President Obama's visit may be enough to temporarily shift Buffalo's attention away from the fairly public brawl between Buffalo schools Superintendent Pamela Brown, the school board, the teachers union, and State Education Commissioner John King.
King hasrejected several attempts that the district has made at coming up with turnaround plans for two of Buffalo's worst performing schools. And King''s been quite public about his anger, most of which is triggered at the notion that Buffalo school officials are being treated unfairly, according to an opinion piece
in the Buffalo News.
King has summoned Buffalo school officials to Albany to co-draft the plans that they can't seem to develop on their own.
In a strange turn of events, King has apparently publicly praised Rochester schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas for being frank with parents and community leaders about the crisis in this city's schools, and the urgent need to get serious about improvements.
That has ruffled the feathers of many school officials in Buffalo. Teachers union president Philip Runmore who says in another BN opinion piece
that Buffalo's problems with poverty and language barriers are worse than Rochester's. And their test scores are better than ours. So why, he asks, are they taking so much of King's heat?
King's praise of Rochester's efforts may be what prompted Rochester school board president Malik Evans to say recently that Rochester is on the right track, something that caught many by surprise considering the most recent state exam results. Rochester test scores were the lowest of the state's Big Five districts. Evans wasn't boasting by any means.
All of this follows recently ominous comments by King about the possibility of the Board of Regents taking control of school districts that fail to improve.