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Education Leaders Working to Turn Around Failing Schools

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Buffalo: Education Leaders Working to Turn Around Failing Schools
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Attendance has been an ongoing issue in the Buffalo school district and education leaders say it directly affects student achievement.

As YNN's Kate McGowan reports, an effort is underway to turn around failing schools in the city and focus on providing quality education for all students.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- There was reason to celebrate at True Bethel Baptist Church Sunday.

Buffalo School Superintendent, Dr. Pamela Brown stood before about a hundred students who achieved perfect attendance throughout November.

"I'm just here to worship and celebrate life and to celebrate the success of the students who are in this congregation, who have demonstrated strong attendance and effort in school," Dr. Brown exclaimed.

She took over as superintendent just this year and said attendance has been an ongoing issue. She explained that her main focus is improving attendance numbers.

"We're looking at the numbers this year and we're already seeing that the month of November is better than it was of November last year. So we're continuing to push for stronger and stronger attendance."

At the same time, just blocks from True Bethel, the District Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo kicked off its week-long campaign to close all failing schools, and re-open them as district sponsored charter schools.

That means 45 out of 57 Buffalo Public schools.

"Our call is for all schools to be converted to district-sponsored charter schools," said the coordinating council's president, Samuel Radford. "Some schools may be ready, others not, but we want to move forward with the ones that are."

The campaign will work to collect 5,000 signatures, which will then be reviewed by Dr. Pamela Brown and the school board.

Radford, who is leading the effort said there are more than 26,000 students in Buffalo who are eligible to transfer to a non-failing school but there's not enough options.

"You can predict what a person's ability to go to college will be by their zip code. We want to change that," he exclaimed.

Dr. Brown said she's not for or against the idea, but is just dedicated to providing quality education for all.

"I don't think it matters if they're charter or traditional public or private or whatever, we have to make sure every child gets a great education."

The campaign will take place at various events throughout Buffalo this entire week.

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