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Letter: Credit the superintendent with trying to lift schools

Credit the superintendent with trying to lift schools

I was dumbfounded after reading your editorial regarding the growth of Buffalo’s teaching staff in the face of shrinking student enrollment. For many years, your paper has denigrated the Buffalo Public School system for the lack of student achievement and low graduation rates, yet never offering suitable possible solutions to improve what many believe to be lackluster district performance.

These disappointing conditions were and are a direct reflection of the incredibly high numbers of students who sorely need extra assistance to reach New York State benchmarks and move on to become responsible citizens and contribute to the positive growth of our city and region.

Buffalo schools have begun a trend toward higher graduation rates and test results. It is astonishing then, when a competent superintendent of schools who is actively pursuing options in an attempt to rectify the shortcomings, that the first thing your editorial department does is suggest the only viable response is to cast aspersions on his programs and the teachers of the city.

I have been a lifelong resident of Buffalo with the exception of an eight-year stay in New York City, and a high school teacher in this city for the past 27 years. I cannot imagine any other career that is more frustrating but at the same time also more rewarding then teaching.

I have worked with over 3,500 students during my career, many have succeeded but unfortunately many have not, and these are the individuals that haunt me every day. I wonder what more could have been done to assure their success. I am sure that more intensive one-on-one tutoring and smaller class size would have led to a significantly different and more desirable outcome for the many who did not succeed, and for our community.

Rather than subverting the attempts of educational experts to employ new methods that are based in solid scientific pedagogy, you might consider wishing the superintendent and his staff the best of luck in their attempt to provide equal opportunity for all students.

Eric Simonsen


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