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EDUCATION Failing system affecting students

March 30, 2014

An education rally this month in Ellicottville put the spotlight on why the landscape of our current area system has been failing. Dr. Richard G....

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Mar-31-14 8:43 AM

The median income for Concord is about $145,000 and it's about 20 miles from Boston. I just looked it up, and I think it answers the question, lol!

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Mar-31-14 8:18 AM

To Paul's point, one justification that Welch's used to move its HQ to the Boston area is that it couldn't attract "high flyin'" excs who wanted to move to rural WNY.

Although, I must say, locating its HQ in Concord, Mass was an inspired decision. :-)

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Mar-31-14 7:25 AM

And last but not least, it isn't JUST money that attracts the best professionals, it's LIFESTYLYE!!!!! If you had a degree and the performance to match it, would you move to Amherst/Clarence or Brocton/Westfield? Ask any Hospital Administrator in the area what one of the biggest recruitment issues is for luring specialists here. One is that more often than not their WIVES won't come here! (Not sure how this applies to the husbands of women Dr.'s) The City area, yes, that includes Buffalo, offers great dining, plays, musicals, art shows and museums, more events in a weekend than we have in a year. Couple that with the blinders-on, almost jingoist defense of our local areas compared to places like Amherst/Clarence, and you have elected idiots who think there are millions of tourists who just can't wait to come here, as well as people who's myopia to the condition and performance of our local schools doesn't lead one to any confidence on improving them.

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Mar-31-14 7:18 AM

However, taking just poor out of the equation, I had to laugh at the 3 sides versus 4 sides of that equation!! Lake property is generally hugely valuable! It SHOULD produce way more tax money than landlocked property, parcel to parcel. That had to be the biggest joke I ever heard as an excuse. Some of those richer districts have no real industry and little business other than some retail. But they do have wealthier and much more educated PARENTS. DK's school system is in that category, from what I've gathered from earlier posts. Chautauqua County, even if it had one school district, doesn't have a lot of wealth and certainly not much industry. There really isn't a highly performing school in the entire county. Consolidation needs to happen due to affordability. I'm not sure what improvement that will create relative to performance. Different discussions, I think.

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Mar-31-14 7:12 AM

There are many reasons for poorly performing schools, and I agree, if your school is from an area with a ton of crime and single parents, statistically, no matter how much money you throw at it, you'll have a school towards the bottom. Money will not replace poor parenting. Poor neighborhood are always high crime neighborhoods, in every country in the world. High crime neighborhoods don't GENERALLY produce scientists and mathematicians. Statistically, all of that is EASILY provable. Daniel Moynihan was vilified for predicting what you see in certain communities, and he predicted it about 50 years ago. Again, money won't help.

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Mar-30-14 8:43 PM

My county-wide district for 2013-14 is spending $11,638 per pupil. I think that's lower tha n any district in Chau Cty, and far lower than, say, Dunkirk.

Are the kids short-changed? Well, the district is nationally ranked/recognized, including every high school in the county, so I guess not.

How do we do it at that price? 1 superintendent for 70,000 students; 1 purchasing department, 1 payroll department, 1 of everything . . . instead of 18 fiefdoms.

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Mar-30-14 6:28 PM

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced this Dr. Richard Timbs is completely out of his mind. Either that, or he is a devious character who knows exactly what he is doing. At most, this county needs 4 school districts. The county is not that large and bussing is not an issue if the districts are regionalized correctly. Not to merge, as Timbs suggests, is asinine. Anyone with any common sense at all can see this is not the answer. These classes can function with 20-25 students just like they did when I went to school. What a bunch of crock I heard at one school board meeting where a teacher said the students ability to learn was impaired by a class size over 13 students. This is complete non-sensed backed up by the teachers union to employ more teachers. Timbs is a disgrace and should stay home. He is nothing but a puppet for the teachers union.

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Mar-30-14 12:51 PM


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Mar-30-14 12:04 PM

Escapee, wow your assessment is one of the best I have seen on the topic. I seen a documentary on the education system in NJ, which is similar to NY, where the unions are running the show. Two interesting points were made during the documentary that I will never forget. The first, the number of Lexus, BMWs and Mercedes in the teachers lot had a correlation with the students performance. The more luxury cars in the lot, the worse the students performance. The second, a charter school's application being rejected for leaving out "PT" next to 2 employment positions in the school, indicating they were part time. Other than that, the 90 page application was perfect and this was the reason used by the NJ Commissioner of Ed. for rejecting it.

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Mar-30-14 11:35 AM

There is no way to pay good teachers what they are worth. Ironically as you try to compensate the best teachers in a strong government protected union environment like NY, you actually hurt the students. The high compensation attracts greedy opportunists that push out legitimate educators. The high cost of teachers forces school systems to limit the available curriculum. In my experience, the highest paid teachers have been some of the worst teachers, and the lowest paid teachers some of the best. In fact, as salaries have increased, I believe the profession has become more about the educational system as an institution for its own benefit, and less about educating students. Next time an “educator” tells you that taxes need to go higher “for the kids”, you should realize that any salary increases actually do more to hurt the students than help them. Consolidating schools won’t help if the employees are more concerned with their own benefits than educating students.

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Mar-30-14 10:51 AM

Every year Business First of Buffalo publishes a report evaluating the 98 school districts in Western New York. There is one thing that is consistant in their annual reporting. The wealthy districts like Clarence, Amherst and Orchard Park are always given high marks for the quality of their systems while the poor districts like Dunkirk and Buffalo always rank near the bottom in quality of education. So, we need to ask the question, are students from poor districts deficient in intellectual qualities? The answer may be that poor students simply do not have the parental support needed to succeed in school. Consider the statistics indicating that about half of todays children are born to unwed mothers and that figure rises to 72% in the minority groups. So, is it the system that is failing or is it the deterioration of the family that is at the root of the problem? We live in a society that accepts all lifestyles with the taxpayer picking up the tab and kids bearing the burden.

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Mar-30-14 10:48 AM

MatthiasJ, you can put Dr. Timbs on a pedestal if you like. As for me, I have a mind and credentials are not really worth a whole lot in real life application. The salaries and benefits of the teachers is major driving cost in public education. Charter and Parochial schools can provide a better education at a fraction of the cost. Why don't we have a voucher system. The answer is simple, the NY state teachers union would never allow it. Dr. Timbs supports the status quo. The teachers must be scared to death these mergers will take place by the egalitarian powers within the state of NY.

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Mar-30-14 10:29 AM

To imply that Dr. Timbs doesn't know what he is talking about is an insult to the man and education in general. What he is saying is that the wealthy school districts that have large business and resident tax bases should not receive disproportionate amounts of state aid. Any district that resides along a lake only has 3 sides to it's district for tax base as opposed to those that have 4 sides as do most of the wealthy districts. You also need to be aware that the consolidation in rural areas that many are spouting about does nothing to solve the problems. Because of large areas covered by rural districts, you would be putting students on buses for up to an hour or longer each way which contributes nothing constructive to their education to say nothing of additional fuel costs for the merged district and wear and tear on the buses.

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Mar-30-14 9:57 AM

If memory serves me, this Dr. Richard Timbs, executive director of SSFC is the same person who spoke to the superintendents at the taxpayer provided lunch at Webb's Inn. That day he downplayed the affect mergers would have on the area and they were a bad idea. It would not surprise me if this swindler is being paid by the SSFC and the NY State Teachers Union. Honestly, I said to myself before I even opened the article, I hope this is not that Dr. Richard Timbs again blowing hot air.

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Mar-30-14 7:00 AM

You want to bet that the school that refused that student entry asllowed out of state students because they pay higher tuition, in essence, a BUYSINESS decision. Obviously, if this girl was Salutatorian, regardless of curricula, she was a more than qualified NYS RESIDENT and STUDENT applying to a SUNY school!! She should have gotten in! I agree, there are way too many substandard and smaller school districts, but nobody wants to give up their mascot.

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