Thursday, December 12, 2013

WTFA Brings Its Rigor and Excellence to B-Lo Public Schools

The Usual Suspects Holding Court

I guess it's another coup for the ed reformers. The Buffalo Board of Education voted last night to welcome TFA into B-Lo schools. At this point I really can't blame the ed reformers, Sampson, McCarthy, Tigg-Harris and Paladino whose ed reform chops are as deeply invested in education as the rent he collects from 3 charters all ready, soon to be 4 as he converts Holy Angels into another charter and hands its operation over to a third or fourth party. In any other minor burgh the notion of a school board member leasing properties to charter schools would raise even the bushiest of eyebrows but here in Buffaltucky, erbuddy kind of yawns, scratches their arse and wanders off to the back porch to pull on their corn cob pipe and cuss the dadgum gun grabbin gubmint. Seriously Buffalo, is it too much to ask how this is tolerated? Does anyone notice an obvious conflict of interest here? But then again he's one of a handful of people with millions to piss away and you're not going to find any Riches, Gioias or Knoxes swinging orange baseball bats and putting up derogatory billboards with caricatures of their politcial enemies on them -- even if they happen to be your wife's cousins. See all the other Brahmin here lay low and make their donations, call in their marks when it suits them and host people like John McCain and Mittens Romney far from the mongol hordes. Carl is too much of  nouveau to appreciate their moneyed reserve. He likes the limelight they avoid like public showers. No In spite of their manifest oddities and peculiar notions about what's best for "The Children" there's really no way I can call up any animus for the usual suspects who rammed TFA through.

On the other end of the ledger though we have the particularly thorny issue of the Buffalo Board of Education's "Sisterhood" as Carl calls them. I prefer "Sorority Majority" in honor of the august group calling itself Alpha Kappa Alpha and dedicating itself to positioning people of African American origin in as many influential spots as possible regardless of how badly they suck professionally and in some cases personally as well. Case in point it was their majority vote that brought the human Ebola virus himself James Williams to Buffalo in spite of the smoking crater he left behind in Dayton OH including an $18 million deficit he managed to keep hidden until after he was gone. None of them cared to look at the morale problems he'd created, the teacher strike he provoked, the charters he started and abandoned with shakedowns from businessmen and the no show teaching gig at Wayne State another of his pals went to prison over. No, Jimmy the Pimp was the right color and that's all the Sisters cared about. FloJo was tripping over herself to write him up a big fat contract and welcome him to Buffalo. Another fly in the same ointment was the charter loving union hating spectre of M&T Bank CEO Robert Wilmers offering to pay for the search that brought Williams here. He knew the destruction Williams had rained down on Akron but instead of giving Wilmers pause it convinced him that this was his man. If Williams could ruin the BTF it would open the floodgates to charter heaven here in B-Lo and who loves charters more than a banker for obvious reasons? 

Well Guess who's yet again involved in Buffalo Board of Ed business and offering yet again to foot the bill for a while? None other than the Wilmersian tentacles of M&T Bank. I find it amusing that Bluenose Wilmers was never taken to task for his unqualified recommendation of Williams. He all but tied on bow on the head of that jackass and turned him loose on the students, teachers and parents of Buffalo. Yet he's never been held accountable for his crimes and what's even more ballsy is he shows up again making a very similar offer to foot a few bills if it will get his hands on a few of the levers. And for all of their resistance to the chameleon charter hacks trying to steal Waterfront and East High Schools away in a middle of the summer coup, the sisters seem to have dropped the ball of TFA in a huge way. Apparently they don't connect TFA to the very people who insulted them with their Machiavellian tactics a while back. The sisters seem to have been bamboozled just like their latest Superintendent of color into believing TFA is some perfect fit for the loose nut Buffalo just can't seem to tighten. I won't bother linking to TFA horror stories, they are legion and I have no doubt the group is every bit as despicable as I've been told -- mostly by former TFAers. The sisters once again failed to do their homework same as they did with Williams, same as they did with PamelaBrownphDHarvard. They seem to have a short attention span and an inability to look beyond what can be worn, eaten, displayed on a wall in a frame or gossiped over at church meetings. In short they failed. They failed the kids of Buffalo some of whom will now be left in a classroom with neophytes bolstered by a little more than a month of training. They failed the teachers whose morale will take yet another hit as these best and brightest are paraded into their schools under the pretext that they are every bit as 'rigorous" and 'effective" as veterans with advanced education training. Oh come now the real implication here isn't that TFA ers are "just as good" as highly trained veterans, the real implication is that they are better. 

Remember too these are the same people who made sure Amber Dixon a Buffalonian was not offered the Superintendent job beyond the interim gig she was appointed to when Williams was finally run out of town in a cloud of Adams' Mark linen and Chop House flatware. Ralph Hernandez a fellow Board Member at the time assured  a gathering of his constituents in a rare moment of candor that there was no way that bunch was going to allow any white woman to have the job. And whaaddya know but they didn't. So we'll see what another roaring success the Sorority Majority has ushered into the Buffalo Public Schools. Their two most recent Superintendents have been what we call unmitigated disasters. Williams stomping around like a drunken fratboy threatening to kick the BTF President's ass in an alley and Brown doing her best impression of General George McClellan doing nothing except trying desperately to get off King and NYSED's shitlist. No matter how many times he disses her or floats the question of a leadership vacuum in Buffalo, Brown keeps polishing her pearls and trying to say all the right things in the hope that King will like her. Pathetic is the best caption I can muster. Thank you John Licata for voting against stupidity, you win the prophet in the wilderness award yet again and to Mary Ruth Kapsiak for breaking with the voting block and standing up to another disastrous idea. 

So this one's on you girls. I hope next time you pay a little better attention to what's going on and do a little reading up, I know teachers bombarded them with informative links and articles warning of TFA's role as the shock troops of privatizers. But if you recall the Superintendent search there's a telling detail that always comes to mind. When asked about toddling over to the central location where Cascade was storing all the data and C.V.'s of the candidates one of these slugs admitted to Buffalo News reporter Mary Pasciak that she had no intention of going all the way over there just to read up on the candidates accomplishments and achievements. If they won't get up off their asses to go read up on the most important hire of their jobs as Board Members how can we expect them to get anything else right? 


  1. This is just so sad. It is especially sad for our youngest teachers, the temporaries, who have been trying to get a spot in the Buffalo Public Schools. Thirty of them can kiss their jobs goodbye when the TFA wonders show up on our doorstep. The thirty current 'temporaries' have worked for their Master's degrees, worked with children, went through the ridiculous BPS recruiting days and exhibited a desire and willingness to work with our students as a profession. The thirty TFA's will become sixty TFA's in another year. We will actually have to PAY Teach For America for these non-certified, no-experience, know-it-alls. Pamela Brown says they are needed to fill "high need" areas? Really? With all of the colleges and grad programs in WNY we are finding it hard to fill positions? That is a blatant lie coming straight from that inscrutable heart of darkness known as PCB.
    Oh, and the cherry on top is to renew the contract for Cross and Joftus. I really had to laugh when Say Yes almost had a collective heart attack out in the hallway during the Board meeting when they thought they had inadvertently agreed to spend some of that money (that they lifted from our local yokel philanthropists) on the after school program that they seem to be touting but not paying for. Anyway, great to hear they have gotten some Ivy League schools to say they will 'consider' looking at our kids and possibly paying for them, just like they do for EVERYONE who applies. Good to know that Say Yes still doesn't have to spend too much of their dough.

  2. It would be interesting to know how much Say Yes money is really spent directly on tuition, tutors, providing services to students. Etc.
    The "local philanthropists" might be interested as well
    Then, how much is spent on salaries, publicity, marketing, "employee training ", lobbying, etc.
    Just wondering. . .