May 7th Election is Important: We’re talking About Our Children’s Lives!

Says  Education Reform Advocate Sam Radford

Sam Radford, activist, organizer and president of the District Parent Coordinating Council  (DPCC) is urging the community to come out and vote next Tuesday, May 7 in the School Board Election.

Why should  the Black and Brown communities in particular go to the polls?

“First of all  the  majority  of the children (in public schools) are our children (45% Black, 21% Hispanic). And when it’s all said and done we don’t want other people making decisions about our children without us having input.”  

“Secondly, right now historically things are going better in Buffalo  Public Schools than they ever have,” he continued pointing to the increased  graduation rate and  high level  of community and parent engagement.  However he warned that   “whether  people accept it or not,  Buffalo is being gentrified – and if we don’t pay attention we will look up and other people will come in and get all the benefits for the work we’ve done to make it better. We have to make sure we keep our seat at the table. We have a real good opportunity (in this election) to maintain a majority minority on the board – but we’ve got to come out and vote!”

“It’s probably one of the most important elections because we’ve got a superintendent and a school board working in the right direction. This is when people who don’t want to see us do well, pounce…this is what you see with Donald Trump. People don’t realize that Western New  York is  Trump territory…he won in  every area  in WNY except Buffalo (along with Sheriff  Tim Howard).  Most of the teachers  who work in our system  are Trump supporters,” he charged. “So we can’t pretend like we’re somewhere we ain’t. People have got to vote in this election so  that we don’t move backwards!”

Low voter  turnout during school board elections in the city is chronic, he  said. On any given   election day the voter turnout is between  only 3% and 10%.

“So 3-10% of the people next week will be voting to elect  representatives who will control a $1 billion school budget,” he noted.

That, he said,  has to change. There is currently a movement to hold school board elections on the same day as the Primary elections to increase participation.  School board elections in Rochester, for example, will be held on June 25th, Primary Election Day.

He urged voters to cast their   ballot for  the candidate of their choice – even if  that candidate is running unopposed, in order to show support and guarantee their win.