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Buffalo Community Leader Challenges Buffalo Schools in New Ways | News

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Buffalo Community Leader Challenges Buffalo Schools in New Ways
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BUFFALO, NY - With tension raging between the new Buffalo school board and Buffalo Schools superintendent, Dr. Pamela Brown, some in the community are trying to offer plans to fix Buffalo's failing schools.

Last week, you heard from Pastor Darius Pridgen of True Bethel Baptist, about issues he feels are important.

Now, L. Nathan Hare, the president and CEO of the Community Action Organization of Erie County, in Buffalo, is offering up some new ideas.

He's been working to improve the lives of Buffalo's youth for years.

"What we've got to do is find things that's going to have reasonable expectations, have the ability to work to produce that we're talking about," Hare said.

One idea is to require teachers to spend three hours of office time per week helping students with their studies.

"It would allow the student to be able to strengthen themselves academically, immediately after school, while they're still fresh, while they're kind of school oriented," he said.

Hare is also urging the district to expand single-gender classrooms district wide for students starting in the fourth grade.

"It's just dramatically effective," Hare said, "Because you are able to reduce the distractions in either gender creates for themselves."

Hare points to a study done by Stetson University in Florida over a three-year period that shows boys improved 49 percent on a state test in all boys classes, compared to being in coed classes. That same study shows girls improved by 16 percent when taking the test in all girls classes.

When it comes to implementing these ideas, Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold, a Buffalo school board member is challenging them.

"We need more information. the ideas take more study, especially when we're talking about teachers, these are contractual issues with teachers," Nevergold wrote in a statement.

Hare's ideas would impact the district's collective bargaining agreement with the teachers union.

"My position is, if your primary objective is the education of the kids, the successful education of the child, then you have to find a way to work through the money issues, the structure issues, the union issues, you have to find a way to work through that," said Hare.

If any of these changes were to be made, both the district and teachers union would need to agree. 2 On Your Side reached out to the Buffalo Teachers Federation for comment, but they did not respond.

There is opposition to the single-gender classroom idea with at least one board member saying there's nothing wrong with co-ed classrooms.

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