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Letter: Teachers union stands up for McKinley’s students

Sadly, Rod Watson and The Buffalo News chose to praise and support a principal that has severely undermined the education of students while attacking the teachers and union attempting to stop the damage that is and has been done to the students at McKinley High School.

We sent Watson State Education Department statistics that detailed how, under the previous principal, Crystal Barton, the graduation rate at McKinley (2016-2017) improved from 81% to 84% (+3%), the Regents graduation rate improved from 66% to 69% (+3%), the dropout rate remained at 8%, the dropout rate for African-American students dropped from 8% to 5% (-3%), and the dropout rate for Hispanic/Latino children dropped from 8% to 7% (-1%).

In stark contrast, during principal Marck Abraham’s assignment at McKinley (2017-2018), the graduation rate dropped from 84% to 77% (-7%), the Regents graduation rate dropped from 69% to 64% (-5%), the dropout rate increased from 8% to 9% (+1%), the dropout rate for African-American students remained constant and the dropout rate for Hispanic/Latino students increased from 7% to 26% (+19%).

We have been advised that the latest statistics for McKinley High School students are even more discouraging.

In addition, out of concern over detrimental school teaching and learning conditions, e.g. students skipping school, gambling by students, no discipline for students arriving late, disruptive students wandering the halls, disruptions outside the school at dismissal:

• Teachers at McKinley (2017-2018) overwhelmingly, despite fears of reprisal by the principal, for the first time in BTF history, passed a vote of No Confidence in Abraham.

• Teachers at McKinley (2018-2019) in response to a BTF climate survey, indicated:

90% - Learning environment, poor and non-existent;

92% - Administrative leadership, poor and non-existent;

86% - Staff morale, low and very low;

89% - Teachers are concerned with student safety;

87% - Teachers fear retaliation from principal.

Yet, Watson attempts to ignore and portray the teachers’ concerns of the devastating impact of Abraham on McKinley’s students as “union attacks.” While the superintendent and Board of Education refuse to take action on behalf of McKinley students’ education, or lack thereof, Buffalo teachers and their union, the Buffalo Teachers Federation, will not.

Philip Rumore

President

Buffalo Teachers Federation

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