Several years ago, my great friend Dr Henry Louis Taylor took me on a tour of the East Side of Buffalo where his students were part of a movement to get neighborhood residents to take the lead in shaping their communities future. One of the stops of the tour was East Side High School, where Dr Taylor said," I want you to meet someone who reminds me of you.". He then took me up to the principal's office where I was introduced to a powerfully built white man with a shaved head who looked to be in his late 30's . His name was Casey Young.
After the introductions, Mr Young gave me a brief synopsis of his own life before coming to this new position. which had been filled with hardship and challenges. He then proceeded to talk about East Side High School. "I love this school and I love the kids here" he told me, "but they are going to get rid of me in three years. No matter what I do, my graduation rates probably won't meet the state standard because I have been sent all the kids with low test scores that other schools have pushed out. Of my 163 freshmen, 160 scored 1's and 2's on the state tests. I am going to give them everything I have, but I am playing with a stacked deck."
After I digested what Mr Young had told me, I toured the school, talked to some of the teachers and students and came away with a sense that some real idealism, energy and hope were present in the building. But I pondered the numbers that Mr Young had given me, and knowing the rigidity of the state education department, wondered whether the scenario he gave me would come true
Then yesterday, I found out, that Mr Young was not wrong. On a Buffalo education page, I saw an article which said that Mr Young was being brought up on by local education officials, which were under huge pressure from the State Education Department to close low performing schools, on charges of tampering with graduation rates.
This accusation had set up written all over it! What a disgrace! When you find a principal with the passion and energy Casey Young has, who loves working with children others have rejected, you need to support him in every way possible, not harass him and remove him.
But in the rush to close public schools, even those with the long and noble history East Side has, and replace them with charters, the kids interests easily get lost
This is yet another reason why school closings are community destroying and the receivership program must be ended.
Defend Casey Young! Stop Receivership in Buffalo and New York State!