Orfield could be catalyst that unifies Buffalo School factions

Buffalo School Board of Education

By: Mike Madigan

Activist Gary Orfield is currently investigating Buffalo Public Schools. The investigation was initiated as a result of several Buffalo parents’ complaints regarding segregation and potential related civil rights concerns focused on the five criterion based schools and their student entrance selection/exclusion process.

Programs Orfield advocates for include social promotion of minority students (LINK), busing and other forms of mandated desegregation programs (LINK).

In the 70’s Orfield advocated for forced busing and after its inception he used the forced busing programs as a large social experiment to study its impact on those in the program.

The children being bused were Orfield’s all too frequent unwilling guinea pigs for his studies. Many of these children suffered negative outcomes due to the breakdown of community and parental involvement in schools. It was well documented that these programs increased rather than decreased tension between races.

Orfield’s assumption was and continues to be that seating a white student next to a black student improves educational outcomes. Significant studies show that busing had more negative and few if any positive outcomes. Remarkably, in 1992 Orfield himself, who continues to this day to support and defend busing, “found black and Hispanic students lacked “even modest overall improvement” as a result of court-ordered busing”. (LINK) 

Orfield advocates against Charter schools, which he surprisingly feels unfairly target blacks for enrollment in order to segregate and isolate them. Similarly, Orfield strongly opposes neighborhood schools for the same reason he opposes Charters.

The Buffalo school community needs to be made aware of who this person is and what he advocates for before he releases his findings. There have been complaints filed against him related to alleged misconduct regarding how he manipulates data in order to draw his pre-determined conclusions.

The concern regarding Orfield being an advocate rather than an unbiased researcher/investigator is validated in his complaint letter regarding Carl Paladino (LINK) where he indicates clearly that he is still in the early phases of some data collection but has already drawn certain conclusions. Orfield ominously states in this letter “Some patterns are becoming very apparent.”

No unbiased scientific researcher would permit themselves to make such claims during data collection. Such a statement suggests a strong bias and after having made such a claim he will now have to support it through the data he collects.

Most scientists would argue that Orfield’s complaint letter and associated claim during the early data collection phase shifts his methods from following valid “scientific methods” to biased research. Such activity by Orfield greatly increases the risks of selectively choosing data to make his case for his “very apparent patterns”.

Reading of the past complaints against Orfield and review of his studies demonstrate he is frequently not an unbiased researcher but rather a biased advocate for causes that use selected data to make his case on certain issues.

Review of Orfield’s background suggests that the BOE failed in properly vetting this individual and a re-vetting should be considered by all parties involved (both the minority and majority may find very real concerns in their review).

Contrary to his claim in his complaint letter (link), Orfield indeed has a repeated history of conflicts with the people and communities he is charged with researching and or investigating. Orfield has been challenged by his peers and others for alleged unethical data manipulation and alleged research misconduct.

When being confronted with a serious concern the first step in resolution of such concerns starts with awareness.

The Buffalo community needs to be made aware of these very real concerns which can impact all factions. Such awareness may actually unify these factions in their efforts to prevent this person from influencing BPS’s future direction.

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7 comments

  1. Stopped reading after you stated bussing to increase desegregation is not and was not beneficial. I am one of the Black bussed children you speak of, and what you portray is not our reality, nor our point of view. But it is propaganda, fear and ideology that drives this opinion. Separate but equal? I don’t think so. Which is also a further contradiction related to charter schools. Over 90% of charter schools that are not racially and economically diverse have similar or worse testing results, that’s a fact please stop the spinning. What is even more funny is how we know we need metropolitan school districts in WNY, but suburban communities don’t want a bunch of black inner city children attended school with their children. Please don’t compare Niagara Falls with Buffalo, especially related to education outcomes. You leave out the biggest variable and reality. Niagara Falls HS for example, is racially and economically more diverse. Even if the white children come from a poor family, the educational diversity yields better results. That’s why NF does better, a centralized HS, not several that pick and choose who is educated. The system needs to change but it doesn’t need to be the private sector.
    Supporting someone like Carl Paladino that uses racial epithet as his verbiage to describe his perception of blacks/black women in particular is disturbing. Feels more like a slave master trying to flex moral objects, but still calling you a “N.” The only Black people that want help from such people are the ones you can buy. I’m not for sale. People making every attempt to keep us in our “neighborhood” can not help progress and mobilize black people to equity. Listen to lived experience, not your personal thought and opinions.

    And if you erase this again, I’ll just repost it. So don’t do it. You are not driving this train. Play nice, or nobody plays.
    Stop lying to people about charter school success rates. The results are the same under the same circumstances as their public school counterparts. If the charter school has a student population that is almost(in most cases all students)all minority students, that are nearly all qualify to receive free lunch have the same rate of success if not worse, than a public school under the same conditions.
    If you have not properly explained this fact, you are irresponsible; using propaganda, misinformation and fear to insight the black community to fight for charter schools, which is promoting something that is not more beneficial under the above circumstances.
    The charter schools that are successful in the Buffalo area are not all minority and have a much lower rate of students eligible for free lunch. Mr. Madigan and his alliance won’t address these facts, and won’t inform the people they profess to want to help so badly.
    Interesting, help the black community help us help ourselves to their education dollars. Where have all of you folks been? Where were you all prior to your ability to profit from black/brown education disparities? When charters came to our communities, most of you did too. So it is obvious that the new found interest in urban education is directly related to ones ability to profit. We can discuss this issue publicly, name the time, location and date.

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  2. Stopped reading after you stated bussing to increase desegregation is not and was not beneficial. I am one of the Black bussed children you speak of, and what you portray is not our reality, nor our point of view. But it is propaganda, fear and ideology that drives this opinion. Separate but equal? I don’t think so. Which is also a further contradiction related to charter schools. Over 90% of charter schools that are not racially and economically diverse have similar or worse testing results, that’s a fact please stop the spinning. What is even more funny is how we know we need metropolitan school districts in WNY, but suburban communities don’t want a bunch of black inner city children attended school with their children. Please don’t compare Niagara Falls with Buffalo, especially related to education outcomes. You leave out the biggest variable and reality. Niagara Falls HS for example, is racially and economically more diverse. Even if the white children come from a poor family, the educational diversity yields better results. That’s why NF does better, a centralized HS, not several that pick and choose who is educated. The system needs to change but it doesn’t need to be the private sector.
    Supporting someone like Carl Paladino that uses racial epithet as his verbiage to describe his perception of blacks/black women in particular is disturbing. Feels more like a slave master trying to flex moral objects, but still calling you a “N.” The only Black people that want help from such people are the ones you can buy. I’m not for sale. People making every attempt to keep us in our “neighborhood” can not help progress and mobilize black people to equity. Listen to lived experience, not your personal thought and opinions.

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  3. Nobody ever erased anything so do not know where you came up with that Katrina – please explain? Regarding lying about Charters – take that up with The Buffalo News who’s data shows clearly and without doubt that The Charter School for Applied Technologies, which out performed City honers with a 96% graduation rate this past year at a cost of <$14,000/student (half of what BPS/city honors spends) -CHSAT students are overwhelmingly poor and 80% of whom are black or Hispanic – if those are not winning results and worth fighting to expand then clearly you and I have very profoundly different objectives. I prefer to deal with facts and data and not emotions or BTF/NYSUT funded/fueled talking point$ – oh and Paladino never used the N word nor would he so that claim is worthy of deletion in the future unless you can provide a direct link to such a statement – keep it honest and truthful. Thanks http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/education/a-charter-school-that-beats-city-honors-20141004.

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  4. http://www.zillow.com/erie-county-ny/schools/charter-school-for-applied-technologies-54474/
    Please stop with the false interpretation, and the inflation of statistics and facts.
    The fact is the Buffalo News is not always correct. Most news paper writing is not peer reviewed, nor a source for credible statistical information. But zillow is recognized for its statistical data.
    Misleading misleading, there are a greater majority of white students at Charter school for applied technology than any other group. 37% white, 34% black and 25% Latino. So what do you know, a diverse student body. I believe that was my point. And 81% receive reduced price lunch. Poor children in a racially diverse education environment do better, so what is your goal. Furthermore, you name one charter school, which is not as statistically successful as you or the BN imply. There are also successful public schools we can mirror, so why isn’t that the focus. But no, privatize, privatize.
    And Carl sure enough used the N word, but that wasn’t the point. I was generalizing that savior mentality. And sending e-mails with the exact language is the same as using the word yourself. What purpose did Carl have sending a meme via email, with black people running from a airline that appears to being crashing into them, with the caption Run “N” Run? But this is your guy. The same man that demoralizing women with the same type of emails. But you all are so wholesome and about traditional families and children. Okay, but not when your guy is the bad influence. I am clearly running off facts.
    My next comment will include Carl’s emails. In addition, see his interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN.

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  5. I agree with katrinnab. Grad rates don’t tell the whole story. CSAT is failing to make Adequate Yearly Progress with different sub-groups. There is an absence of upper level science and math courses at CSAT begging the question, just what will students be ‘prepared’ for once they graduate?
    Roberta Cates had an excellent response to “Herman’s” letter and Paladino’s subsequent endorsement of it, essentially saying that blacks are ignorant of the ways of capitalism, etc., just find it shocking that you would support Paladino.

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