With my historical knowledge of, and the experiences living in all areas of the City of Buffalo for the past 45 years I could write a book. Now you couple that with over a year of participating in and out of the public arena running for the Buffalo School Board twice, I could write a novel. It would detail why there is, and will continued to be limited academic achievement and socioeconomic growth in this city. This would be the short story version.
Buffalo with its limited amount of resources that are not easy to obtain or maintain it’s called the Resource Game. In this game groups from various racial/social groups vie for these resources and at all costs maintaining them. The years of inability of the African American and other minority communities to assists it own people educational and socio economically, is rooted in this type of resources acquisition game. When you have limited resources, as you do in minority communities and you’re at the top, you have no incentive of moving others up to share them. Doing this you keep your part of the limited resources, because there are fewer participants vying for these resources. All these groups have also played the resource game with public education and that form of participation has historical never serve to benefit failing students. These groups have presented candidates for school board election that either lack a practical knowledge of public education, lack ways to inspire or develop academic achievement or are just downright disconnected from the realities of financial instability. Most of them could never successfully assist in the turning around this school system, because they will continue to be disengaged from the people they would be serving. True engagement is necessary to turn around failing students and assisting parents, through your inspiration. Unfortunately they only wish to further a political, ideological, economic agenda or to further their future political aspirations. They care nothing about fostering a shared vision that will improve academic achievement. This has been going on for years and deeply entrenched in our school system, hence the years of failing students and disengagement from parents. Therefore you create a permanent underclass and unstable base of to our population. You would think it’s all a racial thing; it’s not totally. It’s an economic thing, inner racial hierarchical thing and racial thing, in that order.
I say end the cycle of failing students this game has produced for years and vote for candidates that have a true understanding of the issues facing our school district and wish to improve public education, not tear it down. The answer in not overhaul, its the engagement between all Buffalo Public school stakeholders, working together, assisting each other in improving the Buffalo Public Schools and improving academic achievement.
Adrian Fitzgerald Harris
City of Buffalo School Board Candidate for At Large Seat
Submitted to: The Buffalo News Editorial Department April 27, 2014