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White House rep coming to Buffalo parent meeting

While there are some local critics of the Parent Assembly meeting scheduled for Dec. 8 -- I've heard of at least one principal who doesn't want parents to attend -- apparently the White House thinks it's a pretty good idea.

City Hall stepsThe idea of the Parent Assembly, remember, is that each classroom in the district will send a parent -- that would be about 1,300 parents -- to get information first-hand about what's happening in the district, then disseminate that information with the other parents in their child's class. (Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon has directed principals to make sure they have a parent there from each of their rooms.)

Well, parent leader Sam Radford invited Arne Duncan to the meeting. Duncan can't make it, but the Department of Education is sending the person in charge of its school turnaround office.

Massie Ritch, a spokesman for the Department of Education, emailed Radford this week:

Mr. Radford,

I am sorry to have been out of touch for a while, but I am returning to you with good news. The US Department of Education would be pleased to attend the forum that you and Supt. Dixon are organizing on Dec. 8 in Buffalo. Deputy Assistant Secretary Jason Snyder, who leads ED's school turnaround office, is able to participate.

We have been in touch with Supt. Dixon, who welcomes our participation, and I will leave it to you and the school district to coordinate with Jason on details. He and the superintendent are cc'd here.

Thank you for this opportunity to talk directly to the Buffalo community, in partnership with the school district, about the important work of improving low-performing schools and involving families in a collaborative process.

Let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.

Best wishes,

Dixon said that while Snyder's in town, she'll be meeting with him and taking him on a tour of one of Buffalo's low-performing schools.

- Mary Pasciak

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

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Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

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Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

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Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

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