There’s a travesty going on in the WNY education system,” declared community activist Samuel Radford on the “We Are The Parents show on WUFO Power 96.5 radio last week.
Radford was referring to Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School (BuffSci), one of the top performing schools in Buffalo and the highest performing charter school in all of Western and Central N.Y.
Buff Sci, he pointed out, has a 94% graduation rate, as well being considered as the highest performing charter school outside of New York City in the state of New York. Proficiency rates in math and English language arts are well above the county-wide average.
With three locations (a high school on Franklin Street, a middle school on Poplar Ave. and an elementary school on Clare Street, the Education Department has recommended renewal for the school. BuffSci had also recently received approval by the state to open a second school.
Yet the State Board of Regents have voted to deny the school’s renewal.
It was a decision that shocked parents, students, educators and community leaders; and one which will impact hundreds of minority and low-income students.
“Let’s talk about the demographics of who the students at BuffSci are so there are no illusions of who we are talking about that are going to suffer because of this decision that was made,” continued Radford. Sixty five percent are Black, over 80% minority and 90% low income.
“This is a school that is not only doing what we want a school to do, it’s one of the better schools in the City of Buffalo and the regents chose to close it.”
“Buffalo Science Academy is an incredible school and they are doing something that a lot of people say can’t be done, which is educating low income families and educating Black children. If you talk about the economic demographics, 90% of their kids are low income students,” said Duncan Kirkwood, parent advocate and co-host of “We are The Parents” show.
The regents logic, he said, was that theCaronavirus pandemic was putting a financial strain on the home district and they need all the support, the resources and money they can get so they can educate the majority of students who the district serves; clearly ignoring the fact that BuffSci has one of the strongest academic records among all schools across the city. If BuffSci is shut down, the 700-plus students who attend Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School will be displaced into schools that are nowhere near as high performing.
Community leaders, as well as the school’s Executive Director Joseph Polat, are asking the regents to reconsider. On Monday pastors and business leaders joined a Zoom direct action call which included calling, emailing and tweeting Board of Regent members imploring them to reverse their
Science Charter School will be displaced into schools that are nowhere near as high performing.
Community leaders, as well as the school’s Executive Director Joseph Polat, are asking the regents to reconsider. On Monday pastors and business leaders joined a Zoom direct action call which included calling emailing and tweeting Board of Regent members imploring them to reverse their decision.
“We find the decision by the Board of Regents to be conscience-shocking,” Polat wrote in a statement. “We implore our community to rally around us to alert our elected officials that the education of our children should take priority over political agendas.”
The school currently serves students in kindergarten through second-grade and fifth-graders through 12th-graders. An expansion to include third- and fourth-graders was included in their renewal application.
He said he plans to push the state Board of Regents to have a special meeting to revisit the decision.