All three of my children are in the Buffalo Public Schools. Since one of my children is receiving special-educa tion services, public education is not an option, it is the only option. Even though my options are limited, I like the diversity of abilities, socioeconomic backgrounds and racial differences to which my children are being exposed in Buffalo.
I believe in public education and am committed to making the schools the best they can be for all children. However, I am deeply concerned about the public blame that has been leveled at Albert Thompson as superintendent of the Buffalo schools. He was hired when the Board of Education was in a political struggle, and there were very few, if any, candidates willing to do the job. Mr. Thompson was given the job along with minimal support from the board.
Since that time, both the Board of Education and the community at large have publicly criticized him with regu larity. With the kind of treatment he has received in a thankless job, why does anyone think that there is anyone better out their who would take a job with the probability of being scape goated the way Mr. Thompson has? It's only a short-term solution to blame Mr. Thompson for the ills of a school system that struggled under two decades of funding neglect and the problems that infect all of the Big Five school districts in New York State.
The atmosphere of paranoia fostered in our schools by a lack of constructive leadership from everyone is far more detrimental to the future of the schools than anything Mr. Thompson does or does not do in the next year-and-a-half. Why don't we support the superintendent we have by helping him do his job better, and create the kind of environment that will attract another visionary superintendent like Eugene Reville? Mr. Reville didn't do it alone; he had Joe Murray and Albert Thompson on his team. No one can do it alone, not Eugene Reville and not Albert Thompson.