Friday, July 16, 2010

CMS assignment talks: What's next?

Round 2 of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board's student assignment review begins Tuesday, with a special meeting and a public forum at Martin Middle School (the location was changed from an earlier announcement).

What should people expect from the forum? That's still a work in progress. Board Chair Eric Davis said this afternoon that the two forums (there's another July 29 at Crestdale Middle) will be "idea-generating" sessions but "we're still refining exactly what these topics will be."

The flier posted at the CMS Web site tells participants to come prepared to give feedback on 13 topics the board has ranked by priority. Those listings remain vague, such as "Diversity: Respect for people of all cultures" and "Effective use of facilities: Operating costs, age and condition of buildings." But Davis said he and Vice Chair Tom Tate are working on discussion topics that will spur more specific proposals for board members and staff to consider.

See the flier for details on meeting times and locations.

There's also a special board meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday in Room 267 of the Government Center. Will the board be ready to vote on guidelines for decisions on drawing boundaries and closing schools, as Davis and Tate expect? Stay tuned. They've been working on a draft, but haven't released anything yet.

Update at 4:20 p.m.: Davis says they aren't ready to vote Tuesday, and instead will devote that three-hour session to discussing a draft. The vote could come as early as July 27, he said.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exactly what is meant by a decision on "drawing boundaries"? Are they planning to redraw all boundaries for a completely new county wide assignment plan? Or do they mean they will set the criteria for drawing future boundaries?

Anonymous said...

Do you get the sneaking suspicion that by end of summer, the school ala Tom Tate style, will have redrawn attendance lines for socio-economic manuipulation?

Anonymous said...

Sorry meant to say..
Do you get the sneaking suspicion that by end of summer, the school board ala Tom Tate style, will have redrawn attendance lines for socio-economic manuipulation?

Anonymous said...

Replying to anonymous, 10:02: Yes, I do have the same sneaking suspicion. I would hope that Eric Davis would be forthright with the community and tell us upfront if that is the actual goal of this exercise. He should at least tell us now whether or not they are planning to totally revamp current assignments.

Anonymous said...

Tom Tate and his MECK ACTS cohorts should not be trusted. Tom has a kind demeanor and easy manner but "still waters run deep"! After getting to know Tom better, one can read between the lines and see his group's targeted agenda of returning to busing for diversity (they never speak of improving student achievement when they subtly mention this, by the way). We have yet to hear strong statistics supporting any link between diversity/busing and student achievement. Finally, we have gotten to the point where we have stopping hiding our most challenged children within the mass of total student achievement numbers. We have begun to dissect the numbers, shine a light on our poorest performers and focus more resources on them.

Anonymous said...

Be afraid...be very afraid. Last year when the Tom Tate/East Muck group got organized they hid behind saving teacher's jobs when the reality is they wanted to boost/protect their sagging property values.

Anonymous said...

Diversity will solve all the worlds problems. Just wondering how Tate will operate this year. Illogical and under the guise of dialogue.

Pamela Grundy said...

This business of claiming that diverse schools "hide" struggling students among successful ones is a red herring. The test score breakdowns mandated by NCLB make crystal clear who is succeeding and who is not, no matter what the overall makeup of the school. These days, that particular argument is just an apology for segregation.

For what it's worth, I'm a member of Mecklenburg ACTS and our focus is on student achievement, especially for economically disadvantaged students. We oppose economic and racial segregation because quantitative and qualitative analysis demonstrate that such segregation reduces educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged students. Feel free to check out our website: http://www.mecklenburgacts.org/

Pamela Grundy said...

"quantitative and qualitative analysis *demonstrates*" -- sorry

Anonymous said...

To Pamela Grundy,
Wake County schools boasted for years that their "socio-economic" based assignment planned was helping all students. However, when actual student results were analyzed it turned out that minority and FRL students were doing no better (and in some cases worse) than here in Charlotte. In fact, their minority scores were flat while ours were increasing.
I think it is a "red-herring" to continually throw out the charge that questions about actual student achievement are "an apology for segregation". The continual implication that if one does not support a diversity based assignment policy you are therefore racist or support segregation is getting a little old. It also does nothing to forward constructive decision making regarding student achievement.

Anonymous said...

Economically disadvantaged students benefit when they go to a "diverse" school where other students' parents donate money and volunteer their time to make it a better school. Aren't these the same parents who already pay through the nose in taxes?? No wonder so many people are upset.

Pamela Grundy said...

I didn't say asking about student achievement was a red herring; I said the argument that diverse schools "hide" struggling students was a red herring, which it is.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Grundy, now we know who our failing students are but this wasn't the case, under busing, when we focused on the overall student achievement and not on the breakdown by groups. In the past, CMS fooled us into believing that busing was raising scores since we hid the scores of our struggling students under the average student achievement of each school. Our impoverished kids were failing but we used the scores of our stronger performing kids, in schools like Eastover Elementary, to bring up the average scores. Also, I disagree with MECK ACTS mission of having a preference for economomically disadvantaged students. My wish is that we should be concerned for ALL our students. Isn't that what equity is all about?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Grundy, Tom Tate and their ACTS cohorts are no better than George Dunlap when he said he'd rather have all whites leave CMS but just leave their tax money.

Pamela Grundy said...

My point is that given the present-day method for breaking down test scores it is not necessary to concentrate challenged students at high-poverty schools in order to know who is failing and who is not. Whether scores were or were not effectively broken down in the past is irrelevant to what's going on today.

You certainly don't have to agree with the focus that Meck ACTS adopts. Our analysis shows that students at high-poverty schools generally don't have access to the level of educational opportunity enjoyed by those at lower-poverty schools, as measured in areas such as teacher experience, staff stability, advanced course offerings, extracurricular activities, etc. So we're working to expand those opportunities in a variety of ways.

Anonymous said...

For years Wake County school system and those in Charlotte who support socio-economic based assignment argued vehemently that their assignment model gave everyone the best education. Those who questioned this were labeled as desiring "resegregation" (apparently the diversity supporters never bothered to look at the NCLB data, just went with "what they knew was right".). Now that Wake's actual test scores have been examined and a school board that opposes busing has been elected, the diversity supporters have ratcheted up their claims of segregation and racism--it has turned into a very ugly situation in Raleigh--NAACP is sponsoring a rally there Tuesday (hinting at civil disobedience--last month 3 members took over the school board meeting and were arrested). Again, these charges of "an apology for resegregation", "economic and racial segregation", etc. add nothing to community dialogue. They only anger people on both sides of the issue.

Pamela Grundy said...

In the years of Jim Crow, many people argued that segregation was a good thing because, they claimed, everyone was happier and better off congregating with people like themselves. I see few differences between that argument and the present-day argument that low-income students are better off at high-poverty schools, especially when such an argument involves the inaccurate claim that the challenges low-income kids face can only be effectively identified when they're all put together at high-poverty schools.

Anonymous said...

The point most folks are trying to make with neighborhood schools is that if the neighborhood is high poverty, it is logical to believe you can more cost effectively target resources to these kids. If you scatter the kids out too much then it is harder to get the specialized pesonnel to them on a consistent basis for any improvement.

We, Charlotte citizens have been down this path before with "forced" integration. Our children were sacrificed to the golden idol of social justice. However we have learned this was an utter failure for it had been done for nearly 30 years and yet, the black children were still behind. What came to happen is that the media for whatever reason, christened these advocates as elitists that they knew better than everyone else how to raise and teach our children. As has proven now, they can not parent the high poverty children. However, these elitists think all it takes is to mix these children with middle class children. I will never forget the phone call with Louise Woods when she came right out and said they used my middle class neighborhood as a busing "pawn".

Anyway, if you follow the studies documented in the book about Dr. Canada, you come away with it is nearly criminal for people in poverty to have children. It is a form of child abuse. If they are in poverty, the reason they are there (outside of medical disaster, etc.) is also an indicator they should not have children.

Anonymous said...

You have misinterpreted, again, my comment. I did not say that it was necessary to concentrate challenged students at high poverty schools in order to know who is failing and who is not! My point was that with NCLB we can finally determine how well we are doing with our most challenged students, something we did not do under busing where their scores were hidden under one averaged student achievement score per school. Also, under busing, with our 60/40 White/Black required ration (a horrible classification system where everyone else was considered 'other'), there were many struggling kids at schools but not quite enough to qualify for additional resources such as through Title I and other programs. The schools were not 'poor' enough to qualify so we left our struggling students with lacking resources.

Anonymous said...

Today's Observer article about DSS and the expensive taxi service it has been using is relevant to this discussion. When I worked in the office of a suburban middle school often children who were bussed in from other areas missed the bus. How did they then arrive at school--by taxi! These were high poverty kids, whose families I'm sure could not or should not have been paying for expensive taxi service. So who did--the school system, DSS, the parents? My point being--if you want to return to busing who is going to pick up the tab when a kid misses the bus or when a parent needs to get to a far away school. We are no long awash in money. I'd like to hear Ms. Grundy's comments on this issue.

Anonymous said...

To 8:04, you last sentence and a hlf makes my point exactly. When you disperse these kids out, they may get to a school which does not get Title 1 money or have a large enough [population to warrant extra staff members. The kids lose again in your social experiment.

And as for Title 1, while the federal government notes over 50% FRL as being a Title 1 school, CMS must confiscate these funds and channel them to the schools that are over 75%. Is that legal?

Ann Doss Helms said...

On agendas for boundaries: Any given board member may have an agenda for what should happen next, but the board as a whole seems a long way from that kind of agreement. Tom and some others may support doing more to balance poverty levels, but at this point, I don't see five votes to make that kind of change.

On Title I: Yes, what CMS is doing is legal. The law requires that any school at 75 percent or higher MUST get Title I aid, but allows school districts to include lower levels. Many districts do, because they have few or no schools at 75 percent plus. CMS has plenty, and chooses not to spread the money thinner.

Pamela Grundy said...

It might be instructive to look at scores at high-poverty and low-poverty middle schools. Last year, at neighborhood-based middle schools above 60 percent poverty, the average percentage of economically disadvantaged students scoring well above average was 7.3 percent. At neighborhood-based middle schools below 60 percent poverty, the average percentage was 16.9 percent. With a couple of exceptions, overall pass rates for kids in poverty were also notably higher at the schools with less than 60 percent poverty. Which kind of school would you want your child to attend?

The main problem I have is with the argument that low-income kids are better off at schools of concentrated poverty than they are at more diverse schools. One might argue that the community can't afford to create more diverse schools. But I don't believe that one can credibly argue that concentrating poverty is better for poor kids.

Regarding Title I, local districts have a fair amount of leeway in deciding how to distribute the money. If CMS had fewer schools of 75-percent-plus poverty, the money could be spread more evenly.

You know, it's really simple to attach your name to your comments. You just go to the Name/URL button below the comment column and type it in.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Grundy, Regarding your statement, "Last year, at neighborhood-based middle schools above 60 percent poverty, the average percentage of economically disadvantaged students scoring well above average was 7.3 percent. At neighborhood-based middle schools below 60 percent poverty, the average percentage was 16.9 percent." You cannot make comparisons like this fairly and again you are using averages to mask better accuracy in your conclusions. You must compare similar poverty rates when comparing "disadvantaged students" rather than lumping them together since there is a contiuum of incomes that qualify someone for 'Free and Reduced Lunch' status. We should break down the 'Free and Reduced Lunch' category in terms of where these kids fit on the income continuum from reduced to free lunch. There are actually kids of teachers who qualify for 'reduced lunch' and I'm thinking that these kids could be very different from kids living in public housing who also are in this category! Again, we continue to lump children together (as we did with the use of average achievement scores used per schoolhouse instead of breaking down these scores per subgroup) which leads to the manipulation and misconstruing of the facts. We are now hiding all different kinds of challenged children under the one category of "Free and Reduced Lunch". It would be more accurate to make these student achievement comparisons based upon the actual incomes of families rather than using this one static category of 'Free and Reduced Lunch.'


Read more: http://obsyourschools.blogspot.com/2010/07/cms-assignment-talks-whats-next.html#ixzz0u9Buh1Es

Anonymous said...

Middle school is a whole other set of issues with these kids. I was the PTSA President of an inner city middle school. Hormones are rampant. Disciple can never be severe or punitive enough with CMS's whimpy practice despite what is in the discipline handbook. You get none or worse abusive behavior from the parents as well.

Second, the black popular culture is hitting here hard. Despite what many people say and think, boys are talking like rappers, girls are looking forward to babies to have someone to love them and parents (?) are washing their hands of these kids as long as they keep getting their checks. Now clearly, there are a number of these kids trying to break this environment so you need a way to separate them in this school or create a better magnet program for an alternative school. Are we any worse off doing something different then the current 2/3 not to graduate rate in doing nothing?

Pamela Grundy said...

The main problem I have is with the argument that low-income kids are better off at schools of concentrated poverty than they are at more diverse schools. One might argue that the community can't afford to create more diverse schools. But I don't believe that one can credibly argue that concentrating poverty is better for poor kids. The idea that concentrating poverty allows the system to "target" resources doesn't take into account the cascade of challenges that these concentrations create.

fundoo said...

Thanks for the information, we will add this story to our blog, as we have a audience in this sector that loves reading like this” cms services

thesis writing said...

I have been visiting various blogs for my research papers writing. I have found your blog to be quite useful. Keep updating your blog with valuable information... Regards