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, November 2, 2011

Parent groups draws a crowd to hear about the reform plans in Buffalo schools

Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon confidently took  the podium  to address 30 parent facilitators and the 100 people who attended the Monday night meeting of the District Parent Coordinating Council held at the Makowski School #99 on Jefferson Avenue on the East Side of Buffalo.
She told the group that she had just finished meeting with the principals of the persistently low achieving schools had challenged them to come up with their own turnaround plans, providing these schools additional resources such as teachers, administrators and community supports.
The meeting was a very informative one as well as tempestuous after Phil Rumore, President of the Buffalo Teachers Federation and Samuel Radford vice-president of the DPCC  engaged in a heated confrontation about the topic of the involuntary transfers of teachers at the PLA schools  the turnaround federal Race to the Top model required instead of the educational partnership organization (EPO) favored by BTF. Then from the back of the room  steps attorney Steven H. Polowitz, a co-founder of Tapestry Charter School to challenge what Mr. Rumore had said about  how charter schools are a drain on public schools.
Interestingly, Dixon told the audience why the New York State Education Department didn't fund the school reform plans the district sent to them back in May.  She responded the state rejected the plans because "...there was a sense that Buffalo was not serious about turning around the academic achievement in those schools."
Yet, Rumore provided his version of why the state rejected the reform plans saying they didn't think the district was prepared or in a position to oversee the EPO model.
The district submitted three reform plans based on the EPO model and four others were not submitted that troubled  Radford from the DPCC who had expected at least a turnaround one sent to the state. He  blamed Rumore, causing the angry discourse between the two leaders. Ironically, the meeting was suppose to be an "initial conversation to agree" to benefit the parent and students that's highly unlikely after what happened at the meeting last night.
Interim Superintendent Dixon's message to the parents  get involved! She told them to work through the DPCC to have their voices heard. Do something for our kids...make this happen...your recommendation has to reflect what you think is best for the children."
A committee will pick the best one similar to last year.  It goes before the board in December then back to the community before submitted to the state.
Ralph Hernandez, West District Rep discussed the Free lunch program for all students in the district.  A school official discussed the Contract for Excellence---reduce class sizes, LEP program, Alternative Ed and Counseling all found on the district website.
There was talk about  Buffalo State College involved in opening up a center on Grant Street for English Language Learners. Many at the meeting including the parent facilitator at Lafayette High School concerned about what's going to happen to the school as Super Dixon reiterated the state commissioner comments to close it if the plan submitted is not an adequate one.
Kudos to the chef who provided the meal at the DPCC Tuesday night.

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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