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Rosy picture of schools simply ignores reality

Why did the Dec. 25 letter writer paint a surreal picture of Buffalo schools? Why did he effusively praise the teachers and staff, some of whom deserve it, plus an award for courage, but too many of whom he knows should have been removed long ago because they lack the necessary skills for a very demanding job, are lazy, or plain negligent? How could he ignore the desperate mothers and fathers trying to free their children from the 44 of 58 “Focus” and “Priority” (“Failing” is no longer used to describe failure) Buffalo schools? Schools that too often lead to an inadequate education, gang exposure and unemployment that sometimes leads to jail? Might it be because he is the regional director of New York State United Teachers, which he chose not to mention?

The writer was fortunate to have the money to choose private schools for his boys’ early education that provided them the ability to test into Canisius and Olmsted High Schools. If all the Buffalo schools are what he portrays, shouldn’t he make space for the parents who desperately want their children to be in the schools his children attend, by transferring his children to East, Riverside or Bennett and ask the Buffalo administrators and teachers who pay his salary to do the same?

His proposed solution, partnering through PTOs and shared decision making, is union and administrative controlled, sometimes by contract, to deny parents any democratic say and guarantee the status quo for the adults benefiting from them. I learned this firsthand as president of the Orchard Park Citizens Group that tried to reform our Orchard Park schools.

Isn’t it time we adults put our children first by openly addressing the extremely serious academic problems our very generously funded education system has in the United States?

Tom Casey

Orchard Park