Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hell Hath No Fury Like the Sisters Scorned



The Sisters Brought Out the Big Guns for Tonight's Chinwag with the Chameleons
 


The Wednesday evening Board of Education meeting could possibly have been the best entertainment anyone has seen in these parts since Jimmy Griffin advised us all to get a 6 pack and chill out til the snowplows could get to us. Our snippet begins with City Hall hanger on Jim Kane pointing out to the Chameleons that their 4:15 quitting time will effectively put the kaybosh on football and on basketball at East High. He also mentions that charters don't play football so... And doesn't the lawyer's wife jump in claiming that they do in fact play football. Yes she says they do and she rattles off a handful of charter school names. Kane pauses and says, soccer maybe, but they don' t play football. Seems she should know that shouldn't she? Football is an expensive sport to run and it carries some serious liabilities injury wise, no ? Strikes me that we may have something of a dabbler or God forbid a dilettante at the wheel of the Chameleon Bus. A quick glance at Maritime Charter's website shows football is not played there nor is it played at Applied Technologies. As for Tapestry Amy Friedman, you've hit the failed to do your homework Trifecta. If there are any budding squash players in the 14214 zipcode who have their private transportation and can get past the lottery, Squash!!!  IS played at Tapestry. Ah, the diversity... For real though are we supposed to take this society dame for real when she blurts out the names of all these charters claiming they ALL play football when in fact NONE of them do? It's bad enough that she is uninformed about the athletic limitations of charters for their students but it made her look lazy like someone who doesn't think they need to know their stuff cause the deal is done all ready. The comment is made later on that The Chameleons didn't do their homework and walked into a hissing snakepit. Sucks to be arrogant huh? If I had to think of an adjective to describe the Chameleons in their public deportment I think it would be Romneyesque. They appeared rather flustered and put off by the very idea that someone was going to tell them no even though they'd done a half assed job of organizing, planning and collaborating with anyone in the schools or the community. I only cut a tiny piece of this blog today but make time to read it all. These lizards get hit with the kitchen sink and the spray hose too and it is FUUUUUUUU-NNNNNNNNY. Maybe, just maybe their money and connections aren't going to enable them to steal these golden geese.

7:42
Mary Pasciak: 
Jim Kane: Specifically with the East proposal and the 4:15 dismissal, I'm assuming football is over at East because there is no football at charters. And basketball would no longer compete in the Yale Cup. That's definitely the way it is, because there are no charters in the Yale Cup.

Friedman: There is football for charter schools.

Kane: There won't be at East. Which charter plays football?

Friedman: Maritime, Tapestry, Applied Technologies. They all do.

Kane: Maybe soccer. They don't play football.
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:42 Mary Pasciak
7:42
Mary Pasciak: 
Nolan: If it's up to you whether kids continue playing in those leagues, let us know. We'll talk about it.
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:42 Mary Pasciak
7:44
Mary Pasciak: 
Kapsiak: Respect isn't something that is given. It is earned. Chameleon disrespected this board of education by going behind our backs instead of coming to us.

Right now, you haven't heard the last word. I will continue with this.

You have disrespected people coming to this microphone talking about privatizing schools. You have been sitting there making faces instead of letting them speak.

Hernandez: It's good to know the passion's still there. (laughter from the audience)
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:44 Mary Pasciak
7:46
Mary Pasciak: 
Polowitz: There's actually money in the budget for a lease payment to the district, what we believe is the district's local share under joint schools rehab budget.

Hernandez: Back to East. $550k management company fee. Other consulting, $706k, for total of $1.2m. Can you clarify that? It's the same company doing both schools.

Nolan: It's for back office management, financial management, board governance, grant writing, some professional development. Consulting fees including Johns Hopkins turnaround program, youth asset development.
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:46 Mary Pasciak
7:48
Mary Pasciak: 
Cottman: I have listened to what Chameleon has presented. I listened at the teacher meeting held a couple weeks back. One thing that I am clear on is that if East HS becomes a private school, contrary to what the speaker said, we see what happens to the children who are with charter schools and they don't fit or they're not wanted -- they come back to us. Many of them as a result of coming back to us are the reasons we have the high numbers that we have in terms of attendance and suspensions.

For some reason, parents think charter schools are the best solutions. I believe your intentions are well intended. However I don't think you have the silver bullet to fix it. One reason is the way you went about it. You bypassed this board.
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:48 Mary Pasciak
7:50
Mary Pasciak: 
Cottman: You guys went right to the state to do it. You worked with individuals at the state board to do it. You worked with people who have money to achieve your goals. The fact that East has that biometrics lab is one of the reasons you chose it.

It sickens me that out of all the schools you chose the one that has the jobs. Artvoice put an article together about Chameleon. UB said if you're serious about what you're doing, why didn't you come talk to us? We put a lot of money into that lab.

For whatever reason our community is so disgusted with what's going on with the union and Phil Rumore, they're willing to go along with whatever.
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:50 Mary Pasciak
7:51
Mary Pasciak: 
Cottman: We have some things that are going on that are right. We have the community stepping up. We have the alumni stepping up.

My concern is if we don't maintain our schools and work with the superintendent, we send out a message to everyone, you can do whatever you want with the Buffalo Schools.

We will fix East HS. We will fix Waterfront. I am not convinced that application for Waterfront with Canisius' name on it was not sabotaged with the intent you could get your hands on Waterfront.
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:51 Mary Pasciak
7:51
[Comment From whatwhat: ] 
Campos probably supports this proposal, and I bet the governor does too. Why don't they get asked to speak on this and move this dysfunctional board to allow this school to provide kids in a failing school an opportunity at a great education
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:51 what
7:52
[Comment From you dont sayyou dont say: ] 
It's obvious, Chameleon hasn't done their homework. There are outnumbered by teachers at Waterfront and community members with ties to both schools. They been told over and over, no. Yet , they forge ahead ignoring this community. That's arrogance! They show little respect for black people and their capacity to help create good schools for their children.
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:52 you dont say
7:52
[Comment From whatwhat: ] 
so is this about the board president not allowing chameleon to present back in may and now blaming chameleon for going behind their back OR is this about finding a better solution for these students stranded in a failing school. Mary, can you clarify? Are waterfront and east both failing? they will not get turnaround money because they dont have a teacher evaluation plan!
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:52 what
7:53
Mary Pasciak: 
To clarify, there is an EPO plan for East that has been approved. It is contingent on a teacher eval plan being approved.

The plan for Waterfront was denied by SED. The district must submit a new plan for Waterfront by the end of December.
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:53 Mary Pasciak
7:53
Mary Pasciak: 
And with that, the public hearing is over.
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:53 Mary Pasciak
8:11
[Comment From you dont sayyou dont say: ] 
Comment from citizen showing true colors. Is Campos the only one cares about kids? U right I should get an education! So u understand me better, but what is it u don't understand? That this community isn't giving up their schools to Privateers? Perhaps it's u that needs education!
Wednesday November 7, 2012 8:11 you dont say
8:11
[Comment From futureconcernsfutureconcerns: ] 
Oh, if only it were possible to Skype into these meetings and see adults making faces, as Kapsiak says they are; or at least I think she means adults and that there are no children involved? Are there any videos being taken at these board meetings as there are at other City of Buffalo events?

4 comments:

  1. Thanks, Sean I wanted to be there... at the Doc's instead. Great job reporting...it is as though I had been there ( without the frustration).

    Did any of the Chameleons dress respecfully for their presentations...or was it the usual casual "I'm too important for a tie" unbusiness like wrinkles and no socks?

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  2. I read the blog of the meeting late last night, and knew Sean would have a great post about it! Good for those who spoke up last night and questioned the agenda, plan, motive, budget, and credentials of the Chameleons. THANK YOU!!! Seems like the BoE members were well prepared too. Finally, it seems others are starting to look beyond the surface cry of "we are doing this for the kids" and finding a bunch of privateers looking to make a profit and steal some real estate while they are at it. Watch closely to see what the NYSED does, how the commish reacts, what happens to the charter application now. Remember the "hearings" the chameleons had in the summer. Opposition to their plan was strongly voiced and still their charter application didn't die, advanced to next round. Glad this meeting demonstrates more opposition. Could the tide be turning???

    Article below sums up lies of "reform" movement, calls on the feds to change course.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/11/07/a-call-for-president-obama-to-change-course-on-education/

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  3. Tapestry doesn't even have XC. I mean, Cross Country? They don't have Cross Country? Pretty pathetic. Only one charter has XC and that is the one in Kenmore.

    Great post, Sean. As usual.

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  4. 3rd grade in the burbsNovember 8, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    I went to the meeting last night to support the teachers. It was so different from the meeting a couple of weeks ago at the Community Health Center! I thought the women on the board "B"-slapped Chameleon. They kept referring to the method Chameleon was using as a hostile takeover. Each time one of them spoke the audience broke out in applause (myself included). They spoke positively about the way the teachers have been working with the kids, the parent involvement, and that things were beginning to turn around. I loved it when Hernandez stated that Chameleon was choosing to take two schools that have been renovated and updated when there is so much vacant real estate in the City of Buffalo. He told them to take two of those buildings, fix them up, and use them for their schools.
    The community members that spoke opposing Chameleon were passionate and spoke from the heart. They referred to Chameleon as the privitizers they are. I also learned something new about Chameleon. They did not even write up the application to SED. A charter group from Rochester did. One of the board members also mentioned this. I found Polowitz to be as arrogant last night as he was at the last meeting. He and Fuentes left the room for a long time during the public speakers' portion of the night, which was rude. Hernandez kept pressing about the budget issues and the woman from Chameleon with the British accent(I don't remember her name) shuffled a lot of papers but never even mumbled a response to his questions.
    My guess about the making faces comment is that she was referring to Polowitx, although I couldn't see his face. Fuentes had not returned to the room and only Polowitz, the British woman, and the parent member of their team were still there. Amy Friedman sat in the back of the room for the entire meeting except when she went to the microphone to explain her qualifications. I'm basing my thought that Polowitz was making faces on the Community Health Center meeting where he spent the evening cleaning his fingernails and checking his cell phone until he emphatically stated that when the application is approved by SED, BPS WILL collaborate with them (when asked about collaboration between the Charters and BPS).
    There were a few people that spoke in favor of the Charters but the majority of the speakers and people in the audience were definitely in support of the BPS, the teachers, and the community.
    I know I am not directly involved in this issue since I don't teach in Buffalo, but I think all teachers should be listening and supporting you. My district is not too different from Buffalo. It is in a first ring suburb. Your struggles are our struggles. I was left with a sense of optimism that this could be fought and won by the time I left the meeting. Those ladies were definitely Tiger Moms last night as were several community members. They are not going to sit back and let Chameleon steal these schools without a fight.
    But I do have a question, could they (the BPS)hire a lawyer to fight it if SED approves the application?

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