Parents, advocates to Council: Help us get teacher evaluation system
With no deal in place yet for a new teacher evaluation system in Buffalo Public Schools, parents and advocates were in City Hall yesterday asking lawmakers for their support.
Statewide, the stakes were raised earlier this month when Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened to impose his own teacher evaluation plan if districts and teacher unions would not hammer out their own agreement.
When appearing in Buffalo last month to pitch his billion-dollar budget gift to the Buffalo area, he added that school districts can no longer simply expect state funds without a system of accountability for teacher performances.
State aid to Buffalo has already been suspended, and parent advocates worry that the district is merely planning to live without it... rather than try to change their ways. Both advocates and lawmakers in attendance at the Common Council's education committee hearing seemed to feel that a big part of the problem is a lack of sincere interest to change the status quo.
"The horizon could not be more beautiful, but we actually could miss it because the infrastructure of the people inside are living an old paradigm when everything around us has changed," said Sam Radford of the District Parent Coordinating Council.
Offering a sympathetic voice was councilman Reverend Darius Pridgen, who expressed his own fruxstration over a lot of talk... but little action.
"What do we do when this meeting is over? There's not going to be a rally on the steps. There's not going to be an 'occupy education' out there. There's not going to be anything, because most of the people who are benefiting in this system, they don't have kids in these schools," said Pridgen.
Those in attendance were passionate about their concerns, applauding when Rev. Pridgen made his comment about those who do not have kids in the school system yet benefit from it. They were supportive, but few. Less than 20 people were in attendance at this late-morning hearing.