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Learning, but little teaching.

   From the Opinion corner of The Buffalo News, it occurs to us that it is good that Mayor Byron Brown is asking questions. And better than he isn't asking them in some Buffalo Public School classrooms - where apparently no one would be in a position to answer.

- Looking for ideas - Buffalo News Editorial
   In the category of "Be Careful What You Ask For, You Just Might Get It" comes the welcome announcement from Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown of a pair of official pipelines to gather public opinion on what to do with the city's crucial downtown waterfront.
   The mayor has set about filling the vacuum left by the announcement that the long counted-on anchor for Canal Side, Bass Pro Shops, is no longer interested in coming to Buffalo. Instead of continuing the recriminations about who deserves the blame -- or credit -- for that turn of events, Brown is opening the floor to public ideas about what should happen now.
   And not just from those interested enough, mad enough or stands-to-profit enough to come to a City Hall meeting. No, to voice your idea, just swing by the city's website -- -- or call the city's 311 information center. ...
   [Brown asks for public input on waterfront - Buffalo News 8/10/10]
   By opening these lines of communication, the mayor runs the risk of publicizing an idea or two that he won't like, or that sound good but that will get him in trouble when it proves unworkable. Fine. That's politics.
   The city is listening. Speak now, or forever hold your peace.

- Teachers aren’t teaching? - Buffalo News Editorial 
   If anything should rock the foundation of public education in Buffalo, it is this finding by a state-appointed review team: Teachers were not teaching.
   The teachers, one hopes, at least thought they were teaching, since they knew they were being Lafayette+high+school observed. Yet the observation cropped up repeatedly in assessments of seven schools: “Direction instruction was not observed.” Teachers relied on worksheets as the primary method of instruction at high schools, while students paid little attention, with their heads on their desks and sometimes with their eyes closed.
   [Big changes recommended at 7 schools - Buffalo News 8/17/10] 
   Other criticisms followed, but unless you are blessed with a school of self-teaching students, that one observation is enough to land a school on the list of the state’s worst, which is where the seven schools in this report find themselves. What is more, Superintendent James A. Williams says many of the problems observed in the seven schools repeat themselves in buildings across the district. ...
  These seven schools—Bennett High School, Burgard Vocational High School, International School 45, Lafayette High School [in photo], Martin Luther King Jr. Multicultural Institute, Riverside Institute of Technology and South Park High School—are the canary in Buffalo’s educational coal mine. They need to by turned around so that the whole district can thrive. That begins with teachers who teach.

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News 


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