Bernadette Medige. Buffalo News. 1/18/2005.
A recent News editorial chided Buffalo Board of Education Member Catherine Collins for marching to her own drummer by opposing charter schools despite parent demand for them, and for wanting to delay the closing of three elementary schools.
We elected Collins precisely because she marches to a different drummer. She is responsive to parents who choose traditional public schools, the vast majority of those she serves. She is also astute enough to connect the dots on various issues facing the board.
Smaller classes and better programming are not demands unique to charter school parents. Parents, the Board of Education and the unions are all in agreement on this. The Campaign for Fiscal Equity is fighting -- and winning -- to make funding them a reality for all children statewide. With this funding it could be possible to keep the schools open, reduce class size and provide space and staffing to restore programming cuts.
Easing crowding will alleviate school violence, another pressing issue. Having the space will be useful when thousands of kids are moved during school reconstruction projects, and ensure space for displaced students when charter schools fail, as happened to 10,000 children in Los Angeles last year.