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By Jonathan Treible

Buffalo schools have a wonderful carrot (read incentive) in the Say Yes to Education program. A free ride to many of the nation’s colleges and universities, including private schools, if you graduate from Buffalo public schools.

I was so excited to hear about it and understand that many others working in the field are as well. This could be a game changer. Families would have an incentive to stay in Buffalo instead of moving to the suburbs for better schools.

Ideally, families would get more involved in the education of their children.

The float-all-boats effect would come as schools improve and neighborhood conditions improved for everyone.

Where can one turn for inspiration for a program that helps kids move through to college graduation? How about Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone?

Canada has established a “conveyor belt” to move children through every grade with tutor support, medical support and social services support as well as parental education and support.

He has a proven process of getting kids to college with the tools that they need to succeed.

If people truly are interested in having the Say Yes program support the maximum number of Buffalo students, why aren’t School Board members and educators in Buffalo scrambling to learn about this proven program and trying to replicate it in some way in Buffalo?

Then there is the politicization/polarization of the School Board and the ponderous, bureaucratic school system in New York State.

How did Jeffrey Canada do it? His program is in New York State, not in Arizona, Illinois or New Orleans. Why aren’t people reading Paul Tough’s “Whatever it Takes,” which outlines Canada’s program?

There is an easy-to-understand review of the child development research and early childhood education research that supports the Harlem Children’s Zone program. The struggles to implement the conveyor belt are all described in detail. Many questions are answered.

Wake up Buffalo!

The carrot of free college tuition is available now. We just need to learn how to support getting the maximum number of kids there, and, most importantly, demand that a process/program of supporting kids and families be implemented. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Jonathan Treible, Ph.D., is a board-certified licensed psychologist. He lives in Buffalo.