Present circumstances make it now appropriate I speak on the matter of Dr. Pamela Brown; superintendent of the City of Buffalo Public School District and her legacy. Dr. Brown and the district; as reported in the May 16, 2014 Edition of The Buffalo News, are working on an amicable separation between the two. With the recent school board election results on May 6th I’m sure giving her a bigger shove than the 500,000 buyout offered her in December; it was time to end the nearly two year experiment, that from my perspective was doomed from the start. It also might have lead to the end of the Buffalo Public School system as we presently know it. Because some refused to determine outcomes by looking at a situation with a different perspective, the flood gates have opened on a wave of reform that could change the Buffalo Public School District.
Dr. Pamela Brown came to Buffalo in June of 2012 with much fanfare and approval of most of the social, political and economic power structure in the City of Buffalo. The only real objections coming from me; Adrian Fitzgerald Harris and Carl up the block. My objections were based on experience and knowledge, two vital components any new superintendent must have to run a large school district successfully. Dr. Brown hand neither the experience in dealing with the day to day issues of district the size of this City or knowledge of the district, two vital components of running the district effectively. Carl up the block objections were based on a conspiracy that encompassed multiply entities, but when you have millions of dollars people listen to you and the other person gets to blog about it. Carl up the block was right on one level and that is nothing in this city will ever be examined without the perspective of race; he gambled on the rest and hit the jackpot.
To go through all Dr. Brown’s miss steps over the past two years would take up to much writing space and time. I will say they speak to the issues of knowledge and experience lacking by her that were the main reasons I never supported her being hired initially in June of 2012. You couple that with her unwillingness to work with all public education stakeholders; most notably the District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC) and her tenure might be considered the worst of any that have occupied the post. I have no faith in the leadership of the DPCC, but they are legally recognized by the Board of Education to represent the concerns of SOME parents in the district. I’m sure Dr. Brown was thinking the DPCC was like some old PTO group when she first got here, I’m sure now she would have worked them more honestly and openly, knowing this would have kept her employed. The DPCC has partnered with Buffalo RefomEd, with a focus of remaking the district. Buffalo ReformEd is the pro charter school, common core, parent trigger, pro voucher and wish to remake the Buffalo Public Schools in that vision. This vision is shared by present school board members Jason McCarthy, James Sampson and Carl up the block, along with newcomers Larry Quinn and Patti Pierce. By Dr. Brown not dealing with the DPCC she made that group and Buffalo ReformEd stronger in world of public opinion. These groups have taken every opportunity to say look at the mess we a in and only we can make it better and the public believes them. They know they have education law and the state now backing them; to the tune of 36 million in unreleased funds for the school districts unwillingness to meet with the DPCC. The 2,000 student transfers last year, the 10,000 this year is a combination of the DPCC and Buffalo ReformEd in a effort to push their agenda and weaken the Buffalo Public School District. Dr. Brown might have weathered the other issues, but the constant and relentless pressure put on her by the DPCC has been a continuous public reminder of her overall failures and two black eyes to the district.
So how did the shortsighted hiring of Dr. Pamela Brown possibly create a historic change in the Buffalo Public School District? Without her hire there is nothing for Carl up the block, James Sampson, Buffalo Reformed, DPCC to complain about, no cause to rally around to make them stronger. If the school board would have hired someone that was trusted and respected in the educational community, then we would presently be working under a different set of circumstances. Instead they chose to examine and determine outcomes through their normal perspective that was biased and ineffective. This isn’t the first time this has happen. In 1996 James Harris was hired under the same perspective and luckily with far better results. Because a few refused to change the way they look, we all could see a different Buffalo Public School District.