Posted in Buffalo, NY, Commentary, Current events

What kind of day has it been?

Yeah, I borrowed the title from two separate Aaron Sorkin tv shows, but I hope that might make me a better writer for the moment, as these times are confusing and a clear head is needed.

I mean, I agree with Phil Rumore. I never thought that would happen as I experienced the nuances of having kids go through the Buffalo Public Schools, especially in the wake of the atrocity of “No Child Left Behind.” It became clear to me that the world is increasingly being run with a frugal bean counter mentality and to say that is wrong is a tremendous understatement. When I agree with Mr. Rumore at long last is the current teacher evaluation bill. You can’t grade teachers on kids who aren’t there. If a student isn’t in class, it astonishes me, that the state wants to punish the teacher involved. This type of logic feels like a if no x then no y sort of problem solving, like somebody wants to button up a spreadsheet, not help the process.

As the kids have gone throught the system, their mother and I have gone through great pains to make sure we were known and I think we would have been no different in a suburban district either. You ask folks some of the suburbs what they think of Buffalo schools and I’m sure you’d get some updated descriptions of “Blackboard Jungle.” The fact of the matter is that there is good stuff happening and legislation like this will make those instances rarer, make good teachers flee for other gigs and solve nothing. So, while it would be good to get Mr. Rumore and Dr. Dixon into a room to keep on talking. He has a legitimate point on this one. One friend who is a teacher did her due diligence and scheduled conferences and none of the parents for the 22 kids showed.

Everybody plays a role and you can only watch in amazement as new rules snuff out the personalities of successful schools as everybody attempts to touch metrics that are measurements of not a whole lot. I always worry when somebody invokes the cliche of “doing it for the children.” And it is sad that the kids are going to continue to get screwed with yet another cut in funding. The district isn’t perfect, lord knows, but this isn’t going to improve anything.

If a bad teacher is found, lose em, if a bad principal is found lose him, but grading a building on so many differently variables, only some of which can be controlled is so nonsensical…..and seems like something New York state would do.

Remember the genuine Magnet School years, those were good times.

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