Today is the day for an urgent School Board election in Buffalo. Urgent because of what is at stake: The education of the city’s children.
It is always frustrating to see the anemic turnout for elections, especially for School Board. This year, 13 candidates are vying for three at-large seats, waging an unusually fierce battle with support from various deep-pocketed interests. Now the campaigning ends and voters will have their say.
Too often people have stayed at home when they should have been at the polls. The reasons vary, from the odd timing of an election at the start of May, to the weather (good or bad), to lack of interest in who runs the schools to the dog ate my homework. Residents should defy tradition this year and come out in droves.
The school district has been grappling with huge issues affecting the lives of students at all stages of growth. So far, the adults have faltered, failing the city’s children.
Student achievement and the district’s graduation rate remain dismally weak, even after the numbers have ticked up slightly, showing how far the children have been allowed to fall.
The school district has been grappling with how to turn the tide while at the same time maintaining the status quo.
The district needs a coherent strategy for turning around its many failing schools, but the administration has enormous difficulty in devising turnaround plans that pass state muster. Delay after delay hurts students, who can’t wait a year or two while plans are sorted out.
The School Board plays a critical role in creating the framework for a better education by hiring the right people, setting goals for them and then stepping away without trying to micromanage every decision. Poor choices or lack of attention by School Board members has hurt the educational development of too many students. Those are the students who in years to come will be the ones going out into the community and taking over for the adults who did not take the time to vote.
The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Voters get to help put students on the right path by casting their ballots in this year’s School Board election, selecting candidates they believe will best do the job. The Buffalo News editorial board has endorsed Larry Quinn, Patricia A. Pierce and John B. Licata.
Every candidate, every administrator, every teacher, every staff member and every union representative says the same thing: It’s all about the kids. Today’s the day to prove it. By voting.