To measure with time
Paladino wrong to seek Brown’s ousting
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 22:10
Last week, Carl Paladino was at it again. He attempted to assemble a coalition of fellow Buffalo Board of Education members to remove Pamela Brown as superintendent. This measure failed, as five members voted for Brown to keep her position.
Paladino wanted to terminate Brown’s contract without cause and had repeatedly denigrated her as not qualified for her position.
Brown – a graduate of Stanford and Harvard – had in the past held the position of assistant superintendent of Philadelphia. Before being named to her current position in July 2012, Brown was the senior research and planning associate at the Center for Educational Leadership and Technology in Marlborough, Mass.
So we are not quite sure from what measuring rubric Paladino is basing his dismissal of her.
“I certainly am up to the job,” she was quoted as saying in The Buffalo News. “I know there’s been some mention of my not having managerial experience. I have about 20 years of experience managing schools and large departments in other school districts. I have managed thousands of people prior to coming to Buffalo.”
Board member Sharon Belton-Cottman has vocalized opposition to the claims made by Paladino and others, saying that under Brown we have seen progress and that she simply has not been in office long enough yet to be judged completely on the merits.
“This superintendent has been abused,” she said. “She has been abused on many levels.”
Brown has only had one full academic year to affect any change. While graduation rates are still appallingly low, they have increased during her tenure thus far, according to The News.
There is no doubt that more needs to be done and we need to see serious reform take place in our public school system. Brown, however, deserves more time. Paladino’s efforts at initiating her ousting are unsubstantiated, and the fact that he could not provide cause in a termination measure elucidates that.
What is troublesome about this endeavor to remove Brown is that Paladino has shown no intention to work with her to improve the school system, but to simply try and get her out.
The problems Buffalo’s public schools face are systemic. There needs to be strong leadership able to form a cohesive sense of the vision the Board needs and the policies they need to implement for the sake of the children in our community.
Pointing fingers and trying to oust the superintendent without cause is not the way the board members should be operating if it is to seriously hope to function properly and alleviate the problems our schools are facing.
It is important as an institution that members conduct themselves in a manner congruent with the values it aims to propel forward. The Board of Education should aspire to improve our schools and spread educational opportunities throughout the city.
Paladino’s behavior reflects the very opposite of the education we want to see here in Buffalo. It is vitally important that we increase access to high-quality education for more children living in this city, but it is important that those in positions of responsibility act in a way that the values that education provides would condone.
The majority of the board members made the right call in voting to uphold Brown in her position. We are hoping Paladino accepts this and moves on.
It should be his aim at this point to work with what is available and contribute to a collaborative effort at reforming and improving our public schools.
Students in the Buffalo School System are likely to be part of the next generation of the UB community. Members of the community now should embrace the platform that Brown needs more time to implement policies and be the positive agent of change we need.
Be sure to pay attention and call the members’ offices with complaints and ideas. Improving educational systems is more than just a civic responsibility; it is a moral one.