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Letter: Buffalo School Board is asking wrong questions

Buffalo School Board is asking wrong questions

Most News articles concerning City Honors’ racial composition cite the fact that it has disproportionately fewer minority students than does the general Buffalo Public School District’s population. This is a misguided comparison.

While true on its face, it is necessary to acknowledge that City Honors does not draw its pool of applicants only from the Buffalo Public Schools. Applicants come from private, parochial and charter schools, and even home schooling. Many of the applicants will never accept placement at any other public school if they are not accepted into City Honors. They will instead attend Canisius, St. Joe’s, Nardin, Nichols, etc., or they will enroll in suburban schools, as many families will relocate to the suburbs rather than accept any other option.

The fact is that City Honors draws an immense pool of applicants from schools that are proportionately far more “white” than the Buffalo Public Schools population in general. It should surprise no one that the pool of enrolled students is therefore also far more “white” than the public schools’ overall population. This effect is amplified when taking only the top students, as many applicants hail from families with strong academic support in the home, whereas many other students do not enjoy similar parental support.

Perhaps instead of asking why more minority students fail to make the admissions cut at City Honors, the Board of Education could more fruitfully occupy its attention with the question of why its schools generally fail to appeal to so very many non-minority students and their families. Why is it that the public school population does not more closely reflect Buffalo’s overall population? Why is it that year after year, outside of Olmsted and City Honors, the Buffalo School District is utterly unable to produce schools that attract more majority students?

Robert Biniszkiewicz

Buffalo