|Told You I had Your Back.|
There is so much negativity and bullshit associated with the edu-blogging gig that when something meaningful or noteworthy transpires I am almost at a loss as to how I should approach it. Last night I came across Adrian Fitzgerald Harris's blogpost where he announced that he was pulling out of the West District Board of Education race. I admit I was surprised to see it. Like a lot of others who consider ourselves friends and allies of Adrian I wholly understood why he felt he shouldn't pull out. I respected his willingness to stand in there and suffer the slings and arrows of low information/high volume critics he'd be hearing from not to mention the assorted "friends" chirping in his ear about what his next move should be. I would not have the skin for it not for one minute, friends and I truly admire and respect this guy for stepping into the breach as he has.
It wasn't any brilliant deduction on my part as much as a common observation many of us watching the Board elections dynamics were making: How are Adrian Harris and Jen Mecozzi running against Sampson going to avoid the historical dynamic of splitting the Anti-Sampson vote between them while Sampson rallies his corporate ed reform base and breezes to victory? I was reminded of Bill Clinton's first term win when Ross Perot siphoned off enough votes from Bush Senior to put Bubba in the White House. A friend reminded me more recently of an election closer to home in our own BTF last May when two groups took on Phil Rumore and the scenario played out with Phil retaining his seat as the other 2 parties split the difference. It seemed clear to a lot of us that Adrian really had every reason to stand pat and take his chances. Ms. Mecozzi's side seemed to be lining up some backing among PUSH and there was talk of an AFL-CIO nod as well. For his money Adrian made the point that he chose not to make himself beholden to anyone in the political paradigm we've all come to know and loathe. They won't support me because they can't control me is essentially how he phrased it. Hard not to love a guy who campaigns on that platform. I don't know Jennifer Mecozzi and I didn't discuss any of this with her or any of her team. I did talk with Adrian though and I really had to admire his stance even if in the back of my head I was thinking This helps Sampson.
But in the same year where we were days from eating a decidedly disastrous ruling on the Friedrich's case when Anton Scalia shuffled off this mortal coil I am learning to expect miracles everywhere I look. I don't think for a second Adrian ever failed to grasp the gravity of the 3 way dynamic. Au contraire, he knew exactly what we knew as he expresses here in his own words with class and dignity:
It had become evident through my canvassing work over the past four weeks, talking to voters in the West School District and making connections I could cause irreparable damage to the Buffalo Public School District with my presence on the ballot May 3rd. To allow Mr. Sampson to maintain his seat and the present majority its place on the Buffalo School Board would not only be a barrier to future district progress, but a slap in the face of parents, students and teachers in the West District. Mr. Sampson and the majority take credit for the hard work of students, parents and teachers, while seeking to displace a vibrant educational environment with decreased academic options and decision making ability; to allow them to continue on the present path would only be a detriment to the Buffalo Public School District. Mr. Sampson’s and their support of the Common Core Learning Standards, Privatization of the Buffalo Public Schools, lack of community engagement, inability to secure a fair and equitable contract for the Buffalo Public School teachers and lack of leadership are all barriers to school district progress. Mr. Sampson and the rest of the majority have only brought dysfunction and a multitude of issues into a realm where none are needed.
It takes a lot of guts and class to back off and step aside when you know damned well you have every right to stand in and fight. When I posted about this a week or so ago wrote: I guess the real question here is who wants Sampson out the most and what are they willing to do to see it through? Well, nothing against Ms. Mecozzi but I think we have a winner. Sampson and his cronies are terrible for the kids of Buffalo, the parents, teachers and administrators of Buffalo and he needs to answer for the lowbrow bullshit and crony friendly contracting he pulled at Gateway. He needs a little taste of ballot box justice for throwing out speakers at Board Meetings whose questions he didn't like; For his conniving with James Williams once upon a time to snatch some Buffalo schools for his charter empire.
And for God's sake as a Trustee of West Buffalo Charter School and a former Grand Imperial Dragoon of Buffalo Reform Ed this guy has as much business sitting on the Buffalo School Board as I do advising Lars Quinn on his nautical flags for the upcoming schooner season. Thank you Adrian for clearing the path. The old saying is that during the primaries you can fall in love and when it's time for the convention you fall in line. For the kids at Gateway and the citizens of Buffalo I say we get in line with Jen Mecozzi and return this seat to the people of Buffalo. Parents, kids and everybody else. Can I get an Amen?