Loving Cities Index gives Buffalo the bronze for student supports

Feb 21, 2018

A new multi-state report is being released Wednesday revealing how communities can combat racism by providing Loving Systems for students.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley tells us the new Loving Cities Index measured how Buffalo is doing to support student success.

“It takes both a healthy living and a health learning environment to provide students an opportunity to learn,” remarked John Jackson, CEO of Schott Foundation for Public Education. 

The Foundation is issuing its "Loving Cities Index".  Buffalo was one of ten U.S. Cities profiled and studied. This Index evaluates how well cities are doing in providing all children with supports and opportunities they need to learn and succeed, no matter their race, gender or zip code.

City Hall in downtown Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News file photo

The report found Buffalo receives a  'bronze standard' for  one of the highest levels of supports for students, 50-percent measured for Buffalo.

“Whole child supports like legal supports, access to healthcare, access to the mental health services that are necessary to increase the opportunity to learn for students,” explained Jackson. “Higher ed, those entities that are providing family supports as well as educational entities who begin to identify the whole child support that are necessary to provide students in Buffalo an opportunity to learn.”

Buffalo had the strongest level of care with some of best systems in place for mental and physical health supports. Much of the wrap around services for public school students in the city is from Say Yes Buffalo.

“Buffalo is turning the corner relative to mental health supports – if you look at the report it will indicate that it is still an area that is challenging, but from our conversations and our work with the ‘loving partners’ there in Buffalo, who work with the Say Yes initiative, it’s something that they’re also working to address,” Jackson noted.

Factors reviewed for the “Loving Cities Index” report look at a student’s access to healthy food, affordable housing, sustainable wages and public transportation.

Jackson is urging Buffalo, a highly segregated city, to work even harder to root out racism and create equity in education.

“Buffalo is also challenged by the level of economically integrated schools – the level of segregation. Buffalo is doing well – in many respects that can serve as a national model for other cities, but also as an opportunity to issue a call to action to begin to address those cross-sector supports that are still lagging,” Jackson stated.