A Compelling Case to Support the Boycott of the Buffalo Public School System
By Mike Madigan – TEANewYork.com
Before you pass judgment regarding whether to support the proposed May 16 boycott of the Buffalo Public Schools (BPSS), by not sending your child to school that day, first understand what these parents are faced with. The BPSS has an approximate 50% graduation rate. No, shockingly this is not the problem these parents are faced with. The real problem is that 13 schools are rated as PLA. PLA is a rating that is given to schools that have persistently breached the public trust and have completely failed to educate the students that attend them. These 13 schools do not have a 50% graduation rate. The 13 PLA schools are factored in with the other 43 BPSS schools, such as City Honors, to give the BPSS the 50% graduation rate.
The problem many parents, who are financially limited, are faced with is that they must send their child to a PLA school where their child will never be properly educated. Whether these parents send their child to school or not they are faced with the stark reality that their child is set up to fail. This problem is not a recent issue with these schools. These schools are multi-generational failures. Year after year these parents have been told something is being done to address this failure, and they have been given lists of what will be done. Yet the failure persists with no consequence to those accountable for this failure.
On Tuesday May 3rd I attended the meeting where Samuel Radford III – District Parent Coordinating Council VP (Meeting Facilitator) called for the vote on whether to boycott on May 16th, following presentations on the PLA problem by the BPSS Superintendent Williams, local leaders and an auditorium filled with more than 500 Buffalo parents. The turning point at this meeting for me was when BPSS Superintendent Williams suggested the parents are expecting too much and they should settle for children that do not always graduate but rather the standard should be that they are able to pass a GED test. Williams actually proposed at the meeting to change the standard from expecting their child to graduate to minimally expecting their children be able to pass a GED test. Williams is the one primarily accountable for setting the education standard and developing the plan to implement the plan to address the PLA crises. These parents children are currently trapped in a school system that is led by a person that proposes setting low expectations and not expecting the system to succeed but rather expecting it to fail.
Whether you are located in the BPSS or outside of this area we should all consider providing support to these parents and the DPCC’s bold move to boycott. The one day boycott is the first step in sending the message that without the children there is no BPSS and that these parents do have power, and that they should expect real corrective and preventive action. The time for talk and playing the blame game is over. The parents are vital in the process of reviewing and approving the plan that is proposed and acted on.
A rally will be held in front of Buffalo City Hall at noon on May 16th – be there!