The leader of the Buffalo Public School District discussed critical education issues on Facebook Live in the WNED | WBFO studio Wednesday. WBFO Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley says Superintendent Kriner Cash answered a variety of crucial questions posed by her, as well as Buffalo News Education Reporter Tiffany Lankes and the live Facebook audience.
“Segregation is a complex kind of an issue. Schools usually are a microcosm of the rest of society,” remarked Superintendent Cash.
Cash was responding to a question about the issue of high segregation in the Buffalo region and how to improve equity in the schools. Cash said it appears to be a "way of life" in the region and believes district schools are more integrated than the rest of the community.
“What I’m going to do is simply say that I believe in a well-integrated society. I believe in a school system that should be at the table with all of the people who live in our city and the more we're together in learning from one another, the greater we're going to be. I'm going to do my part about it,” responded Cash.
Cash says the most important parts of his New Education Bargain are rigorous early education and reducing class size. He noted that one year ago the city had many of failing high schools, but now they are innovation and community schools. However, Cash said the district continues struggling with poor attendance rates, which he says are the worst he's ever seen.
“I’ve said from the beginning, it’s got to get into the 90s for both high school and elementary. I’m still have not quite figured out totally what the challenge is completely here for the attendance issues,” said Cash.
Cash says overall, he's pleased with his teaching staff, but admitted there are situations when some might need to be removed.
“I have taken much more aggressive action than any of the prior administrations on removing unfit staff period of whatever level they teach – teachers, administrators,” Cash noted.
Buckley also asked Cash if protests against school board member Carl Paladino have been a distraction as the district awaits a hearing next month by the State Education Commissioner.
“Would you consider asking her to move it to Buffalo so that people can participate from the public perspective?” asked Buckley.
“No. Not at this point. I’ve taken a position from the beginning. I’ve made my statement some board meetings ago about it and because it is in the process – a very delicate process. I can’t really comment on that case at all that’s in the commissioner’s hands. That’s up to her to do what she believes is best and that’s where it is,” responded Cash.
“I assume you’ve been subpoenaed to be there as well?” Buckley questioned. “Not yet. I have not,” replied Cash.
Buckley also asked if it has been a distraction to the work of the district. “I can’t comment on that,” answered Cash.
Cash says he continues to ask parents to be engaged with their children's education as he remains committed to improving public education in the city.
When asked what letter grade he would give himself as he nears two years as the leader of the city’s school district, Cash replied, “I always am trying to improve. Its good progress, but still in need of improvement, so I would say something like a B.”
The superintendent told us his bargain offers access, quality and opportunity in all the schools and it is now up it is up to parents and students to embrace it.
You can view Cash's entire interview on the WBFO Facebook page.