Concerned citizens, community activists, and clergy leaders came together on Monday evening at the Friendship Baptist Church for an Emergency Town Hall Meeting to address the crisis affecting school children.
For Immediate Release: August 1, 2016
Contact: Jessica Mokhiber, (518) 573-0516, firstname.lastname@example.org
Buffalo Charter School and District Representatives, Clergy, and Community Activists Hold Emergency Town Hall Meeting to Address Educational Crisis
Buffalo, NY – Concerned citizens, community activists, and clergy leaders came together on Monday evening at the Friendship Baptist Church for an Emergency Town Hall Meeting to address the crisis affecting school children.
The open event was a chance to unite the community and discuss ways to make the educational system in Buffalo better for its children. At least 100 people from the community attended. There was also a robust panel question-and-answer session with clergy and education leaders.
The Northeast Charter Schools Network (NECSN) was one of the event’s hosts. NECSN’s Western New York Advocacy Manager Duncan Kirkwood said, “There is no time to wait if we are serious about making sure our children are better suited for college than prison. We need solutions. Thousands of futures have been squandered by this failing system. As a part of this discussion we must look at what our city’s charters are doing differently, and many times, better in educating kids. Charter schools are allies; we need to work together in this fight.”
In addition to the Northeast Charter Schools Network, activists and leaders from several groups and churches attended, including:
- The Buffalo District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC)
- Black Lives Matter Buffalo
- Friendship Baptist Church
- Young Black Democrats
- CAO Better Schools Better Neighborhoods
- Bethesda World Harvest International Church
- Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals
DPCC President Sam Radford said, "It's not an overstatement to say we have a crisis and opportunity on our hands. It's time to meet the needs of Buffalo's school children who are suffering. Children from the poorest and lowest performing schools deserve the same options and education that children in wealthier neighborhoods have access to. But we can't do this alone, and that is why we need to come together, break down barriers, and have the conversations that will lead to solutions."
Pastor Edward Jackson of Friendship Baptist Church said, “I am proud that our church is part of this event and this dialogue. We must come together to find ways to support all of our city's school children. That means bringing more voices to the conversation. We need allies in this fight. Buffalo's children and our future depend on this."
Friendship Baptist Church Minister Joshua Hutchen said, "All of us want to see a better Buffalo and that starts with education. Schools can be bastions of hope but too many of our kids are slipping through the cracks. Let's start working together to make sure we can catch them before they fall."
Bishop Michael Badger of Bethesda World Harvest International Church said, “The beginning of change for inner-city youth starts with education; if we change the education system we change the future.”
Here are just some of the issues facing Buffalo school children:
- Only 1 out of every 10 students reads on grade level
- Not even 6 out of 10 kids are graduating on time – and Buffalo’s four-year graduation rate is among the worst in New York State
- Buffalo has one of the highest drop-out rates of all districts statewide
- More than 90% of students of color (Black and Hispanic) enrolled in a Buffalo traditional school did not pass the NYS 3-8 Math or ELA exams last year
For more on Buffalo’s schools, click here for a fact sheet.
For photos from the event, follow the hashtag #716EdCrisis on Twitter.
About the Northeast Charter Schools Network: The Northeast Charter Schools Network is the membership and advocacy organization for the more than 250 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools.
90 State Street, Suite 1030, Albany NY, 12207