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It’s impossible to know if the rating given to Buffalo School Superintendent Pamela C. Brown is legitimate or not. The School Board that conducted the evaluation of her first year on the job messed it up so badly as to make its favorable rating all but meaningless.The board was a month late in completing the evaluation, and some members failed to explain why they gave lo…

Editorials

Corruption in state government is endemic. Its roots go deep, and include the influence of Tammany Hall, the corrupt political machine that once dominated New York City.It has also been cosseted by legions of elected officials who, predictably enough, seem to like things just as they are. Only last month, the Legislature refused to adopt reforms pushed by Gov. Andrew M. Cu…

Editorials

Independence Day is, without doubt, the most important day in the calendar of our national life. It celebrates not the gaining of the nation’s liberty from England, but the date in 1776 when the colonists announced their brash intention to break free.It was as unlikely to be achieved as it was bold to state, but five years later, after suffering that can hardly be imagin…

The staggering loss of 19 firefighters in Arizona Sunday is yet another reminder of the dangers faced by our first responders.The Granite Mountain Hotshots of Prescott, Ariz., were an elite, highly trained unit, but they were no match for the out-of-control wildfire near Yarnell. A sudden change in wind direction sent the flames racing toward the crew. They deployed emerge…

Editorials

This is not what anyone was expecting as Carl P. Paladino took his place on the Buffalo School Board. It was Superintendent Pamela C. Brown who raised eyebrows, with her plan to expand the central office and to change the titles of several positions. One demands an explanation, the other, suppression of laughter.The biggest problem with Brown’s staff changes is that she …

Erie Community College officials speak with passion and determination about their mission to prepare students for the next step, whether it is academic or employment. This region can’t have those plans advance fast enough.The commitment to the City Campus is clear, with $25 million spent there over the last five years and a commitment to workforce training.But the task i…

Editorials

Through a combination of political necessity and cold, hard reality, the U.S. Senate last week approved the most far-reaching immigration reform bill in almost 30 years. The question now is whether the House will go along. The answer is: doubtful. The House is lately moved neither by necessity nor reality.The Senate passed the bill in a 68-32 vote that drew the support of …

Editorials

Change arrives today in the Buffalo School District. That change has a name: Carl Paladino, the voluble developer turned politician turned educator who takes his seat on the School Board today. It will make a difference. The only question is, what kind?Paladino isn’t the only fresh face on the School Board. May’s elections also brought two other new board members, both…

The request to have the New York Power Authority audit the communities that have benefited from the 2007 relicensing of the Niagara Power Project seems reasonable. Huge amounts of money are involved, and the public should know that it’s being used wisely.The bill, to have NYPA or someone hired by NYPA do the audit by June 1, 2014, passed the State Legislature, and now th…

Coming soon to a computer screen near you: the blue-footed booby, the giant tortoise and the flightless cormorant.Writing “The Voyage of the Beagle,” Charles Darwin described the Galapagos Islands as “a little world within itself,” and that remains true. Now, as in Darwin’s time, this remote archipelago features species known nowhere else in the world. Now, as in…

Editorials

The just-completed session of the New York State Legislature was in equal parts productive and squandered. It offered valuable benefits to New Yorkers, especially those upstate, but those gains were accompanied by the failure to deal with problems that undermine the economy, the very concept of justice and even lives.Chief among the pluses of the session that ended June 21…

Even though some colleges have now made the submission of standardized test scores optional, the vast majority have not. Therefore, it certainly looks like standardized test scores will continue to be a required part of the college application process, at least in the near future.As a longtime university educator, I am not a fan of standardized tests. In fact, I would be i…

WASHINGTON – Background checks are back. On June 18, Vice President Biden said that five U.S. senators – enough to change the outcome – have told him they’re looking for a way to switch their votes and pass legislation requiring a criminal background check for the purchase of a firearm.Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who led the fight for the bill, is …

It’s great that frozen yogurt chains are setting up shop in Western New York, giving us another dessert option for hot summer days. But the yogurt folks shouldn’t hit too hard on the claim that it’s a healthy alternative to ice cream. While frozen yogurt may be better for you than an equal amount of premium ice cream, the shops make it as easy as possible to turn a l…

Editorials

The residents of McCarley Gardens deserve to know where they will be living once the University at Buffalo buys the property from St. John Baptist Church.The low-income housing complex in the shadow of the burgeoning Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is in limbo, as recently featured in The News. There are big plans for the Medical Campus, with thousands of new workers expect…