After something he said at a “failed tea party rally” in Olean (I keep trying to picture what that looks like) about “damn Asians” getting (too) free a ride at SUNY schools, parents and citizens in Buffalo are protesting with a movement to get Carl Paladino off the school board. (BN article on Paladino’s comments here). Anyone who pays less attention to the pandering to white folks and more attention to the economics of higher ed knows that foreign students actually subsidize in-state/local student tuition by paying many times more than the “resident” student. Nor can anyone on a non-resident visa declare in-state residency. But no matter. It’s the failed tea party that counts. Not to mention that’s there shouldn’t be anything wrong with subsidizing anyone’s student tuition, foreign or native, if that’s what the system needs to run a thriving university. Also, can we point out how cheap the SUNY system is compared to other state systems? It’s impressively affordable.
Paladino was voted onto the School Board last year by the people of Buffalo. When I asked people why they thought he would be effective, many referred to the fact that he got the toll booths on I-90 moved, I suppose to indicate that he while he may not be a very likable person, he gets things done. And people really want things done in this school district right now. Personality aside, has he done that? Or been able to do that? My sense is no. From what I have observed, his need to control people, his anger and his scary vindictiveness get in the way of any civic work he wants to do. Beyond that, there is a distrust of his own business regarding its relationship to charter schools, in that people see his mission as deplete the District’s public schools in favor of promoting Charter Schools (in the way of the Tea Party or other conservatives’ goals). He owns buildings that lease space to local charter schools and thus stands to profit from their expansion. Anyone who follows local politics seems aware of this.
I was willing to see what he’d do until I saw how nasty his behavior was, especially in public and in School Board meetings. There’s unlikable, and then there’s the constant performance of being the meanest. When Interim Superintendent Donald Ogilvie helped orchestrate a compromise on the Board at a March meeting, regarding the turnaround plans for four out -of-time schools, Paladino made what now seems like a very Paladino gesture. After the meeting, he turned on his once-ally, accusing him of “treachery” and submitting an angry resolution for Ogilvie’s firing. (Link also below). As far as I can tell, this lost us a year of Ogilvie’s service. Ogilvie decided to end his contract as Interim Super this June instead of continuing for another year. Now the Board has to search for a new Super on shorter notice, and it seems clear that no sensible or competent person could really want this job. Hooray, Buffalo. How can we avoid mayoral control when the School Board has devolved into an embarrassing circus? How will a district without a leader even being to implement the required changes of the “Orfield report?” If the district can’t make some of those changes, there will be federal sanctions.
(Key quote from that report: “Nobody is ever going to muzzle me,” Carl Paladino)
In any case, the movement to remove Carl Paladino from the School Board is hashtag Mad As Hell and CanCarl, or #MadAsHell and #CanCarl. You can see it on Twitter below, and many people are posting photos of themselves on Facebook with the hashtags.
Should you like to educate yourself on Paladino’s past and who he is, you may start with a search in the Buffalo News, but, it’s a time-consuming education. Good luck. BN Articles w/ “Paladino”. (As of June 12).
And welcome to Buffalo.