Earlier this year, State Education Commissioner John King made the unprecedented decision to move two of Buffalo’s most troubled schools under the supervision of Johns Hopkins University and Erie 1 BOCES. The arrangement, which weakens the control of superintendents and school boards, is referred to as an educational partnership organization or EPO.
He also had a sharp public exchange with some members of Buffalo’s Board of Education, and warned that further action would be taken if the city’s schools failed to show some improvements.
That day may be rapidly approaching, according to a recent article
in the Buffalo News. King told the BN’s editorial board that he isn’t confident Buffalo’s school officials can turn around their failing schools. And he remains concerned about the lack of progress at Lafayette High School, one of the schools now under the EPO’s control.
King told the editorial board he wants an expansion of the Board of Regents’ power. He wants the Regents to have the authority to take control of failing districts.
Superintendent Bolgen Vargas has repeatedly said that if student achievement in Rochester’s schools doesn’t improve soon, what has happened in Buffalo’s school district can be expected in Rochester’s. Vargas has frequently talked about the sense of urgency he feels in turning around the city’s failing schools. And it was one of the reasons he says he recently turned to the heads of the area’s colleges for help.