Governor’s lip service won’t help city schools

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo left Buffalo the other day, he forgot to leave “Sorry I missed you” door notes at our schools. The kind that politicians leave in between the screen and storm doors when they are campaigning and either no one is home or those at home refuse to answer their doors to yet another politician offering up empty promises.

Of all the public schools in our city, Cuomo chose to speak at the school where he was probably most comfortable. The school that is least representative of the Buffalo public education experience. City Honors is undoubtedly the Queen City’s shining star; the school that puts Buffalo on the map. His appearance there was not a coincidence. He is the most powerful man in New York State. He gets to travel where he wants to, and his staff never picks a venue without weighing the pros and cons of that backdrop.

Buffalo’s public education system is in dire straits and needs leadership, not lip service, to fix the many and varied problems. Recently Cuomo said he was our student lobbyist in chief. He must understand how Buffalo public education is in need of improvement – after all, his education commissioner dispatched a distinguished educator to provide an on-the-ground report. Did Cuomo read that report?

Perhaps the governor simply doesn’t consider us an important enough constituency to spend time with because he and his administration already know we are unable to deliver huge campaign donations or the blocs of votes that other regions can. But he cannot dispute the fact that Buffalo remains the second-largest city in the Empire State. If his “NY Rising” ad campaign is supposed to be more than a public relations stunt, Buffalo must rise as well. Without effective public and charter schools in Buffalo, where exactly does the workforce come from to fill all those new jobs his administration promises to create?

Christina Lyons