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What the governor had to say about education

Here's what Gov. Cuomo had to say about public education during the State of the State address today:

As we reimagine government, we must focus on our core values.

The future of our state depends on our public schools. A strong, effective school system is the hallmark of a healthy democracy.

We must make our schools accountable for the results they achieve and the dollars they spend.

I learned my most important lesson in my first year as Governor in the area of public education. I learned that everyone in public education has his or her own lobbyist.

Superintendents have lobbyists. Principals have lobbyists. Teachers have lobbyists. School boards have lobbyists.

Maintenance personnel have lobbyists. Bus drivers have lobbyists.

The only group without a lobbyist? The students.

Well, I learned my lesson. This year, I will take a second job — consider me the lobbyist for the students. I will wage a campaign to put students first, and to remind us that the purpose of public education is to help children grow, not to grow the public education bureaucracy.

Today, we are driven by the business of public education more than the achievement in public education. Maybe that’s why we spend more money than any other state but are 38th in graduation rates.

We have to change the paradigm. We need major reform in two areas:

  • -  Teacher accountability and student achievement. We need a meaningful teacher evaluation system. The legislation enacted in 2010 to qualify for Race to the Top didn’t work.

  • -  Management efficiency. We must make our schools accountable for the results they achieve and the dollars they spend.

    We cannot fail in our mission to reform public education, because we simply cannot fail our children.

    I will appoint a bipartisan education commission to work with the Legislature to recommend reforms in these key areas.


- Mary Pasciak

Live blog of School Board meeting at 3:45 p.m.

Join me today for a live blog of events in Room 801 in City Hall.

The afternoon will begin at 3:45 p.m. with public hearings on three charter schools: Pinnacle, Buffalo Academy of Science, and WNY Maritime. Then, Barbara Seals Nevergold will be sworn in as the new at-large board member at 5 p.m. After that, the educational support committee will meet, and then student achievement will meet.

- Mary Pasciak

How many parents actually attended Parent Assembly?

At the time, it was hard to tell exactly how many parents showed up in December for Buffalo's first-ever Parent Assembly.

The auditorium at Performing Arts was mostly full the night of Dec. 8, but there were a fair number of administrators, teachers, and interested residents there, in addition to parents.

Officials from the federal, state and local levels lauded the turnout, saying they'd never before seen so many parents gathered within a single district.

The goal, you might recall, was to get a parent from each homeroom in the city. That would have been 1,300 parents, had they all come.

Last night, Sam Radford reported the actual numbers.

Prior to the meeting, parents from 560 homerooms registered to come. Less than half of them -- 209, to be exact -- showed up.

"So that's low out of the available parents," Radford said. "But it's more than we ever had before."

- Mary Pasciak

Live blog of parent meeting at 6 p.m.

Join me for a live blog of the District Parent Coordinating Council meeting at 6 p.m. tonight. Topics will include security issues, student suspensions and school turnaround plans.

- 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.

@denisejewellgee |

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.

@TiffanyLankes |

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.

@BNschoolzone |

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.

@DeidreWilliamsB |