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Community to Tutor Students

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Mayor Anthony Masiello Tuesday announced a joint innitiative to help Buffalo high school students pass the state's Math A exam.

About one hundred students didn't graduate this year because they failed the regent's test.

It's a community approach to a community problem.

The Mayor announced that a variety of community and faith based groups will work together with the city to give students some extra help brushing up on the Math A exam.

Citizen Action of New York helped work out the plan that also takes advantage of federal Workforce Development funds to provide the summer-long tutoring program.

Ceylane Meyers is regional director for Citizen Action.

She said the program is good, but it's just a band-aid.

"Beyond that we'd like to see some on-going, year-round tutoring provides to students," said Meyers. "And to be truthfully honest, we really want to be working with students, prior to them becoming seniors."

"We're not quite there yet. We're trying to deal with the urgency of the well over two hundred students who did not graduate as a result of not passing, not only Math A, but other regents' exams."

And Meyers said that, if something more isn't done, next June will bring another crop of seniors missing out on graduation.

Unfortunately, she said the future for student education, even with help from community groups, is bleak.

She said state educational cuts, coupled with the State Appelate Court's recent ruling on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, lessens the state's responsibility.

"It's a very destructive and shameful decision," said Meyers.

"Especially since on the federal level you have the President moving 'Leave No Child Behind' legislation, and we have state regents' standards. But now we have an appelate court in New York saying all that is meaningless, because there is no [state] obligation beyond eighth grade."

One hundred Buffalo high school students will receive tutoring from community groups - including Youth Opportunity of Buffalo, EPIC, and Baptist Churches - before re-taking the Math A exam in August.