Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No champagne for CMS

Update: Gwinnett County Public Schools outside Atlanta took the top prize. I watched the webcast with CMS principals, who had stayed after their regular meeting to see how the district fared. After almost an hour of speeches, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called out the four non-winning districts first. It was down to CMS and Gwinnett when CMS was called as the final runner-up. Still, $250,000 in scholarships isn't a bad consolation prize.


Later this morning, philanthropist Eli Broad and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will announce the winner of the 2010 Broad Prize for Urban Education. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is one of five finalists, and there's a big local crew in New York City for the ceremony.

CMS was a finalist in 2005, but this time feels different. Despite all the furor at home over proposed school closings, Superintendent Peter Gorman (who was trained at the Broad Superintendents Academy) has been getting national buzz for his "strategic staffing" quest to get top principals and teachers into struggling urban schools. A recent article in Newsweek touted the plan as "an ingenious school-turnaround strategy" that gives CMS "a serious shot at winning" the Broad Prize. Duncan recently toured Sterling Elementary, one of the strategic staffing schools.

If CMS wins, it means $1 million in scholarships for local graduates (even finalist status brings $250,000) and national bragging rights for district leaders.
 
A 13-person CMS delegation is there to get the news: Gorman; Board Chair Eric Davis, Vice Chair Tom Tate, board members Kaye McGarry, Trent Merchant and Joe White and former board Chair  Molly Griffin; Chief Academic Officer Ann Clark; Chief Operating Officer Hugh Hattabaugh; Chief Accountability Officer Robert Avossa; LaTarzja Henry, the top public-relations official; Denise Watts, a strategic staffing principal promoted to oversee high-poverty schools; and Mary McCray, a CMS teacher who heads the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators.

When asked about the travel tab, Henry said it was included in the CMS budget. But Gorman later called to say he is paying for it out of a $250,000 grant the C.D. Spangler Foundation gave him for personal development. The tally wasn't immediately available, but Henry said the group is staying at the Sheraton New York in midtown Manhattan.

So does the advance buzz and the big contingent mean the decision has been leaked? Gorman insists not. He said the Broad crew told him the winning superintendent will find out about five minutes before the announcement, with strict orders not to tip the news to anyone else.

Stay tuned. Some CMS employees who didn't make the trip will be watching the webcast. I'll be there too, hoping the technology works and posting as soon as I know anything.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

If they win, they better not jump up and down hootin' and hoolerin' all over the place or Bud Ceasna and the CMPD could have em' all arrested for disorderly conduct. And can this crew PLEASE keep their boastful remarks limited to 1 minute?

I feel an Excedrine migraine headache coming on.

Anonymous said...

I trust that if CMS does win this will be front page information, not hidden somewhere in locals. Whatever one thinks about the Broad prize it does say some positive things about CMS--so let's see the positive on the front page for a change (with a strong positive headline).

Anonymous said...

Strategic Staffing (getting great teachers and principals into low income schools) is the same successful strategy KIPP charter schools and Harlem Children Zone charter schools have been doing. The only difference is KIPP and Harlem charter schools have much longer school days, longer school years and don't have to contend with teacher unions, traditional state licensing requirements, elected school boards and other beuracratic obstacles that often impede the progress traditional public schools are trying to make. Good news if CMS wins this award but we still have a long way to go before the fat lady can sing. So watch where we're aiming that champagne cork.

Anonymous said...

CMS blows!! Got to a private school if you want a real education.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Anon 8:31, yes, we were absolutely going to put the story on 1A if it had happened.

wiley said...

A 13-person CMS delegation is there to get the news: Gorman; Board Chair Eric Davis, Vice Chair Tom Tate, board members Kaye McGarry, Trent Merchant and Joe White and former board Chair Molly Griffin; Chief Academic Officer Ann Clark; Chief Operating Officer Hugh Hattabaugh; Chief Accountability Officer Robert Avossa; LaTarzja Henry, the top public-relations official; Denise Watts, a strategic staffing principal promoted to oversee high-poverty schools; and Mary McCray, a CMS teacher who heads the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators.

I see about $250,000 in salaries we can eliminate.

Also, I hope Molly Griffin paid her own way so we didn't pick up the tab.

Anonymous said...

No champagne for CMS but second place still deserves something a little finer than a bottle of 2-Buck-Chuck.

May I suggest an $8 bottle of sparkling VOSS water from Norway which is kicking our U.S. educational butt right there along with Sweden and Finland. Darn Vikings.

Anonymous said...

The word "ingenious" should NEVER, EVER be applied in the same sentence as an idea by Dr. Gorman. On a separate note... someone should close that Broad Superintendents Academy...clearly they suck. And finally, to the person mentioning strategic staffing... that would be all well and good if school would crack down on discipline and support teachers and involve parents whether or not they want to... how's that for an ingenious idea.

Anonymous said...

KIPP and the Harlem Children's Zone although primarily in low-income areas still consist of self-selected students unlike "regular" public schools. CMS and no other system in NC deals with teacher "unions" either - which should be obvious to anyone who has observed how teachers here are treated.

Anonymous said...

So with a budget cut coming, OP-EDs about money , CMS Board and staff find the time and the funds to go clubbing in NYC and wheel around. Did they take their own security detail too? I think the CMS Board has reached a new level of cynicism. But they won't find time to meet with the schools they are closing. Better look inside the Board guys, something is stinky in Denmark, not sure who your supporters will be when you get home from this. It sure isn't me. Safe travels and thanks for taking our school's money for a boondoggle.

Anonymous said...

Strategic Staffing is a bust and Pete's internal research has told him so. No other reason for him to close his "strategically staffed" schools in this proposal except they are about to mar his public image and tell the world, especially DC, what a fraud he is. Get the point people, everything he has tried from the "business perspective" has failed and now he's trying to cover it up by throwing these children under the bus. We need an audit and/or an investigation. There are so many re-directions of funds in the budget that someone should have noticed the red flags! Why isn't he proposing to change the names of these schools into the ones that are moving in? Because the outside world will not know that the future data coming out will be from a different student body. Pete and staff will get their pay for performance and go on to cushier jobs. This system, this town and this county will never recover from the strife that is coming.

Anonymous said...

Corrections to misinformation about E. E. Waddell. Low scores on the facilities condition measurement are good so Waddell's 45 is a good thing. South Meck's score is 95 and West Meck's is an 85, both schools in very poor condition. But guess what? Both have 2007 bond money coming (who knows when) and Pete and the Board are too scared of the fight that would ensue if there was a hint of closing one of them.

Waddell is no longer underutilized. It has 136 more students than last year increasing its utilization to 84%; 9% less than Ardrey Kell, 4% more than South Meck and 28% greater than Harding. Bring Harding to Waddell. Why not? It's all about the money folks. The powers that be want the land where all of these schools are located. They want the property values to go up and do not care how much they hurt children as long as they can change the "perceptions". "Lies, Lies and more damned lies" You all are just another tool to be used to keep us fighting over insignificantly tiny pieces of the pie while they rob us blind behind closed doors. Where is the money Pete? In all those suits you've quietly hired? We need an investigation! Poor Mike Raible, he's being thrown under the bus for doing what he was told to do.

Anonymous said...

Pete, how exactly is this personal development when you're about to lay off another 600+ employees? Undoubtedly the lowest form of personal chestbeating ever witnessed here. How many reams of paper did this cost? Mr. Spangler, did you envision a party in Manhattan on your dime for second place? Does this justify an entourage of Bozos worthy of Mike Tyson or Vince Mcmahon? An itemized breakdown of costs would certainly be worthwhile Ann since field trips are rarely possible for students. Think about what these funds could have done? Is a recall possible?

Anonymous said...

"Self selected" students in KIPP and the Harlem Children's Zone use a lottery system highly similar to CMS for entrance into CMS's most prized magnet schools so your argument that the reason low-income and minority students perform better at KIPP and Harlem Children Zone charter schools is bunk.

Although NC does not have an official teachers "union" it has a teacher's "association" that makes it almost impossible to fire a teacher after 4 years on the job.

Anonymous said...

I'm a former state certified teacher who refused to join my teacher's union in a different state because I don't believe in unions or tenure. I worked with some outstanding teachers and teachers with tenure who were an utter embarrassment to the profession. When I informed my teacher's union I had no intention of joining, I was told I didn't have a choice and they docked pay from my paycheck anyway. I left public school teaching within a short period of time to work as an adjunct professor at a major university. I've since worked in the private sector.

I'm elated to see innovative programs like KIPP and the Harlem Children's Zone working because I don't give a crap about the security of teachers who aren't qualified to be teaching in the first place. It's about providing the best education possible for children, not about job security for adults.

Go ahead. Shoot me.

Anonymous said...

First of all get your information straight. The latest article about Harlem Children's Zone is that test scores fell because New York had to change the passing scores to reflect higher standards. Secondly, it is costing about $16,000 per child in that school. Are you willing to pay that Charlotte? No, not when you are crying about $8000.

KIPP and HCZ still have control over who enters and remain in their programs. Research has shown that charter schools with the same demographics are faring no better than the public schools.

There is no union in North Carolina but there is an advocacy organization. No one advocates keeping ineffective teachers but if you hire them, then help them to become better. If they do not improve then give them their due process rights before termination. Any worker's right in these United States of America, correct?

Anonymous said...

Yes, students who are not committed to KIPP and HCZ can be removed from the program although I have no idea how often this occurs. So valid point here. It also takes motivated parents to apply indicating a level of commitment to their child's education. A reason why students might make stronger gains. KIPP and HCZ also have significantly longer school days and longer school years with the expectation that all children will attend college.

On relieving ineffective public school teachers from duty, I don't care what state you live in, this is still an extremely difficult thing to do. Ask any principal or school superintendent in any state.

Anonymous said...

In response to Anon October 19, 2010 10:02 AM - - - Well said.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Oct. 22, 3:34. (these anonymous code names are sort of funny)

- A.D.
Which does not stand for "After Death" that public schools can no longer use in an effort to avoid offending anyone who isn't Christian. Today, the politically correct terms are: Before Common Era (B.C.E.) and After Common Era (A.C.E.). If you want to pass any AP History or AP Art History exam, you better know this. So much for the Renaissance period and all that offensive art in Italy not to mention the comic strip entitled B.C. Welcome to the United States of the Offended.