Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Students Sent Outside District for Better Education

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. says he is taking the unprecedented step of forcing Buffalo to send students from two high schools to take classes outside of the district.
“Buffalo may simply be incapable of running a quality program in these buildings,” he said Thursday, referring toLafayette and East high schools, where only roughly 1 in 4 students graduate. “Frankly, so far, they have not demonstrated any capacity to do so.”

The state denied Lafayette and East millions in federal school-improvement money and directed the district to pay to have some students educated by Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services, a regional education service provider that until now has served only suburban districts.
When asked why the state is focusing on Buffalo schools when other districts across the state also have schools with poor academic performance, King said Buffalo has had a long history of making poor excuses for problems that other districts share.

He was particularly outraged by some prior comments by members of the Board of Education indicating that King has been “picking on” Buffalo Public Schools when other districts also are struggling or doing worse. That kind of justification for poor performance is unacceptable, he said.

“That’s literally insane,” said the normally diplomatic and mild-mannered commissioner. “How can anyone make that argument seriously? That’s preposterous.”

King called what’s happening at some Buffalo high schools a “crisis” and “disaster.”

“Three-quarters of the kids don’t graduate?” he said in a frustrated litany. “That’s breathtaking. Breathtaking.”

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