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.
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: