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Fix the Fundamentals

12 Mar

A Buffalo News story reveals one of the main reasons why the city of Buffalo bleeds people – it’s the schools, stupid.

That’s not to say other school districts are some sort of paradise, but the experiences the families in that article are neither new nor reasonable. On the one hand, you have parents who agonize over completing an application process and receiving snail mail regarding whether their kids will attend a particular school, and on the other hand you have parents who are ambivalent enough about school that their kids have half a school year’s worth of unexcused absences

The dysfunction of the Buffalo school system, and the tea party push to defund education nationwide couldn’t be more disheartening or damaging.  When compared to the rest of the world, we’re average – not the best. Time was, that’d have been unacceptable. Budget cuts, larger class sizes, and eliminating curricula isn’t going to change that.  

The school system shouldn’t be a 50’s era byzantine bureaucratic disaster, and the categorization of failing and not failing schools doesn’t do a damn thing for everyone. Every school should do well, and every kid deserves a chance – even if their parents don’t care

In an ideal world, Erie County would have a consolidated and unified school district, pooling resources from all communities to ensure an efficient path to an excellent education – if regionalism works for other government services (which I think it does), it works for schools, too. That doesn’t mean a kid from Springville will be bused to Tonawanda, but it does mean you don’t have as many labor contracts and administrative entities as you do municipal entities. This means you can do more with a larger revenue pool.  Every kid in WNY deserves the same shot at a bright future.