Parents trying to change Buffalo’s low performing schools

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – In Buffalo, parents, education experts and community leaders are joining forces with the aim to transfer students out of failing city schools.

Community activists are trying to get 10,000 parents to transfer their children out of Buffalo’s failing schools. Parents were invited to watch a movie Monday night to show how parents in a California community changed their school system.

“If parents don’t take the lead and demand their children be in schools with good standing, nothing will ever change,” said Samuel Radford, president of the District Parent Coordinating Council.

Radford is leading the efforts to take Buffalo students out of the city’s failing schools. At the Market Arcade Theater, “We the Parents” played on the big screen. It depicts how parents in Compton, California have dealt with changing their school system.

“That shows parents what it’s like when you have to fight against people who want to keep your children in failing schools and you have to break through that and get your children in schools with good standings,” said Radford.

“There’s 27,000 students enrolled in failing schools,” said Jason Zwara, executive director of Buffalo Reformed.

Public education advocates banded together and are calling for 10,000 Buffalo parents to transfer their children to a school in good standing.

“The federal and the state government says you have the right to request that your child go to a school in good standing and if they don’t have capacity they must create capacity. So this goal is to force them to create capacity,” said Radford.

“A lot of what the district has done has asked parents to wait and asked parents to hang on we are working on it, but parents and students simply don’t have that time,” said Zwara.

Rene McIntyre has three children. Her daughter is currently enrolled in a low performing school.

“I put in a transfer for her,” she said.

McIntyre said she’s spent thousands on tutoring to make sure she succeeds.

“My opinion, it’s bad because like I said my child can have a chance but what about those parents who can’t afford to get tutors to help their kids along? It’s not good at all,” she said.

Other parents agree.

“We want all of our children to be in the best performing schools in our neighborhoods and we shouldn’t have to be bused to another part of town in order to get the best quality education,” said Wendy Mistrettta, DPCC executive officer.

The deadline for parents to request a transfer is April 30th. They’ll be showing the movie again on March 27th.

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