City Journal Winter 2016

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Ben Boychuk
Buffalo’s Parent Revolt « Back to Story

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The white kids and asian kids are performing just fine in America's schools. Conservatives want to dismantle public education in order to feed the religious beast, while liberals look for someone to blame for the continual failings of black America. I hate to break it to you readers, but the adults in America that are lazy and dysfunctional have lazy dsyfunctional children. City Journal likes to say 'tisk, tisk' to how these adults destroy America, but if these same adults want to take over the schools all of a sudden they are the genius of America.
I hate to tell you, but a major reason education is in decline, especially in urban areas (besides mass immigration), is poor parenting. As one commenter posted, children today are more often than not very poorly prepared for learning. So now you want these same parents who did lousy jobs raising their kids getting control of the schools?
B. Samuel Davis July 12, 2011 at 5:38 PM
Another example of the harmful effects of government unions. The schools ARE there on behalf of the parents - they are the ones who ultimately pay the bills.

Something is terrifically skewed here - after all the government is supposed to be us, not some entity onto itself. If the schools aren't working, these parents are doing exactly the right thing - but they should also be talking to other parents, the more that get involved the better.

And just how long it is going to take before we all realize the danger of government unions, and especially allowing such unions to make donations to the very people who call the shots on wages, salaries and working conditions.

I mean...really, shouldn't we have realized that before the gov't i.e. US, allowed teachers to unionize and pay off politicians?
I would be interested to know the statistics on the student population as well. How many came from single family homes?? This nightmare of our schools is being repeated across NYS in the cities and in rural area. Property tabes sky rocket and the schools continue to decline, this has been the story for over 30 years and I believe it is the result of the interference of the federal government and their liberal policies that have infected our school systems and are reducing to the lowest common denominator.

Tenure for teachers is simply preposterous and unions for public officials counters the concept of "public" jobs. Until local schools begin to address the federal and state mandates, the parents, who should NOT apologize for having the audacity to suggest that the have at least an equal share in the say of the education for their children, will be facing an uphill battle against their own government. It is the parents who pay the salaries and the bills.

This is an encouraging start for parents and students rights. Maybe we are beginning to wake up and take back our schools and the future of our country. Let' s hope this bill effort spreads I NY.
The education cartel will have to be excised and utterly gutted if our children are to ever again have a chance to successfully compete in the world. The NEA-DemocRAT feedback loop, where public money is circulated from the politicians to the unions back to the politicians will have to be officially made what it is - a crime.
The irony of parents needing the NY Legislature to pass a law permitting them some direct input into how their schools are managed proves that both gravitation and irony permeate the universe. (For those who miss the irony: Who wrote the laws which prohibit parents from controlling their children's educations, do you suppose?)
Public schools and the education-credential complex are accurately described as Stalinist. You have to send your child to the school you are assigned to (unless you've got the cash to send him/her to a private school). Why not let a parent place the child in any school within the district?
I have never liked the word "stakeholders," a word made up by a bureaucrat if I ever heard one.

Well, OK then, who are the "stakeholders" here if not the parents and taxpayers?
I think this is fantastic. It is the parents who should have the say about how well the schools are doing based on how the children are doing. sounds to me like the teachers union is scared that they will be held accountable and have to actually do their job or risk being replaced at some point. parents being active in the school system is what has been lacking for many years, kudos to these fine people. I hope many more parents follow suit. maybe we will see real progress and students graduating with real knowledge and not just a piece of paper.
As Al Sharpton has said, education reform is the most important civil rights issue in the US. Liberals whine about income disparity: what do you expect when most products of our urban public schools are illiterate and illnumerate? We spend more of education than any other country and have little to show for it. The USSR proved that state monopolies don't work; only competition works. Time for vouchers.
What becomes obvious here is that it is the cover-up of the Atlanta test cheating reveals the lack of integrity of those caught in its web. The lack of integrity begins with students who refuse to prioritize education in their lives and manipulate the various actors to hold themselves blameless. The lack of integrity continues with parents bullying teachers and administrators with “NOT my Johnny” to cover-up their child’s lack of performance at school. The lack of integrity flows to the teachers who are unwilling to speak publicly in regards to the real issues around discipline and student behavior and their disruption of the education process in the classroom. The lack of integrity appears in the principal’s offices when they seek to put a lid on real issues and work overtime to project an illusion of calm to all. School administrators then play politics with failing schools and leave critical gaps in our children’s education. Federal and state Education officials implement new programs to demonstrate their engagement while failing to delineate the basic responsibilities of the general public in the education process.
I think more than anything else we first need a change in postmodern methods of parenting, though I don't expect eagerly blame-shifting parents to buy into the idea of their share of responsibility in helping create the current educational madness. As conservative critic Theodore Dalrymple (as well as the Coleman Report) pointed out long ago, students arrive in schools who are increasingly unsocialized to learn. Parents and peer group have perhaps an even greater role in student failure than teachers, but it's much easier to assign to teachers sole responsibility for student success or failure. The student, as contemporary parents and current educational theory agree, is just a passive recipient, a potential Helen Keller merely waiting for a magical Annie Sullivan to carry him or her across the finish line of success. When are we finally going to recognize the key roles of ALL the players in the current educational decadence and blame more than just the easiest targets at hand?
Western NY has a problem...much like the rest of the country. Money is poured down a rat hole and the students are failing miserably. More money seems to generate lower test scores!!

I'm glad to see that parents are doing more than taking an interest in their schools. For far too long parents have 'assumed' the schools were meeting their children's needs and the parents' cultural and moral beliefs. Not so it seems and why? Let's find out and let's make a change....I mean a real change.

Just as the government works for us, so too do the teachers and school administrators work for the people who pay their salary and the bills.

Why would anyone question parents who want a major say in their child's future? Why indeed.
Dear Ben, I certainly applaud you continuing to make the effort to bring this very sad story of dismal school performance to the public. Buffalo is a shadow of its self and certainly didn't help itself as it squandered the ability to provide the businesses there with students able to perform as required. Thanks again for this and I signed up sometime ago for the City Journal. It is a wonderful selection of timely articles.
Thank you for such solid reporting, you cannot know how I crave a simple story, well told. Well done to you, and hooray for the parents that are persisting with a solution no matter what it takes.

The infuriating thing about bureaucrats is that they disdain those they are charged to care for - every single time. It's all about their personal well-being and comfort, not the kids, not the future.
I went to meetings during our local schools' last attempt to pass an operating levy increase in the county. Listening, the main complaints of parents were over matters that were due to union success in contract negotiations or state and federal mandates. County and local administrators couldn't do anything about those if they wanted to. Parents pushed. Voters pushed back. The levy was defeated. What to do? The parent trigger won't be able to effect real change in the school systems. The power for that kind of change doesn't flow from them.
Jesse C. Anderson July 08, 2011 at 7:24 PM
It about time that some people's stand up, too bad that my have make it though and get a good education along with a job,I stood with mine back in the late 80s and 90s that the real reason that they are where they are today.