The Orfield report, response, over this summer

One thing that might have gotten lost in the process and publication of the Orfield report, which the District waited on for a long time, received, and then found itself in a position to submit its response without having a Superintendent and while trying to hire one: their standing as in violation. What was easy to overlook was the fact that the Office of Civil Rights had already determined that there were civil rights violations in the way that the BPS District runs its criteria schools. So regardless of how well the current schools work, or whether you think discrimination did/does occur, the reason that Orfield was consulted was to begin the process of addressing and the determined violation.  In this way, the District could not afford to ignore the recommendations from the report (at least not without offering a very detailed new plan).  This article from the Buffalo News describes the Board’s initial plan and how it was rejected. I believe the Board probably knew it was going to be rejected, and just wanted to wait until the hired Superintendent could spend some time on it. Though I’m not entirely sure.

Sept 5 BN Article, “Federal agency rejects Board School Board’s Plan to address discrimination”

In this article there are links to the first plan the BSB submitted, here

And a response from Gary Orfield after seeing this plan here. Quote from Orfield letter:

“The school board seems to have treated the report as merely a document whose elements could be accepted or rejected as the board wished rather than an integrated plan to solve a very serious civil rights violation. When OCR makes a finding of a violation it is obligated by law to resolve it or to institute enforcement action which, under the Civil Rights Act, could involve cutoff of federal funds or requesting the Justice Department to sue the school district which could result in the federal court taking over important decisions concerning the city schools. The drastic nature of these remedies means that most communities facing an OCR finding agree to take action to cure the problem. Our assignment was to suggest what kinds of actions would be necessary. There were specific reasons for each of the recommendations that we would have been happy to discuss if given a chance.”

And, finally, a link to the report itself, which was published May 27, 2015. It runs about 100 pages.


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