Monday, January 4, 2016

A Buffalo Story on Silencing and Intimidation

by Eve Shippens, Buffalo/NY BAT



East High School was one of the 4 Buffalo schools deemed "out of time" by the NY State Dept of Education in 2014/2015 for failing to make AYP within the "turn-around" time frame. However, its educational partner pulled out (John Hopkins University) after spending the School Improvement Grant (SIG) monies, and their current data (2014 & 2015) did show them making AYP. The principal fought to keep it open because he could prove increasing graduation rates. (Last year the 4 "out of time" schools - mine included - submitted redesign plans that were rejected 2/13/15 due to their expense.) After these plans were rejected, the school began being phased out (no freshmen class). A phase in plan has not been accepted for the building.

East High School is a fully renovated building and has the best science labs in the district. It sits a block from MLK park (an Olmsted park), the science museum, the expressway, and it's within walking distance of the expanding medical corridor (thanks University of Buffalo 2020 Plan & Cuomo's Buffalo Billion). East sits in a poor black neighborhood that has been starved of HUD funding for poor homeowners, so it has become dilapidated. However, tons of monies have been spend by the city and state to improve its infrastructure (gas, electric, water, sewer, sidewalks, cable, streets). The neighborhood is poised and ready to be flipped!

We have a new superintendent in Buffalo - Kriner Cash - hand picked by State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. Cash is the receiver on our 25 (out of 57) receivership schools. About a month ago, I ran into the principal of East outside a Board of Ed. meeting. He was very excited because Cash wanted to look at their redesign plan and ask commissioner Elia to waive the requirement that the principal be transferred.

A few days later, the principal, 2 guidance counselors, and a special education teacher were removed and put on administrative leave indefinitely while the district and state investigate the impossible improvement!

I just talked to an East High person today. Without these key people in the lead, the SIG grant will not be implemented, so the district plans to send the $2M back to the state. East is a 1 year receivership school, so if it doesn't meet "demonstrable progress" it will be under independent receivership. This allows for a charter to take over.

Apparently, there is a charter operator from Rochester who has already been chosen to come in!

Lafayette High School's ("out of time" school) principal failed to get tenure.

Riverside High School's ("out of time" school) entire social studies department (5 teachers) is on administrative leave over the exam grading this past June. The assistant principal made multiple mistakes in scheduling and testing protocol, then called the teachers insubordinate to cover for this. One of the social studies teachers is also out-spoken on student attendance issues, school violence, and suspensions, and how that should not be held against teachers for APPR. This costs the district $25K every 2 weeks!

Tell Superintendent Cash and the Buffalo Board of Education on 1/13/16 that this is not right! Call to get on the speaker list 716-816-3570.

‪#‎PaperclipRevolution‬ ‪#‎StayTogether‬

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