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Response to Commissioner King's "relentless attack"

We received many responses to Commissioner John B. King Jr.'s letter stating that because of the failure of the Buffalo school district to submit an acceptable application for school turnaround grant money for Lafayette and East high schools, and because of the "continued failure" in these schools, the district must partner with BOCES to provide instruction. The decision by King throws former plans for the schools to partner with Johns Hopkins University into doubt.

I was out of the office on Friday, but School Board Member John Licata sent me an email weighing in. He wanted to know how requiring students to take how vocational classes at BOCES is going to help these high schoolers in passing their Regents diplomas in core academic areas. He also had specific questions about the impact of BOCES on Lafayette High School, where the majority of students are immigrants and refugees and have difficulty with the English language.

He writes:

Lafayette’s 10th grade has 128 limited English proficient students out of 158 students [81%] – who is going to translate for the BOCES? Ninth grade is 153 out of 191  [80%] – 11th grade is 70%

So how will this help with student achievement?

He ends, "If Johns Hopkins says it has everything it needs, how is the King able to second guess them is quite impressive."

BTF President Phil Rumore was equally aggravated by King's letter, emailing a letter to all teachers at Lafayette and East high schools on Friday encouraging them to write the education commissioner and all the members of the Board of Regents to "let them know how you feel" about King's "outrageous" letter.

Finally, Superintendent Pamela Brown also issued a response, which was measured. She spoke with The News on Thursday and subsequently issued a media statement. Below is her statement:

Superintendent's media statement regarding King's letter

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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 | djgee@buffnews.com


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 | tlankes@buffnews.com


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 | stan@buffnews.com


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 | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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