Monday, February 23, 2015

B-Lo's Board Majority Aches to Impose Their Status Quo

The Board Majority's Tapestry @ Bennett Plan Revealed a Few Glitches

If you've noticed, the Board Majority members like to toss the phrase "status quo" around - a lot. I should say the three members who possess the capacity for speech. Mac and Patty, as we all know, are simply non speaking extras in the Cecil B. de Millionaire Club's epic drama of an urban school system ruined by non wealthy, non white people many of whom were not men either. They were abetted in said ruination, of course, by unions teeming with socialists who want to take away most of your rights. Yes, you'll hear Carl and Larry especially in the speaking -- or shrieking hysterically depending on the moon phase-- roles and they'll be lamenting what they call with disdain and regret "The Status Quo." (cue three note declining flourish here)  Of course they're referring to the current situation where public schools are public property not the private cash cows of any number of connected friends who'd gladly step in and rename Lafayette Gioia Charter or chisel the letters off the front of Bennett High the way the Taliban destroyed the cliff carved Buddhas in Bamian so they could carve "Robert Wilmers Academy of Wine, Grit and and Excellence" or some other self adoring shite in its place. 

When our boys bemoan the status quo you'll observe they studiously avoid any mention of the crippling, demoralizing poverty so many of our students live with every day. What's the stat again friends? Are we still the 3rd poorest city in the Milky Way ? Or just on planet earth? This status quo is one none of them care to discuss because their magic bullet - privatization - has no magic and no gunpowder to address this level of poverty. They simply have no answer for it. So they hope if they ignore it we will too. Fuck that. We know better. The best they can do is borrow a phrase from their poster girl the disgraced cheater run out of D.C. and ed reform all together, Michelle Rhee, who said Poverty is no excuse. And she was correct actually. Poverty is not an excuse at all. It's a reason. Big difference. It's one Lars, Jimbo and Carl won't touch with a 10 foot pole even if Ciminelli held the other end for them. And either will Rhee now that she's working for a fertilizer company in what can be noted as a true example of career readiness. Who ever spread it like Michelle Rhee? 

So when our majority members speak of this intolerable status quo they are likely not going to revisit Mr. Gibson's slide show from a few weeks back that demonstrated the paltry status quo of their shining star at Tapestry Charter School. Turns out the status quo over there isn't anything to write home about. And when you pair Kevin Gibson's research with the letter written to this very board by a Ph.D'd Tapestry parent, the status quo of Tapestry is pretty much flapping in tatters. This is one of the places the ed reform class likes to brag about. This is the place that they wanted to hand Bennett High over to in spite of the fact that Tapestry's performance is a distant cry from the "high performing" label they've slapped on it. Turns out after a little road test and some tire kicking, the Tapestry Lexus turns out to be a Neon with a soft tire that burns way too much oil. Again, this is the status quo of a charter crown jewel. It'd be a stretch to even call it zirconium. 

Currently Bennett is home to hundreds of students and a dedicated faculty and staff who are laboring in the shadow of essentially being called dumb and sub par at every turn. Slice it how you want friends but when you call a school "failing" and "underperforming" it's no different from saying the people in it are failures and slackers. I wonder if Larry Quinn in his previous incarnation ever walked into an NHL locker room and declared an entire team to be "low performing and failing?" No I don't wonder. I know that would put him at a disadvantage he would never risk. But it's fine to keep throwing these stones at kids and professionals then shrug and say "Hey,  it's the data, don't blame me." The status quo of these kids having a school to go to apparently is too much for the speaking majority. Their plan was to kick every single damned one of these kids to the curb and say, sorry, not our problem. Tapestry's own administration promised their parents none of the Bennett kids would be allowed to mix with their precious issue. This was verified in the parent letter and deemed unacceptable -- from a Tapestry kid's mom no less. But it was just fine with the wealthy white men's caucus. None of them have a problem with THIS gentrified status quo. 

As for some other stati quo... Currently Mr. Paladino is taking in lease payments from 3 charters with a promise of another springing fully formed like Athena from Frank McGuire's head over at Holy Angels -- and possibly another on top of that or maybe 2 more. Oh we've all heard how he shuffled the paperwork and now it's in his family's hands, not his per se, but c'mon. Unless he sells the properties outright to a disinterested party the money is still going into Planet Paladino. None of us have been bullshat by this lawyerly legerdemain. Apparently this many charters leasing his buildings is more of Carl's intolerable status quo. He needs MORE. 

The Board of Education meetings have become public events that people are packing into. People are packing into them to tell Sampson, Quinn and Paladino that their tactics and schemes are not welcome. And in response, President Sampson has attempted to create a status quo for Board of Education meetings that limits discussion to topics he personally deems acceptable. When anyone mentions anything Sampson doesn't want to hear he and Quinn have had them removed in spite of Larry's pathetic attempts to lie his way out of taking responsibility for his actions. Sampson had Ziolkowski tossed for asking about Sampson's profligate CEO spending at Gateway. Quinn had a cop remove Gibson on the grounds that he's a union member. Then he tried to lie about it. Sampson banned O'Bowen for eternity, tried to interrupt several other speakers and told John Washington II he was done but was given data to the contrary by practically everyone in the hall when JW II began chanting Whose Schools? to the delight of all who returned "Our Schools" as Samspon withered and Quinn's complexion waxed from pink to scarlet. Again at the Special Meeting on Friday the 13th it was a Sampsonian procedural flub stemming from yet another attempt to shut down input and discussion that set off the hollering between Paladino and the Board legal counsel. These people constitute a majority who seem to think they were crowned not elected. 

So next time Surly, Larry and Paladimoe roll out their favorite phrase The Status Quo, remember the status quo they are trying to impose. You've watched them do it. It's one that ignores poverty, adds to Carls list of rental properties,  seeks to metastasize low performing charter schools for profit, kicks kids out of their current schools and shuts down debate, criticism and/or opposing views simply because they can. Is this the status quo anyone wants for Buffalo Schools? Me either. 

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