Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Help me catch up

Well. I certainly picked an interesting time to go on medical leave.

In the four weeks I was gone, local philanthropies launched a huge push to boost student achievement through private giving. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools rolled out two lists of schools under scrutiny for big changes, including possible closing. The effects of classroom budget cuts and magnet shuttle stops started playing out. CMS produced a 65-page report on increasing graduation rates. There are rumblings about fees for AP and IB exams, drug dogs in schools and possible changes paying for campus security.

Anyway, I'm back, feeling fine and trying to catch up. It's a bit overwhelming, so give me a hand: What are people talking about? What are the big questions and issues on your mind as 2010-11 gears up?

A very articulate correspondent from Mint Hill e-mailed yesterday about his quest to wrest meaning from the latest developments in the school board's student assignment review: "Emails are flying all around our end of the county and, quite honestly, many of them are either misinformed or uninformed, and in either case an absence of actual facts never stopped anyone from making up their own," he wrote. "For CMS’s part, I appreciate their attempt at transparency, but their communications have been less than entirely clear. A review of their website discloses a lot of information (I think) bound up inside ill-defined acronyms and opaque metrics."

I know what he means. For the past month, I've been reading the paper and clicking on the CMS Web site like the rest of you. The latest report on magnet schools is a real head-scratcher without having been in the meetings. I agree with the writer than CMS is trying hard to share information, but those reports seldom make sense without a lot of added context. The public information office has taken hits during budget cuts; they, too, are scrambling to keep up with all the breaking news (and Tahira Stalberte, a strong player in that department, just left to head the public information department for Durham County schools).

So let me know what you're thinking. And if you tried to e-mail me with anything important this month, please try again. The company e-mail system declared me temporarily terminated, and I have yet to retrieve any messages from that stretch. I'm not even sure my autoreply directing people to other reporters kicked in; I'm sorry for any inconvenience. But I'm back in the land of the electronically living: ahelms@charlotteobserver.com


Andria said...

Hi Ann,

Welcome back, we missed you. I love that you're asking people for help to catch up. Here are a couple of school stories we did in Lake Norman News, the niche Wednesday section of The Charlotte Observer aimed at northern Meck:

Meet Cornelius Elementary's new principal:

And coming tomorrow in print and online at Lake Norman News:
A look at how parents worked to make walking and biking to school safer at J.V. Washam Elementary in Cornelius. Story will be at http://bit.ly/dc1tLE

Mike said...

Hi Ann, I am glad you have had no setback in recent medical adventure.

When CMS sent out the second list and some explanations, it sure seemed curious why some schools were left off and why some were on there. According to their explanations, they should have been addressing low performing schools, high per pupil cost schools and high occupancy schools. Under those categories, there should have been over 60 schools on the second list. So as I interpret this whole thing, there is a hidden agenda being followed here; not what they are saying.

Anonymous said...

The following is a warning to students applying for the Teaching fellows program...Always read the fine print...be informed before you get into certain situation..That guarantee is not really a guarantee...see the info at (http://www.teachingfellows.com)

The following statement is from thier material.

Q3: Will I be guaranteed a job when I graduate?

A: No, but there will be a strong demand for new teachers. The status and quality of Teaching Fellows are such that school districts are
eager to employ those who have completed the Program. Due to supply and demand, Fellows are encouraged to consider all job
opportunities regardless of locale in North Carolina.

Let's see "Teaching Fellows are such that school districts are
eager to employ those who have completed the Program." Teach for America is the hot new ticket in CMS, so be cautious and informed before you make definite plans for CMS.. Also, people considering a career change into education beware also..see (www.ralc.ccs.k12.nc.us) for info about career changers option... Once again be informed and prepared before you waste time getting a license and becuase some districts are looking for cheap labor and vivrants new stars from UNC,UNCC,Duke, and NC State. The online education is often disregarded in North Carolina schools districts. Just a warning...not saying not to go for it---be informed and prepared.