Her approach to handling school discipline problems in Buffalo makes Amber Dixon appear weak and part of the status quo.
As usual, it will be up to me to be the voice of reason with the charade that is the city of Buffalo school system. Interim superintendent Amber Dixon missed a great opportunity to show leadership and make actual change this week. The topic was discipline. Instead of talking about what is actually taking place in the schools each day, Dixon caved in to the parents' flawed beliefs that the teachers and principals are somehow at fault...
“Too many students are suspended from school on a daily basis,” she said. “We’re concerned at every level. We’re particularly concerned at the elementary level. We know we can’t solve our attendance problem when we’re walking kids out the door on a daily basis.”
She rolled out 11 recommendations, some intended to take effect very soon, and others that are longer-term. The recommendations, which were generated by an advisory group following four public hearings, are subject to board approval.
Clearly, the "advisory group" needs some advising from the Blogger. Instead of talking about the attitudes of the students being suspended, they and Dixon believe it is the principals who simply don't have the tools to "understand" them...
Dixon is recommending that principals be trained on how to use the conferences and that the new requirement take effect Feb. 27.
What an insult to the principals. They need to be trained on how to use conferences? As I've said before, the parents in question expect the teachers to take the place of the child's actual parents. At no point in the meeting (or at any of the other meetings) has Dixon or a board member stood up for the people on the front lines (or for the many students who do behave). It is a classic cop out. We (society) continue to not hold the students themselves accountable for their atrocious behavior. And when I say atrocious, people who have never walked the hallways of a Buffalo Public school have no idea. These are not kids being suspended for chewing gum or wearing hoodies. These are students who continuously choose to disrupt the educational process simply because they can.
From the youngest possible age, students should be taught to respect education. If they have not learned this from home, it is not the fault of teachers or the principals. Students showing continuous disrespect towards adults should be removed from mainstream schools (away from good students) and placed into alternative schools. In other words, the adults in the building should be allowed to take back their schools. According to the likes of Dixon, it is the adults, and not the disrespectful students, who need to change.
In the Buffalo schools, we are seeing the results of parents who would rather be their child's friend than teach them right from wrong. We are seeing the results of absentee fathers and children raised by their grandparents (because mom isn't done partying yet). Instead of confronting the truth, Amber Dixon threw all the teachers and administrators under the bus this week. She missed a great opportunity to stand up for what is right. It will be now up to "Pinocchio" Petrucci and the rest of the board to stand up for the teachers and talk about the real issues at play. Don't hold your breath. It'll be a cold day in hell before any of them show the slightest sign of courage.