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Transfers and appointments in the buffalo schools: what happened to the Puerto Ricans?

July 24, 2011

When José Feliciano performed at Kleinhans Music Hall last year, he told the audience in Spanish, “nosotros estamos jodidos.” He made references to the Kennedy Awards Honor slights of Latino artists neglects to recognize them instead they receive recognition through the Hispanic Heritage Awards which Feliciano believes is not the same.

Likewise, “nosotros estamos jodidos”  after district officials short-changed our kids again as it has done every  year in July and August when school leaders are either transferred or appointed to school buildings. Even a Puerto Rican  leader commented it’s a shame and I’m not too happy with the changes.  You see, every August sometimes in July the most important things happen in the Buffalo Schools called  “Administrative transfers or appointments.

That’s when district officials decide who gets transferred or appointed to jobs in the schools as administrators  either principals or assistant principals. The Administrative Updates dated July 20, 2011 included no Puerto Ricans though now they make up over 15% of the student population in the Buffalo Schools. These children have the highest drop-out rates, lowest attendance rates, lowest graduation rates so how is it that they get forgotten when The  Council on Great City Schools report last year indicated the population especially English Language Learners had the lowest graduation rates in the state at about 21% vs 55%? And the report cited how…“changes in school leadership  contribute to inconsistent ELL programming. Some principals seemed very unfamiliar with their bilingual/ESL programs or the instructional approaches behind them.”

Why Puerto Rican children subjected to a process that the data shows doesn’t work for them? Why community leaders continue to sit on the fence on this issue while Puerto Rican children suffer the most in our schools?   Upon announcing his retirement this year, the School Board directed the Superintendent of Schools James Williams this year to do something about the low graduation rates of African-American males in the Buffalo Schools though the ESL have a worse record. And the graduation and drop-out rates of Latinos are lower than African-Americans and whites during 2009 and 2010 in the Buffalo Public Schools.

How many reports, studies, data is it going to take for the Puerto Rican children to have school building leaders knowledgeable about their culture, history, language and the pedagogy behind the bilingual programs in some of these schools? Basta ya!

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