State education commissioner: District leadership hinges on student performance - The Buffalo News

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State education commissioner: District leadership hinges on student performance

State Education Commissioner John B. King this morning stopped short of saying the Buffalo school superintendent should resign.

But he didn’t exactly give Pamela Brown a ringing endorsement when reporters asked about her future.

“It’s not our place at the state level to make judgments about superintendent performance but ultimately the measure of effectiveness of the Buffalo city school district board and central office leadership will be the learning outcomes for students, and the learning outcomes are not in place right now,” King said.

Before a morning tour of Amherst High School to talk about teacher evaluations, King was asked about recent struggles in the city schools and increased talk that some officials might be on their way out.

“I don’t think anyone is happy with where student achievement is in Buffalo,” he continued. “They have a responsibility again to lead, and I hope that the public will watch carefully what they’re doing and hold them accountable for leading.”

King went on to say that he was “disappointed” with Buffalo’s progress on turnaround plans for East and Lafayette high schools and other failing schools throughout the district.

“But I try to remain optimistic given the technical assistance we’ve provided and given their increased clarity about the need for urgency, that they’ll be able to move forward effectively,” he said. “At the end of the day, that board and that superintendent have a responsibility to lead, and that’s their challenge.”

Fielding questions about a possible state takeover of city schools, he said he would advocate for a proposed plan that would allow the Board of Regents to remove control of failing districts from local hands “because we believe that if governance is a chronic problem in the underperformance of a district, the Board of Regents should have the authority to intervene.”

He said he expects Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to take up the issue in 2014.


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