Open Letter to Buffalo and New York State Education Makers and Funders

20 Apr

Open Letter to Buffalo and New York State



Governor Andrew Cuomo, Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Education Commissioner David Steiner, NYS Regent Robert Bennett, NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, NYS Senate Leader Dean Skelos,  NYS Assembly Education Chair Catherine Nolan, NYS Senate  Education Chair John Flannagan, Assembly members Crystal Peoples and Sam Hoyt, Senators Tim Kennedy and Mark Grisanti, All Buffalo Board of Education members, Superintendent Dr. James A. Williams, Mayor Byron W. Brown,  All Buffalo Common Council members

CC: President Obama, US Sec. of Education Duncan, US Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, US Reps. Slaughter and Higgins


            Please be advised that the Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools Dr. James A. Williams has reported to the parents of the Buffalo Schools District Parent Coordinating Council as well as anyone who will listen, that there are STRUCTURAL ISSUES in New York State that have led to our children’s persistent failure and unless they are addressed our children will continue to fail.

            Data supplied by the NYS Dept. of Education will support the Superintendents contention.  In Buffalo there is on average a 75% Black and Hispanic Male dropout rate.  English Language Learners also have on average a 70% drop out rate.  For white males this is not much better being on average 55%.  Overall graduation rates in Buffalo Schools have on average been below 60%. 

What is most devastating about these figures is that they are not an anomaly.  These graduation rates and drop out rates have been this way for DECADES and in some cases since the inception of the Buffalo Board of Education.  This leads us to believe the Superintendent when he said in a Feb. 16, 2011 WKBW Interview about this issue called “Making the Grade? Buffalo Schools Struggling” ( ) that “New York States Education System is structured in a way that causes students to drop out of school” He further stated in the same interview that “the SYSTEM is failing students”.  All the statistics supplied by the NYS Dept. of Education support his conclusion.

Consequently we as the elected parent representatives of Buffalo Schools at a regular business meeting of the District Parent Coordinating Council on April 5, 2011 voted unanimously to request that you as the Education Leaders and Decision Makers  of our City and State join us on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at our regular business meeting to address the SYSTEMIC and STRUCTURAL issues, as outlined by the Buffalo Public School Superintendent Dr. James A. Williams that have lead to DECADES of our children’s failure in the current education system.

Please be advised that we also voted unanimously that if these SYSTEMIC AND STRUCTURAL issues are not addressed by you and your staff that we as elected parent leaders with commitments from our religious, community and business leaders, who love our children, will begin a Direct Action Campaign starting on Monday, May 16, 2011.  We are asking you to RSVP by Friday April 15.  In the event that we don’t hear from you we have scheduled a meeting for Saturday, April 16 at 10am to begin planning direct action campaign option that will include a range of activities to bring attention to the fact that our children are in a system that is designed to fail and those responsible for the design have refused to change it to ensure our children’s success.  .These activities could include rolling days of protest, were we will keep our children out of schools on agreed upon days. We have chose to begin on May 16 because it is after NYS assessment tests are over and it is already a designated half day of school.  It is not our desire to negatively impact our children’s education in any way.  We will have TEACH IN’s at Churches, Businesses and Community Centers.  We will also considering Organizing Marches in Buffalo and Albany. We will conduct Phone and email campaigns as a beginning to our mobilization.  We will consider the option of working throughout the summer if necessary to organize a BOYCOTT of Schools beginning in Sept. 2012. We would prefer to WORK together to come up with a SYSTEM that works, but that requires you to WORK with us.  According to Fredrick Douglass “Power concedes nothing without a demand, in never did, it never will” please consider this our demand on behalf of our children.

We have determined that if the SYSTEM is not changed that it does not make since to continue to send our children into a system that we know is failing and is going to fail.  Please understand that we love our children, and like everyone who can afford to send their children to schools that are designed to succeed we will work to DESIGN our schools to succeed.

We believe that everything necessary for our children’s success if available to us as a community and that those who benefit from the current status quo have become barriers to this success and we are committed to confronting the Status Quo and working with you to come up with a system that works for all students.  Insanity has been defined as “Doing that same thing and expecting different results”.  We are stopping the INSANITY and calling on you to work with us on what WE are going to do different.

We are requesting that you RSVP to our request for your attendance at our meeting by Friday, April 15. Please email your rsvp to or .  If you have questions or need more information we can be reached at (716) 578-3571.

The DPCC is made up representatives from all 59 Buffalo Public Schools.  The DPCC is the official recognized Parental voice of the Buffalo Board of Education.

To get involved, sign the petition against the massively destructive reorganization the district is facing. 

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