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Striving for equity in city education

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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The Buffalo Public School District is beginning to launch new community schools that revive former failing schools. As WBFO's Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley tell us these new innovative high schools are expected to create more equity in providing quality education to more students.

“That we want to ensure that all of our students have an equal, high quality education,” said Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash.

Cash appeared Tuesday outside of Bennett High School. The district launched the brand new Computing Academy of Technological Sciences.  Under Cash's New Education Bargain with Students and Parents, the District is working to reopen new school programs at Bennett and four other locations. The hope is to provide students with new motivation, making school work-interesting and enticing them to attend classes. 

Superintendent Cash said this should bridge the equity gap between tradition city schools and criteria-based schools.

“You have more demand than supply at City Honors. We want to flip that switch,” said Cash.  “It will resolve the equity issue that we’ve heard about between City Honors and other schools. I want all of our high schools to be high quality like City Honors. 

The District has faced civil rights complaints for some students denied admission to schools like City Honors and Olmsted. In fact this week - Buffalo parent Gretchen Cerecone said her son was denied because last year he opted out of the state ELA and Math assessments. She tells WBFO News it’s a similar situation for other students.

“The district knows that at least 14-children would have qualified numerically for admission and they’re continuing to refuse to admit those students or put any kids on the waiting list who we now know qualify to be on the waiting list,” said Cerecone.  

Cerecone said having more options is great, but children who are qualified to attend City Honors and Olmsted were still denied access.    

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Credit WBFO News file photo
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Outside City Honors School in Buffalo.

“One of the thing that is a huge problem is that 95 children received a score of zero for opting out of New York State Assessments and the district has not even notified those parents that issue has happened. Those parents don’t even know,” explained Cerecone.

Superintendent Cash tells WBFO News he hopes the new community schools at Bennett and soon-to-be launched at East High School, South Park and Lafayette International and new Bioinformatics & Life Sciences Research Lab will level the playing field.

“So as you begin to saturate the high schools with more and all quality high schools, we still have work to do, it may take two to three years to get there, again that issue of having only one spigot to go through will dissipate,” replied Cash. 

Students will be required to apply to the new innovative schools.  

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