  happened between Licata and Superintendent James A. Williams when Licata asked to see the proposals Williams responded they were under lock and key in the Purchasing. Why, Licata asked?
Hernandez added, when the board made the determination to use the EPO model the responsibility fell on the board not the superintendent.  Williams demurely responded, "you can have them tomorrow. I don't want to be involved," but added "you can answer the state's questions if you know how."
Williams announced his retirement on Wednesday amid an unfavorable rating on his annual evaluation.
So far twelve outside groups submitted proposals that have been kept under lock and key until the board provides district officials directives what to do with them as per Williams.
Meanwhile, Tuesday, June 7 is the deadline date for district officials to inform  SED what process they are using to select the proposals for the Restart schools though  the board doesn't appoint the 6-member review panel until   June 8.
Board member Petrucci wanted to make sure  the advisory panel didn't "supplant the board's responsibilities." Hernandez responded he envisioned the committee reaching "out to all stakeholders."  The SED set a deadline date of July 31 to coincide with  the federal  government guidelines for funding the proposals. And the board may have to heed the concerns of Rosalyn Taylor,  East District,  a former assistant superintendent of the Buffalo Schools until she retired last year.  With only eight weeks left to the July 31 deadline, Taylor said,
The only thing I worry about is the timeline. When does this process have to be completed? Do we have enough time to establish a committee, have the committee go out and visit? I'm all for input from all the stakeholders.
Williams advised the board to use a rubric to rate the EPO's and he  recommended they use  Learning Points Associates as the process  for selecting a Restart model for each of the seven persistently low achieving schools slated to be turnaround this summer.  Learning Points Associates previously worked on a curriculum audit for the district and SED advised  the group might be involved again. And a district official commented:
"According to the state, they told us the July 31 deadline was a federal deadline and funds would not flow if they were not approved prior to that."

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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