By Carl Paladino;

Let me state at the onset: No one forced me to seek to change the sick and failed public education system in Buffalo.  I am passionate about assisting the poorest of our city, who suffer and atrophy in a broken bureaucracy. That would be the children who need someone to stand up for their best interests.  I believe that a solid education is their best hope to break out of the cycle of poverty.

For its failures, I blame the collectively incompetent members of successive Buffalo Boards of Education, and outsider superintendents with little at stake, who propose hollow and worn out ‘grand plans’ to tweak the beast in an endless quest to show some credibility but more importantly for them, to maintain the status quo.  They make empty promises, never kept, and a lot of blowhard rhetoric, but are simply power hungry parasites feeding at the public trough.  They are hurting the students of Buffalo for their own benefit, or for lack of experience or understanding, and they must be stopped.

The members of the Buffalo Board of Education voted to approve a new teachers’ contract, negotiated by Kriner Cash, which grossly favored the union over the interests of students and taxpayers in Buffalo.

Those who support the status quo, who oppose reform, who fight for adult benefits at the expense of children’s rights, are quick to cry “racism” when anyone of a different skin tone opposes them. If I offend minority adults in my effort to protect and assist minority children, I’m good with that, but their label makes no sense.


Buffalo is one of the poorest cities in America with more than 30 percent of residents living below the federal poverty level.
Outsiders, such as Dr. James Harris, imported from Chicago; Dr. James A. Williams (above) from Dayton, Dr. Pamela C. Brown from Philadelphia, and Dr. Kriner Cash from Memphis, were appointed as superintendents. Successive School Boards hailed them as prophets who would come and save our children from failure. None of them succeeded. Did our school boards value a piece of painted glass from afar, more than a diamond formed in the mantle of our own city?

Lacking any credible excuse for their illicit actions, when cornered over terrible outcomes, these minority board members simply play the race card, knowingly, and successfully back off business and community leadership who don’t want to be soiled with a racist label.

For my part, I have nothing personally to gain. What I do have is the fortunate career experience of living the American dream, the ability to say and do things that others can only think and the attitude that, if people don’t like what I said or do, it doesn’t matter to me.

What I enjoy is solace in the fact that my efforts have helped thousands of minority children in Buffalo have an opportunity for a quality education.

More than half of all children in Buffalo live in poverty, according to the US Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey, released last September. Detroit is the only other major city in the nation with a youth poverty rate in excess of 50 percent. Yet consider the irony, while Buffalo has the second highest poverty rate among children in America, it has the second highest cost per student in America. Isn’t that one statistic obvious proof that the enormous sums of money being spent per student is not truly aiding the children. So who is getting the benefit?
Beneath the surface of the reported 60 percent graduation rates, the reality is that they are likely significantly lower. Buffalo Schools may be inflating true graduation rates by failing to accurately estimate how many students leave school in a given year, drop out and never graduate, as opposed to transferring to another school and graduating.

I have always been confident that when I was called a racist no one with any intelligence would believe the lie because my actions would show me to be otherwise.


I was raised in an ethnic city at a time when calling bad people names and disparaging them with sick, sarcastic humor was acceptable behavior, but obviously the hypocrites in this era of political correctness and puckered up behinds don’t say stuff like that anymore — at least not publicly.

I chose to enter the arena to fight the good fight and shed light on our broken system, expecting nothing but simple respect and decency, which I do get from plenty of normal working class taxpayers, black and white, every day, and especially on Saturdays in the parking lot and fruit section at Wegmans or at a football game or wherever. They are the courageous people who, with my family, give me the strength for the fight. To them I say thank you for understanding that change only comes with courage and decisive action, which is, necessarily, laced with acrimony and adversity, sometimes visceral. This arena is not for the faint of heart.

Buffalo is now being tormented by its hapless, half-witted, progressive School Board majority, the self-loving Phil Rumore and their gang of loonies and haters (the Anti’s).  Working class people, during the presidential campaign, reacted defiantly and decisively against the progressives at the ballot box.  The death knell cries of progressives coming to the recognition that their movement has been rejected by America and that they and their thought police will no longer matter in the future, is the same cry we are hearing from the Anti’s for my removal.

The enduring poverty in Buffalo was not caused by a lack of money spent on Buffalo schools.  In 2010, the Buffalo News reported that the Buffalo School District was the 3rd highest district in expenditures per student (the total amount a school district spends, divided by student enrollment) in the USA. In 2014, a Ballotpedia study found Buffalo, at $29,023 cost per student, was the second highest in expenditures per student in the USA. This enormous cost, combined with endemic poverty, is proof that the system has failed. There are other indicators of failure. The US high school graduation rate is 83 percent in the 2014-2015 school year. Statewide, the graduation rate is 80 percent. In Buffalo, it was reported as 61 percent. Even Niagara Falls High School, a city poor like Buffalo, had a graduation rate of 73 percent. The term “Dropout Factory,” is used to describe a high school where no more than 60% of the students who start as freshmen make it to their senior year.

To those Anti’s who vilify me, I say it’s OK, I know my role all too well and if you knew me, you would know that I can’t be intimidated. I’m relentless and I don’t quit. Your dishonest behavior and acting out will go on for a while longer. Hopefully, a short while. See you in the arena.

But not in Buffalo, where 1 in 2 children live in poverty.

To help build viable and successful charter schools and provide real choice to Buffalo’s children, without fanfare, I guaranteed the loans of several charter schools, risking my estate for minimum return on capital.  The Anti’s seek to twist those good intentions into something onerous.  Good luck.

I guaranteed millions in loans to charter schools, in order that they would help end the monopoly of union-dominated, inflated price/low results schools. If the charter schools failed, if they did not teach well, or didn’t attract enough students and closed their doors, I would have had to pay off their loans. I made high risk investments with unusually low returns. But my risk/reward ratio was influenced by another kind of reward, to afford Buffalo children schools where graduation rates were higher, unions and administrators did not dominate, hampering even the simplest kinds of educational innovations, and where every kindly act of improvement for the sake of the children wasn’t eyed with jealous hostility and paranoid suspicion that it might mean more work or that seniority might be supplanted by merit. Charter Schools such Tapestry, Applied Technologies, West Buffalo, Health Sciences, Aloma D. Johnson and Charter School of Inquiry are successes.

When we implement real choice with the Trump education plan, the gravy train will end for many. The union monopoly will end. Members will be challenged to compete. Minority leadership will finally be exposed as phonies, more interested in power and influence than helping the children of Buffalo. Rumore will retire, move elsewhere so as to not have to look at the chaos he created and ponder the damage he did to the lives of so many children of this city. His failed career and life — his lack of legacy — will be traumatic for him in time.

I watched as community leadership looked the other way with regards to Buffalo’s illicit education system, because they didn’t want to get their hands dirty challenging the demonic woven interests of the education cabal who, for many years, out of sight, boldly but quietly, if not secretly, controlled this non-productive fiasco.

We graduate less than half our students, pushing through many who can’t even read or perform basic mathematics when they get their diploma. Less than 20% of black males graduate.  We bus students all over the city from one bad school to another, tearing the fabric of the neighborhoods to shreds and discouraging parent participation, all for the racist refrain that we can’t let segregation return.  Violence and bullying are rampant.  How dumbed down is black leadership that fights change and innovation, protecting union leaders who support and finance their elections.

While poverty is high in the city, taxpayers nevertheless spend more money per student than almost any place in America. The problem is, most of the money is not spent with the students in mind, but rather the unions.

School Board member Larry Quinn and I voted against the new teachers’ contract, which was negotiated in secret and did nothing to insure that there is a quality teacher in every classroom or that our best teachers work with students with the greatest needs. Considering that most minorities have limited options, the contract sell-out to the Buffalo Teachers Federation and New York State United Teachers was devastating to our minority students.  Yet, they do not label that racist?

The continuation of the cycle of poverty, holding another generation of youth captive, hungry and uneducated in our inner cities, was and is untenable for me and others seeking to economically revive the city and make it a better and safer place to live.


The horror of leaving another generation of minority students behind is unacceptable for Buffalo’s future. Everyone has to come along for the ride to make Buffalo a better place to live. Isn’t that what we just experienced with the revolution of the working middle class against the Democrat and Republican elitist Washington establishment that had left them behind?

For the liberals, reform of education means the breakup of the inner city Democratic voting block, so important for them to maintain their control of our urban centers, the last bastion of the uninformed blindly voting for more handouts from society.

Instead of pushing real reform that might inconvenience their political allies, the liberals have looked the other way. As long as they and their patrons are protected in their safe neighborhoods, these elitists are content to let others live with the violence, drugs, crime and other decadent social problems — the consequences of a structurally racist education system — the ultimate liberal Faustian bargain.

Donald Trump’s campaign exposed our rigged system of government that rewards a few at the expense of many — unfortunately, that is exactly the way the Buffalo Board of Education works.

I give a speech at Donald Trump's rally in Buffalo.
I give a speech at Donald Trump’s rally in Buffalo.


The real hypocrites are the spineless who sit, unsullied, at the Buffalo and Saturn clubs, judging and discussing “Carl’s poor choice of words” — Teddy Roosevelt’s “cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”   Edmund Burke cautioned that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

The reality is that my controversial choice of words in an Artvoice survey is not relevant to the real reasons that the hate-filled Anti’s want me off the Board. They want me removed because no one else will take the time and effort required to expose their rigging of the teachers’ contract, the fight for justice in the L.P. Ciminelli swindling of the district in the Joint Schools Construction Project fiasco, or to oppose their other chicaneries.

Larry Quinn has worked with me to fight for the children of Buffalo.

With Larry Quinn, I have relentlessly, for years, exposed the underbelly of the beast.  The bad guys simply don’t want me to have access to continue my efforts in the future.

As for the accusation against me concerning the revelation of discussions of union negotiations in executive session, the policy is designed to keep the strategies, negotiating posture and techniques of the Board during the negotiations private from the union adversaries. The policy does not require or infer that those discussions are to be kept sealed from the public after the contract is complete, in effect denying the people their right to know the competency of their representatives, etc., especially in this case where the executive session discussions concerning the teachers’ contract were part of the unethical, if not illegal, rigging of the contract. The bad guys can’t use the policy to hide their bad acts. Criminal activity can’t be protected by the policy.

The irony, of course, is that a participant in that executive session told Phil Rumore exactly what was said during the meeting within minutes of its termination.

Was Phil Rumore one of the architects of the spectacular failure of the Buffalo School District? His last, crippling teachers’ contract remained in force after expiry for 12 years. Consider this dynamic: Union members want better working conditions; less work, more pay. They elect union leaders who earn more pay in direct proportion to how successful they are in getting results for members. The smartest of these leaders, men like Phil Rumore, learned how to game the system for their members. In low turnout Buffalo School board elections, Rumore learned to recruit, guide, fund, and elect most board members (Unions even paid for lawn signs for school board candidates and had union members place them on houses). Average people of modest incomes, recruited by the unions to run for school board, once elected, enjoy a new sense of prestige and honor – these school board members are naturally grateful to union leaders and glad to be guided by those who saw to it that they were elected in the first place. Instead of realizing that their proper role is to represent the parents and taxpayers, these simple-minded board members became extensions of the unions. Phil Rumore made electing this kind of school board member into an art form probably unequaled in almost any other city. The thousands of decisions made over the years by pro-union school board majorities and the big events, like a new union contract, led to a Buffalo School District disproportionately controlled by the unions against the interests of parents and taxpayers. The union-elected majority on the school board appoints superintendents who quickly realize that their six figure salaries, enormous pensions and unrivaled benefits are based on representing the best interests of the union. School board members come and go, but Phil Rumore was forever.

The questions that should be asked are obvious to most. At the meeting to approve the teachers’ contract, why was the majority so opposed to open debate and transparency and in such a hurry to vote on the most important matter they are responsible for — a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars? Why did they deny Larry Quinn and I the fair opportunity to let the public know what the contract said? Why did Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold know the contents of the final deal days in advance and order that Board members not be shown the deal before the meeting?  Is it illegal for a Board member to sell her vote on the teacher’s contract as a quid pro quo for the union’s support to get elected?


It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt, The Man in the Arena

About the author



News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.


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  • How many lawyers does Mr. Paladino need to interpret these statements for him: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech or of the press…” (US Constitution, Bill of Rights) and “Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right;” (NYS Constitution Article 1.8)

    So it is very sweet for Mr. Paladino to say, “I take responsibility…” and “I have apologized to the minority community” but how shall he be held responsible? The court of public opinion may waffle how it pleases but the duty of the Board of Education and of the NYS Dept. of Education is clear, at least if they consider the example set for the children in our community.

  • Johnson created 21st century slaves .If you are unwilling to look at what really comes out of the education system then you are doomed to spending it in your safe room with crayons and large soft pillows. You do not deal in the real world or you would see how bad it is.If you think things are fine….well…..then they are. good for you.

  • I referred to the First Amendment, not the second. You can
    find the full Bill of Rights online, just Google. It’s important to understand
    our founding documents, otherwise you’ll not recognize when they are being
    infringed upon.

    Mr. Paladino was elected to the board. The people put him
    there. If they do not want him there
    next term, they’ll vote him off.

    He apologized.

    Why don’t you take some time on the internet and refresh your
    memory of Left wing politicians calling those on the Right vicious names. I just Goggled and found several records. These were not just nonsense jokes, but names like “Hitler” “Nazi” “fascist” ““rapid response digital Brownshirts.” – all from so-called Left wing politicians. I could not find one instance where any
    of them were removed from their offices for such unprofessional behavior.

    Just yesterday, I heard someone from the teachers’ union
    defending all her children, saying they need support (as opposed to
    discipline). I have a friend who taught in our city. The children were so out of control she could not teach effectively. And the school offered no consequences. When parents were called, they defended the children instead of teaching them to respect authority.

    I repeat, only 61% graduate from high school in Buffalo.

    There are serious problems that are not being solved – issues that are either being ignored or those in charge are incapable of solving them. Many of those who graduated do not read well, can perform basic math computations, write or speak effectively.

    My father started out as a teacher prior to going into
    business. He had a saying: “If a child fails to learn, it’s because the teacher failed to teach.”

    Mr. Paladino is not a child in a classroom. He is an elected
    official. If other elected officials said degrading things of those in the
    other party and were not removed from their offices, the same standard needs to apply here.

  • the 2nd amendment says NOTHING about the consequences of free speech.
    you can’t walk into your bosses office and call her a bitch, i mean, you can, you have the right of free speech, and your employer has the right to fire you because your conduct is unfit and unbecoming to your position.

    since you brought up the children, how is it ok, that if a child in the Buffalo Public School wrote this they would be disciplined and face consequences, but a board member does not? leadership of young people means leading by example. Carl is an unfit example to set for our children.

  • I vaguely recall a Constitutional Amendment called Freedom of Speech. When do we most need to exercise it? When ppl say things that are considered “offensive”. I wrote a My View column some years back on how an employee of a coffee restaurant needed help to apply a 10% discount to a bill. And I see we STILL have a failed education system. To drain the swamp, we have to bring ppl from other industries onto the board to clean it out – otherwise the same paradigm is reproduced. It’s evident we need a whole new board. Why? Well only 61% of high school student are graduating. When I was in HS, only 1 gal did not graduate b/c she was pregnant. The education system is set up as Wikileaks published to be a place to further a population of a “compliant & unaware citizenry”. God help us.

  • sorry ,you have the wrong guy.He made sure that poorly educated people of all color would be beholden to the government.Many people I try to hire will not even come off government assistance and take a chance. This is the REAL WORLD. Not some altruistic babble. And before you comment on wages,we start new hires at 15.00 per hour and it has been that way for a long time now. And all we require is WILLINGNESS! to start.The real racists are those that would chain a person to a government handout and demand no exchange in return.

  • President Johnson helped insure the rights that American citizens of color could VOTE without intimidation, threats of violence and murder. shame on your ignorance.
    shame on your support of the malignant racist Carl Paladino. he has NO education experience. NONE. it’s like saying, “my doctor failed to effectively treat my cancer, so i’m going with my plumber for health care from here on out.” it’s idiotic.

  • As someone who has to hire these fine graduates for the last 25 years and a husband to a Buffalo teacher for over 20 years I can assure you the current system has failed and failed miserably.I have dealt with 100’s of people. Maybe 20% (generous) could fill out a proper application.Less than five could do the most basic jobs without constant re-instruction. After many years I have discovered that they can not define the most basic terms (which tell one what to do).Paladino may be vulgar but the real crime is the constant failure of a system that will not teach the necessary skills to people who will have no choice but to rely on President Johnson’s “Great Society”. …Welfare for life!

  • personal anecdotal impressions you get from speaking to a few individuals out of THOUSANDS is not “data”, it’s an emotional barometer, it’s an incomplete snapshot.
    what you said in your statement is that “data” can be obtained by individuals speaking to school children. the only thing clear here is that you’re one of tragic individuals that they American education has failed. the only person inviting the hungry to imaginary feast is Carl Paladino, and the proof is his total lack of professional training or experience in public education, his lack of compassion for the people he slanders, and his coarse and vulgar ignorance. history will judge him, and his supporters, and it will not be kind.

  • ….and as we all know, Carl has all that money because he worked a million times harder than the rest of us.

  • What a saint Carl is, putting a few million of his own fortune on the line! Why, if he lost that money, he’d only be left with about $150 million to survive on for the rest of his life.
    How would he do it???

  • There is no eloquence when 8th graders think selling drugs,joining gangs,and getting pregnant are their viable alternatives when education has completely and thoroughly disabused them.
    Today the schools are nothing more than Barmecidal attempts at teaching those who have lost faith and have no hopes other than sterile specious yammerings such as yours.It is not talking to children for the why, it is talking to them to see the result.

  • “If you want data talk to one of the kids.”

    So the kids in K – 8 can’t find our state on a map but they have “data” on their schools effectiveness?

    “or interact on a social level without swearing or fighting.”

    You’ve just described everything that’s wrong with Carl, and why he is completely
    UN-fit for the position he holds on the school board. Regardless of your wife’s profession, you are not very eloquent, compelling or rational in your defense of this embarrassing racist freak show.

  • When I ask visitors at the food pantry on Leroy Ave. how the school system serves their children, their response is generally that kids don’t want to take advantage of the opportunities available at schools. I am all in favor of taxpayers seeking effective investments as long as they don’t make personal remarks and they don’t “interact on a social level” in the way that Mr. Paladino does.

    Investors rely on facts and numbers, Mr. Paladino appears to go by the gut. If he thinks about choices and decisions the way he thinks about his peers, he offers no hope whatsoever.

  • Oh dear, what is the story here? Mr. Paladino would have us believe that QUOTE The real hypocrites are the spineless who sit, unsullied, at the Buffalo and Saturn clubs, judging and discussing “Carl’s poor choice of words” UNQUOTE

    We’ll assume that Mr. Paladino knows a hypocrite when he sees one but nobody at the Buffalo or Saturn clubs, or in the readership of Artvoice for that matter, believes that Mr. Paladino’s references to mad cow disease and Maxie the gorilla of Zimbabwe were anything but pre-meditated, intentionally harmful invective. He even said so in his pitiful lament, printed in Artvoice, “I wanted to say something as sarcastic and hurtful as possible about the people so responsible for the hurt and suffering of so many others. I was wired up, primed to be human and make a mistake. I could not have made a worse choice in the words I used to express my feelings.”

    Was the Buffalo school system responsible for educating Mr. Paladino? Should students that don’t want to learn and fail to take responsibility for their actions be laid at the feet of the school system? Should the school system be held responsible for teaching children that ad hominem (personal) attacks are not the way to express our feelings.

    Mr. Paladino apologized to the “minority community” in Artvoice but his long record of bigotry and this latest outburst is an offence to the entire community. Whether he resigns or is removed by NYS, or not, his record is established. No man is beyond redemption, of course, but we tolerate Mr. Paladino at our own peril.

  • The face of school “choice” in Buffalo is Carl Paladino. I wonder why Tapestry, CSAT, Aloma D. and all the other lessee’s aren’t coming out publicly to Carl’s rescue? Anyone..?
    Bye Carl. Take Lars and Patti with you.

  • Spot on Carl. Many,many kids in K-8th can not solve the easiest math problems,find our state on a map ,define the easiest terminology,or interact on a social level without swearing or fighting.As a husband of a Buffalo teacher I can guarantee without a doubt the problems Carl talks about are far,far more serious than he states.If you want data talk to one of the kids. You will soon know more than you want.Larry and Carl are our real hope.

  • I fear Mr Paladino’s plaint, laced with vitriol and rancor, is obviously a review of his superior ability to solve the quandary of Buffalo Students either dropping out or failing to really earn a diploma after High School.

    With no figures or studies to substantiate any claims he insinuates the current school system processes ignorant children without educating them at about $30K annual cost.

    It is obvious Mr Paladino’s enemies are the Minority blue collar type School Board members to which he and Larry Quinn’s noble natures are such obvious contrasts.

    He really thinks good management is imperative except when it is conducted by a Union Executive. In fact if he and Larry could dump the union and privatize the district into Charter Schools all problems would disappear.

    But his enemies are the progressive who with or without education or qualification continue to resist true improvement that Carl, like his mentor Donald Trump, can provide without revealing any plan or design. Just trust these people, they assure, the worse you can do is get nothing or bankruptcy if it doesn’t work.

    Its called Midway Barker assurance.

  • Now that’s rich ~ “morality” lessons from this miscreant.

    “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and
    more successful getting married and raising a family. And I don’t want
    them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally
    valid or successful option.” ~ Carl Paladino

    Are they better off when one heterosexual partner in that “sacred marriage” is a Roman Catholic hypocrite who keeps what his bible calls a WHORE and spawns a bastard child through that out-of-wedlock sordid and condemned by God fornicating? Personally, I don’t think ANY child is “illegitimate”, but that’s what Carl’s “faith” tells us. Has anyone checked this guy for early onset dementia?

  • Oh dear, what is the story here? Mr Paladino writes about graduation rates, “Beneath the surface of the reported 60 percent graduation rates, the reality is that they are LIKELY SIGNIFICANTLY lower. Buffalo Schools MAY BE inflating true graduation rates by failing to accurately ESTIMATE how many students leave school in a given year…”

    A board member railing against his incompetent peers is unclear about how graduation rates are compiled but cocky enough to go into print at the Artvoice stenography shop. Got any time to do any homework, Mr. Paladino?