Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another Apples and Oranges Comparison from the Buffalo Schools Superintendent

It aint neither one...

Buffalo Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown has said she doesn't understand why the Buffalo Teacher Federation won't go along and agree to whatever it is the state wants in the APPR. Dr. Brown cites Syracuse and Rochester as examples of places who've capitulated and apparently wishes Buffalo would follow suit and do the same. In Syracuse they've agreed to go along with a merit pay scheme.  Here's an interesting parallel to merit pay from the medical field who also toyed with the idea of performance pay for cardiac surgeons
"When health care systems (such as Medicare) attempted to reward cardiac surgeons, or their hospitals or practice groups, for survival rates of their patients, medical professionals responded by declining to operate on the sickest patients. When the Department of Labor attempted to reward local agencies for placing the unemployed in jobs, the agencies increased placement rates by getting more workers into more easily-found short-term poorly-paid jobs, and fewer into harder-to-find but more skilled long-term jobs. When prosecutors have been rewarded for the number of cases cleared, more plea bargains based on false confessions resulted. When U.S. News and World Report ranks colleges partly by the share of applicants for whom they have no space, colleges respond by soliciting unqualified high school students to apply."
(Freakonomics website)
Syracuse is also on board with the idea that kids need test prep more than time to relax, run, play and act like kids. They went as far as taking recess away from students so they can spend more time drilling for standardized tests. If we're nothing like this bunch of sellout chickenshits then I believe we are in great shape.

As far as Rochester is concerned they bargained away tenure rights for larger salaries back in the late 80's. Rochester's pay scale also has fewer than half as many step increases as one endures over a career in Buffalo and after about 12 years Rochester teachers can earn upwards of $100K annually. Considering they work without tenure protection and only have to work half as long to make a lot more than anyone in Buffalo's classrooms there might well be some incentives for teachers in Rochester to play ball with their district as compared to the hate/hate relationship Buffalo has with its teaching force. Oh and last Spring about 400 Rochester teachers got layoff slips but many were promised their jobs back after retirees and resignations and the like were accounted for by the end of the year. That's all very comforting as long as none of the layoffs has your name on it.

I hope taking a closer look at how we're NOT anything like either of these two cities will help the Superintendent understand why we are NOT going to follow them lemming-like off any cliffs in the near future.  And whenever she decides to admit her mistake in opting to back the 50% Stupid Turnaround model -- you know the one that violated the law and broke the labor agreement between Buffalo teachers and the district -- and agrees to undo the mess she's created with it she will have BTF at the table ready to negotiate in good faith. Just for the record, offering teachers an arbitrary sum of $2500 to ignore the law breaking and the contract violations is NOT acting in good faith. It's compounding the problem and adding to the district's long standing image of contract breaking, legal dodging and illegal activities aimed at teachers who are then accused of cheating the kids by the very same lawbreakers.  If you want to make a deal you need to come clean and do right, otherwise you can share this albatross with Commissioner King. Maybe Pearson's crack staff of test writers can help you write up an explanation of where the 56 million went. 


  1. Some BNews articles of interest today:


    In the above, Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority Chairman R. Nils Olsen Jr. personally (!) wants to return to a "hard" status, but only for the district. A sort of cialis pill to specially pinpoint the district. Oh yes, if the BFSA is allowed to go hard for the District, "it would have authority over union contracts and spending". That right there will arouse all EdDeformers in town. No need for pharmaceuticals.The ER's in Buffalo were probably full of EdDeFormers four hours after this little gathering.

    2. "8 of 9 more low-performing schools will submit least-dramatic option" by Mary Pasciak in which Mary bemoans the fact that there will be no more drama. I am sure the "Glee" like cast of DPCC characters can bring the drama next week at their parent hootenanny planned for the 11th. That meeting should provide a dramatic masterpiece for you, Mary.
    PS: no link to this article. Ya gotta shell out the $$$ to read this one.

    3.Editorial "Intransigence Rules" in bold.

    First sentence "January 17th is creeping up fast."
    And Chicken Little is still running around! The Buffalo teachers are told to look to Depew of all places to learn how to submit a plans. This hearkens to Seans apples and oranges from above.
    Will the editorial board ever come up with something new?

    4. Last but not least, Rod Watson holds up a school with 38 students as a model. Proving, as he says, that even at-risk kids do learn. Gee, Rod, we didn't know that! Apples and Oranges again. They're everywhere! Rod, you are insane. No disrespect to Our Lady of Hope Home School. Whatever. This is NOT a must-read, though.

  2. Mouse,
    Great job on outlining yesterday's News' comments about the problems facing the schools. Lack of leadership at the state and federal levels have caused most of them. Greed has caused a lot them.
    Today's News was another frustrating read. There is so much ignorance bias, and misinformation that it would take an astronomical amount of "education" to make a dent in the "fertilizer" that is being passed off as facts and research.

    Sean is right about the devastation awaiting the schools and the teachers if the apathy displayed by those who are working in public education contiues. That admonition starts with top administrators and filters down .

    Fortunatley there are folks like you who have not given up, and keep us informed . Thank You!

  3. Peg you hit the nail on the head. No Leadership here or in Albany or in D.C. And why do they all despise Phil Rumore ? Because he leads and he doesn't suffer fools, greenhorns or toadies, He told Ianuzzi to get stuffed, he tells lil John and the Kingdumb to get stuffed and he's telling the district to get stuffed because they are all operating in bad faith and there's nothing to negotiate with people like this until they come clean and do right. Leaders are few and far between these days. I was out with a NY State Trooper friend who told me he likes Rumore for this very reason. The guy tells you what needs to happen and until it does he says ok I guess we'll see you in court. Where he rarely loses,