Forcing Brown out won’t help schools

Well-meaning citizens, with the help of the mayor, attempted to buy out Superintendent Pamela Brown’s employment agreement. To her credit, Brown refused the $500,000 offer. Buying out the superintendent is another step down the road of failure, dysfunction and disorganization that the board, the city, the community and the school unions have followed in the past that resulted in depriving generations of children the right to high-quality education.

A Buffalo superintendent begins with four strikes against success:

1.) An intransigent teachers union whose record speaks for itself.

2.) A management union that is fully as intransigent as the teachers union. Could any business be successful if the CEO could not count on the efficiency and loyalty of management?

3.) Other entrenched labor groups that are needed for operations.

4.) An employer, the board, that is hostile to its employees.

Now there is a fifth – hostile community leadership.

Past superintendents used employees who were not union members and outside consultants to do district work. The superintendent needs efficient and loyal employees. The most recently terminated consultant remarked how complex it is to administer the Buffalo School District. Could a new superintendent do a better job?

A new superintendent will have to learn the same, sad facts that Brown learned with the same chances of success. The board has accomplished leaders who could counsel the superintendent and work to untangle the complexity of the district. Together they could make success in school for all of our children not just a goal but a reality. Do we need the new year to bring continued acrimony and dysfunction – futile resolutions for the board to resign and fire the superintendent?

Frederick B. Cohen