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 27, 2011

Arbitrator ruled in favor of Buffalo Teachers after superintendent denied transfers last year

Arbitrator issued ruling in favor of the Buffalo Teachers Federation on Wednesday,  July 27, that Superintendent James Williams violated the contract when he unilaterally decided last August to deny all request for voluntary transfers teachers in the Buffalo Public Schools submitted before March 23, 2010 as per the collective bargaining agreement.
District must now offer the positions these teachers would have filled had their requests been granted and "be made whole for any financial loses as a  result of this decision," the arbitrator ruled.
It is unlikely district officials  challenge the decision in court particularly after the arbitrator stated
" three issues surface as a result of this unfortunate decision: inadequate planning on the part of the District, lack of informed fiscal prioritizing and a lack of understanding the contractual significance of "past practice."
So 100 applications out of 590 teachers voluntary transfers  request last March have to be  honored now, while the new teachers district officials appointed to  fill the new vacancies last year instead of through the transfer process would have to be reasigned. A Buffalo News story appeared today on this ruling.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Courthouse News Service

Courthouse News Service

Black Student Can't Be Valedictorian
PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AR) - "A high school southeast of Little Rock would not let a black student be valedictorian though she had the highest grade-point average, and wouldn't let her mom speak to the school board about it until graduation had passed, the graduate claims in Federal Court."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Transfers and appointments of buffalo schools administrators: What's going on behind closed doors?

The Buffalo Board of Education  met for the last scheduled meeting Wednesday evening.  Issues ranged from attendance in the summer Extended Learning Opportunity Program  (ELOP), attendance teachers, neighborhood schools to a lengthy presentation from the District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC) about their funding source, alleging it should come from the general funds not the grants.  They asked why the board switched from using the turnaround model at the persistently lowest-achieving (PLA) schools to the educational partnership organization (EPO) one.  
Yet, the executive sessions  primarily about the appointment and transfers of administrators in the Buffalo Public Schools were done behind closed doors.
Carl Paladino present at the meeting challenged the policy saying to Board members, "You're kicking me out for executive session, and I gave you the law on it. You're breaking the law."
During the Board meeting last August the Board approved transfers but this year it was a hush-hush process about the administrative shifting  in the district.
School Board President Lou Petrucci said it was the prerogative of Superintendent James Williams this year, according to Buffalo News blogger Mary Pasciak. The Board only approves and votes on any new appointments but has little influence on these transfers though the schools where these administrators appointed to either meet district benchmarks or fall further behind.
Administrators have complained themselves about the gestapo like tactics and maneuvers used in the appointment and transfer proces. That's why a school board member was quoted in the Buffalo News today calling these decisions as: 
"...a terrible Buffalo Public Schools practice for decades and a core reason why we are in our present state” when he saw the name of a principal on the list transferred to another school.
And it's unclear whether the Board voted on the subject of transfer of administrators at the Wednesday meeting, and Buffalo News blogger Mary Pasciak on the live chat admitted she did not have all the information about the transfers in her packets though the board went into executive session twice when a board member had a question about a transfer. After the executive session he said:
"I want to be on record that I am in opposition to the appointment of the new principal at Lydia T. Wright."
Yet, if these transfers are a terrible practice and it is a "core reason why we are in our present state" as one school board member alleged then why continue it?  And since the State Board of Regents introduced a new principal and teacher effectiveness evaluation system shouldn't the district have a new process in place consistent with these changes at the state level?
Another Board member had commented sometime ago that the district is paying high salaries to many people who don't know what they are doing.
"I don't know how we're going to turn the district around if we don't have the right people in the right places," said board member Mary Ruth Kapsiak, herself a retired district administrator. "I just feel we're paying an awful lot of money for people not to know what they're doing."
Unless something changes as one School Board member commented, "it's a terrible Buffalo Public Schools practice for decades and the core reason why  we are in our present state."

Purple Man: Credit 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quote of the Day: "...if children are not in school we cannot improve their academic achievement."

When School Board President  Louis Petrucci asked central office officials at Wednesday's evening School Board meeting:

"What are you guys doing to improve schools that have less than anticipated attendance?
Superintendent James Williams responded:
..."We strongly believe if children are not in school we cannot improve their academic achievement."  

Mary Pasciak, School Zone blog, Buffalo News, 7/20/11
If he had made the connection six years ago
instead of  abolishing  the jobs of attendance officers would the district be in the crises it is in today? And still, Williams gets to retire next year with a package deal that includes NYS to pay 70% into his life-time health care benefits.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

First Buffalo school system established in a tavern

Buffalo Board of Education should reconsider scheduling their  monthly meetings at one of the local taverns consume a few jugs of whisky to mitigate the dysfunctional reputation they have acquired lately.
It's how town folks did business yesteryear when the first Buffalo school system was established in a meeting at a tavern on March 30, 1807.  Shortly following the building of the first school house about 2  1/2 gallons of whisky credited to a storekeeper Joshue Gillett after the meeting at Joseph Landon tavern, according to the Buffalonian.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

Education reform legislative agenda of congressman, believe it or not...

It's hard to imagine a member of Congress Jack Kimble pushing through an educational legislative agenda in his role as honorary member of Last Stand.  Here is one and go to the link to read the others.
"We believe that white children from wealthy backgrounds make the best teachers for urban schools regardless of whether or not they have teaching credentials.  For that reason, we favor increasing support for programs like Teach For America, who have proved excellent suppliers of uncertified wealthy kids."
 And Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Sen. Mark Grisanti and Buffalo ReformEd, attempting to push the parent trigger bill through Albany at the end of the legislative session in June applicable only to  Buffalo schools would like this one:
"We support the parent trigger, which allows parents to get rid of lazy public servants in favor of a friendly corporation run charter school."
What about this one:
"Any teacher who received a complaint from either a parent or student will be returned to probationary status and in the case of a second complaint the teacher will be immediately dismissed."
 Andrew Cuomo couldn't agree more with this one:
"We favor making the Bush tax cuts permanent and ending the death tax so that the wealthy will have more money to spend supporting school reform." 
Read the others on the website post let me know what you think...

We support the parent trigger, which allows parents to get rid of lazy public servants in favor of a friendly corporation run charter school.

Education reformer develops computer game punishes students with electric shock of 100 volts for picking wrong answers!

the Testinator 5000
Education reformer Myron Miner latest gaget to enhance the learning experience of  public school children.
 "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Testinator 5000.   This piece of state of the art technology will help to usher in a golden age of technology by using advanced computer instruction originally developed by NASA to prepare our students for even the most difficult of standardized testing. "
 "For only $250 plus $90 for each 1001 question booklet, the students answer questions, but what makes it interesting is if they get the answer correct, they are rewarded with a green light and a pleasing bell sound.   If the student picks the wrong answer they are punished with a red light, a harsh sounding buzzer, and a minor electric shock of about 100 volts.  By contrast a police taser is 50,000 volts." 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lou Petrucci new school board president

Louis J. Petrucci
Buffalo School Board President
He's the chief building inspector for the City of Buffalo, but now the former City Honors High School graduate  Louis J. Petrucci is the new Buffalo Board of Education President.  He vied for the post last year but beat by out going president Ralph Hernandez who was at the helm for two years.
According to Buffalo News,
"Chief among his concerns for the district: Student attendance. More than half of Buffalo’s high school students miss nearly a month or more of school, a recent study found."
Petrucci is a no nonsense man, a good listener, and wants to improve tests scores, school attendance,  parent involvement in the schools, and plans to provide the board a list of goals for the upcoming school year with "...  a clearly defined means of measuring success."
Besides participating in many youth related activities and organizations in his community, Petrucci is "a member of the Local 2651 AFSCME Executive Board and Negotiating committee. He formerly served on the executive board of Council 35 and the Buffalo Chapter of the AFL-CIO," an experience he'll need to nudge retiring Superintendent James A. Williams in negotiating expeditiously the contract of Buffalo teachers that expired five years ago.
Also, he is Board President of Dog Ears Book Store in South Buffalo. And as a member of the Erie County Democratic Party Executive Committee, Petrucci brings a wealth of political experience to the board.
Photo Credit: BPS

Hey dude, be kool go to summer school

After many urban schools in the nation abolished social promotion many over-age students in the 7th and 8th grade never made it to high school dropped-out.  As a result of this, the  drop out rate among this population   has become the new crisis in urban school around the nation.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Buffalo Board of Education meeting today to vote on EPO proposals for low performing schools

Buffalo Board of Education  votes today on the  educational partnership organizations plans to turnaround failing schools. Although 12 groups submitted proposals  it's considering only three.
The panel consisting of community stakeholders and union officials sent to the board with reservations the proposals for Drew Science Magnet #59, Bilingual Center #33 and Lafayette High School.
Interestingly all of the EPO proposals the advisory panel selected came from local groups such as First Hand Learning. Samuel Alessi a former assistant superintendent of curriculum in the BPS serves on the board and the group has been involved in curriculum projects with the district in the past, as well as, on a large curriculum project in  a Sonoma County  school district in California,  involving Hispanic children and science. The others include the Buffalo Museum of Science and Buffalo State College whose statements  on the proposal  irked a few members of the panel and the district.
What makes this all interesting is that  New York is using educational partnerships organizations as models to collaborate with outside groups to operate failing schools classified as persistently lowest performing ones.
 So this EPO initiative in Buffalo Schools possibly is setting a model for other cities to follow in the state and the nation.

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