The Hypocrisy of the Buffalo Board of Education “We happen to know ﬁrsthand what it takes to be a good superintendent.”. Those are the words of Buffalo Board of Education Chairwoman Ruth Kapsiak who, with other board members, fails to recognize that they do not know what it takes and that is why they and the system are failures. Adults hold themselves accountable for their failures. Why would we allow such out of touch and impotent people to sit on a board with such vital responsibilities to the community?
Why is our community so accepting of failure? Buffalo’s dysfunctional education system has been the essence of every social ill our community has endured. We suffer blight, unemployment, depressed economic development, the ﬂight of the working class to the suburbs, gang warfare and rampant crime because for decades the children of the community have been condemned to much less than fulﬁlling lives when they were forced, without alternatives, into the dysfunctional City school system. Last year only 26% of the students passed the state proﬁciency test in English and 31% passed the Math test, less than half the passing percentages of New York City students. 20% of black males graduated last year.
Overall, less than half graduated (when the numbers are not skewed by the mindless and irresponsible executive staff.) The Board nevertheless spent $$881,000,000 divided by 33,482 students equals $26,300/student, the highest in any urban public school system in the nation. Now how is it that Ruth and her Board know best? Why is everything done in secret in executive session? Why the total lack of transparency? The people are entitled to know exactly what process took place including the terms of the contract well before a vote is taken by the board.
Ms. Kapsiak argues that Pam Brown was the best of 32 applicants. That is exactly the problem. Instead of instructing the search agency to ﬁnd the “best” person for the job–one who actually has experience turning around a similar dysfunctional system of very poor students, regardless of the paycheck, the board followed the same faulty recruitment process that brought us prior failures, Harris and Williams. Our children are our most valuable asset. Why wouldn’t we pay the top dollar to a specialist to clean up the mess once and for all?
When we are sick do we not want the best doctor? When our schools are failing so badly we want the best superintendent. We know it’s not an easy job. One must supervise a district of 33,482 kids with a narcissistic teachers union president, an incapable school board and a political State Education Department that looks the other way because the teachers’ union lobby wants an easy and weak mark in the superintendent position.
Florence Johnson stated unequivocally to the press that she and her majority of 4 other black women on the board, 3 of whom are appointed, believe that black children should only be taught in a district run by a black superintendent. Why are people with that mentality serving on our Board of Education? That statement is racist. What the Buffalo board does affects every person in Western New York. Without transparency how do the people know that the process to select Pam Brown was not manipulated by people with such a warped mental state? The past and present actions of our inept board have destroyed our community and has had a lifetime crippling effect on the lives of thousands of individuals of every color and creed in our community.
Come on Western New York. Speak up. You can change our future. Join us in our demand that the board not vote on the appointment of Pam Brown but instead resign to allow the Board of Regents to appoint a Special Master to take over and correct the malaise that we call a school system.
The Buffalo News, if it prints this at all, will edit this to “blah, blah blah.” The rest of the press will pick and choose their sound bites. For that reason we encourage you to forward this to all of your friends and relatives.