Update from Buffalo School Public Relations:
Statement from Dr. James Williams:
"I reiterate my appreciation for the time, energy and diversity of talent that I saw on display last night at the District Parent Coordinating Council meeting.
There is a groundswell of passion for the Buffalo public schools to a level I haven’t experienced in the six years I’ve been here, and frankly, I welcome it.
All of us--the district, teachers, principals and parents--need to work together for the benefit of our children. Let’s not forget why we’re here.
The idea of a boycott on May 16th is a bad one. It is misguided. Our attendance is a problem to begin with and one of the key indicators as to why so many of our children are underachieving. Parents are powerful; and the best thing they can do is to send their children to school every day.
Keeping children out of school is not a solution to anything, and I urge parents to ignore the call for a boycott. Taking a step backward is no way to go forward. Instead of putting energy into keeping our kids out of school, that energy should be directed to academics and achievement."
BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - It was an unprecedented meeting between parents, state and local lawmakers and school board officials.
On the table was the possible takeover of the Buffalo public schools by the State of New York or even a boycott of the schools, where parents would keep their children out of school for a day.
"We have not designed a system that focuses on the children. We have not done that yet, so we want for the first time in history for all the stakeholders to come together to design a system that works for children," said Sam Radford, Vice President of the District Parent Coordinating Council.
Some of the possible solutions thrown around to help fix the school system include:
- allowing a public vote on the school board budget, which is the case in most districts.
- longer school days and a longer school year.
- creating community schools to allow parents and children to live closer and be more involved.
- changing union contract to allow for qualified applicants to coach, rather than having to give those jobs to senior teachers.
- keeping the schools open longer.
- enacting residency laws.
- creating more trade and charter schools.
While all agreed there is no one solution to the many issues, parents and administrators agreed that it can start at home with the parents. Parents need to take an interest in their child's education and ensure they are getting to school.
In the end, the parents took a page from the teacher's union playbook, and voted to keep their children from school on May 16th, which is a half day, and then to hold a rally and prayer service at City Hall that afternoon.
It's a move that has not received unilateral support among parents.
In the meantime, Mayor Brown said he will try an organize a meeting with all parties involved to try and hammer out real solutions to the problems with Buffalo's public schools.