State missed a chance to improve two schools

We’re all aware of the dysfunction of the Buffalo School Board and its inability to lead our schools. Now it seems that the State Education Department is setting a new example for dysfunction.

The state missed its biggest opportunity yet to help the children in Buffalo by not recommending the approval of charter applications for East High School and Waterfront School. Federal law allows for the turnaround of a failing public school by closing it and restarting it as a public charter school. The state proved its lack of understanding of the law by not developing a clear process for approval of charter restarts. How does one hand not know what the other is doing? It is typical bureaucratic dysfunction at its worst.

Additionally, the group proposing the applications has broad expertise with successful school operations. This includes Tapestry Charter School, which is listed on the State Education Department’s website as one of the top charter schools in the state for successful practices.

With 44 of 57 schools in failing status, affecting 26,000 of the 32,000 students in the district, this decision should have been a no-brainer. How many more generations of children are we willing to throw away before the adults figure it out? The only way around the toxic relationship between the unions and the district is to close failing schools and restart them as public charter schools. By doing so, resources go directly to the school and to the programs that benefit kids most.

Does the community realize that half of our city tax dollars go to support this broken system? The state has a responsibility to this community by making good on its promise to close failing schools. Time to wake up, speak up and do what is right for kids.

Kenneth Peterson