Press Conference in support of the DPCC’s Boycott of the BPS

13 May

May 13th, 12:30 PM, a press conference was held in support of the DPCC’s scheduled May 16th Boycott of the Buffalo Public Schools. Over 40 people were in attendance, including leaders from the Youth Planning Council, Buffalo ReformED, AQE, and CAO. Also in attendance were common council member Demone Smith, NYS assembly member, and Crystal Peoples-Stokes. These community leaders and organizations all pledged their support to the DPCC in their mission, and in their direct action campaign.

Vice President of the DPCC, Sam Radford, spoke about the need for this boycott, and the need for a unified parent front. He outlined the DPCC’s vision, and ideas for reaching a solution in the ongoing battle to provide Buffalo’s students with a quality education:

The District Parent Coordinating Council has learned from years at making efforts for education reform that “NO ONE OF US IS AS SMART AS ALL OF US”.  So to begin a discussion with ALL stakeholders we are offering the following to begin negotiations on how we reform education from the Parent Perspective.

 1). Vision – First and foremost we seek  a harmony among all stakeholders.  Everyone working in the best interest of everybody.

a).  We seek a paradigm shift from the individual interest of Powerful Union, Strong Superintendents and School Boards to a COLLECTIVE INTEREST of all stakeholders to achieve the Districts Mission “PUTTING CHILDREN AND FAMILIES FIRST TO ENSURE HIGH ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT FOR ALL”.

We believe the current way of doing business has not and can not achieve the Districts Mission and we must commit to accepting our current failure as feedback (not criticism) and make the necessary adjustments to be more effective.

2).  Our immediate goal as parents is to play a meaningful role in the  Restructuring of our 2 tier “segregated” education system that has historically caused almost half of our students and schools to be Persistently Low Achieving.

3).  In our negotiation we would like to subscribe to SMART goals.  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

To Begin the discussion with each Stakeholder we would like to recommend the following

Buffalo School Board

 1)    Eliminate Half Days of School – They do not work by and large for most parents.

2)    Establish Vocational Schools – Regent Bennett has stated that this is something that can be done by the local board.  We are aware of barriers, we believe have the option of being educated in a Skilled trade is vital to ensuring “ALL” of our children get a quality education.

3)    Establish Longer School Days and School Year – Regent Bennett has stated that this is immediately doable by District Sponsored Charters and Charter Conversions.  In order to ensure the quality education of ALL of our children – we need to look at all of our options.

4)    Establishing a clear process in the Parent Involvement Policy to ENSURE meaningful Parent Involvement.  Giving DPCC sign off authority anywhere other stakeholders have it.

5)    Include a DPCC representatives as part of Union Contract Negotiations.  To ensure obligations are not made that violate the best interest of Parents as a Stakeholder group.

Buffalo Teachers Federation

1)    Sign off on a Memorandum of Understanding allowing Certified Coaches and others who are not Certified Teachers to be hired in areas without Teachers Right of first refusal.

2)    Sign off on a MOU that changes the  way we do Parent Teacher Conferences.  We want a 15 to 30 Minute appointment with a Parent, Student and Teacher giving Parents a clear plan on their role to ensure the academic success of their child.  We would like this done in the 1st and 3rd Marking period with a communication method for keeping parent updated.  Weekly email, Web updates, Texting, etc.

  Buffalo Common Council

1)    Support state legislation to give taxpayers right to vote on School Budget

2)    Allocate portion of City Contribution to budget to Funding 2 Full Time Parent Facilitators in all Buffalo Schools.

 Buffalo Mayor

1)    Give date, time and location for Convening of Meeting of all Stakeholders with State Education.

2)    Take Mayoral Control of Buffalo Schools – as Emergency Intervention Option.

3)    Allocate portion of City Contribution to budget to Funding 2 Full Time Parent Facilitators in all Buffalo Schools.

NYS State Legislature

1)    Parent Trigger Law

2)    Legislation for Residency Requirement

3)    Legislation for Voting on Local budget

4)    Address Laws like 3020a and 3012c to ensure we have a effective teacher in every classroom.

 NYS Education Dept.

1)    Don’t finalize District PLA Application without Meaningful Parent Involvement

2)    State Takeover of Buffalo Schools – as Emergency Intervention Option.

Governor

1) Create a Buffalo Education Stability Authority – as Emergency Intervention Option.

U.S. Dept. Education and President

2)    Protect Integrity of over 100 Million Dollars at Stake for Buffalo Schools in Race to Top funding to successfully turnaround our persistently low achieving school, by providing some degree of Federal oversight of the process. Which up until now has been more of the same processes that have lead to the problem.  Make sure the investment achieves a solution.

Follow comments from Sam Radford, and Hannya Boulos of Buffalo ReformED in the videos below. Sign the petition in support of the DPCC, and come out on May 16th for the rally.

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