BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Following-up on his commitment to visit news media outlets, School Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash has laid out his vision for the Buffalo School District, along with his priorities.
“You don’t need a lot of layers of supervision,” he told reporters at News 4. “What you need is more direct support to principals. More direct support to schools.”
Dr. Cash, who just signed a four year contract, is under great pressure to bring about immediate reforms. The state’s new education commissioner, MaryEllen Elia, has said if standards cannot be raised in the city’s low performing schools in the next year or two, the state will step in.
Superintendent Cash hopes to raise standardized test scores by double digits, by dedicating more resources to the classroom.
“Until we can create better conditions for teachers to work in, and more incentives for the top teachers to grow in the profession and be in front of students, those scores aren’t going to improve very much,” he said.
However, beginning with Buffalo’s twenty-five schools in receivership, he will ask the teachers union for more flexibility, so more time can be spent improving student competency.
“The time has to be spent wisely. It has to be with good instruction and with focus from the students,” he said.
He’ll also be asking a lot from the students and parents. No more excuses for low attendance. He also says study time doesn’t end when classes let out.
He said “I expect our young people to put in two hours a night in studying and learning what they need to learn.”
Dr. Cash wants to boost staffing levels for guidance counselors, nurses, and aids in the classroom in the early grades. He says that is more important than boosting physical education.
“I question the use in the prior year of P.E. teachers, thirty-one P.E. teachers. I wouldn’t use the money that way.”
He is also placing a high priority on student safety.
“Central Park and Fruit Belt are involved in some gang skirmishes at this time, but those things trickle into schools, so we need to have meetings on a regular basis,” he said.
He says there is adequate funding for Buffalo schools, but that the money hasn’t been spent the right way.
“I think it’s a good time for Buffalonians to say enough is enough.”