Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Party tickets in CMS board race

It looks like the Democrats and Republicans will both be pushing three-person tickets for the Nov.  8 Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board race  --  and the process has gotten messy for both parties.

The board race is nonpartisan,  which means no primaries and no parties on the ballot.  But with 14 people jostling for three slots at a time when crucial decisions are being made,  both groups want to get their people elected.

The Mecklenburg Democratic Party hasn't made endorsements in recent school board elections.  But party Chair Aisha Dew said with so many candidates in what's traditionally a low-turnout race,  it's important that Democrats not spread their votes too thin.

The Mecklenburg Democrats apppointed a five-member endorsement committee that reviewed questionnaires and interviews done by other groups,  attended candidate forums,  did background checks,  interviewed the candidates,  talked with party members and analyzed who was most electable. The panel's unanimous recommendation:  Mary McCray,  Aaron Pomis and Ericka Ellis-Stewart.  The party's executive committee will vote Saturday on that recommendation.

The committee  "recommends that the slate be endorsed without reservation. Please remember, our real opposition is the other party and we as Democrats must be UNIFIED,"  says a letter sent to all the Democratic candidates Friday night,  signed by committee members Pamela Gordon,  Herman DeCastro,  Sam Spencer,  Gail Summerskill and Cozzie Watkins.

That didn't sit well with some of the Democrats left out:  Darrin Rankin,  Lloyd Scher,  Lisa Hundley,  DeShauna McLamb and Hans Plotseneder.

Rankin,  a member of the party's executive board,  notified the party Friday afternoon that he was resigning from that post to focus on the school board race.  He said Monday he was puzzled by the panel's decision but will remain an active Democrat.

Scher,  who served four terms as a Mecklenburg County commissioner,  says he and Rankin have been more active in the party than the people chosen:  "How do you think I feel?  I've been a Democrat since I was 10 years old,  working on John F. Kennedy's campaign."

Republicans have generally had an easy road to endorsements:  They tend to field one candidate per open seat and promote them heavily among party members.  But this year filing closed with four GOP contenders.  After a good bit of debate,  Scott Babbidge withdrew on Sept. 1,  leaving the party to endorse Tim MorganKen Nelson and Tom Davis.  Last week Davis also pulled out,  saying he wants to pursue a state House seat next year.

Meanwhile Keith Hurley,  who had filed as an unaffiliated voter and who got Babbidge's support,  switched his registration to Republican.  Local GOP officials didn't return calls Monday asking whether he'll be added to the endorsement slate.

For those who are keeping score,  the remaining candidates  --  Larry Bumgarner,  Elyse Dashew and Jeff Wise  --  are unaffiliated.  And the departing incumbents include one of each:  Republican Kaye McGarry,  Democrat Joe White and unaffiliated Trent Merchant.


Larry said...

We have seen what getting five team members who are working together can do time after time.

Perhaps this time around we can get people who are not team members, and are in there working only for the kids and their future.

Anonymous said...

Keith Hurley is a Republican? He apparently wrote the following letter to the editor of the Obersver about a fellow member of the GOP.

"McCrory should butt out of the personal lives of other officials

Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, we appreciate your kind-hearted words for the current politicians who are sending their children to private schools. But Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon can send their children to any school they choose. That's a private matter.

It's easy for McCrory to throw stones since he never wanted to take any leadership with the schools and has no children. Maybe he should choose his battles more wisely.

Keith W. Hurley


Rev. Mike said...

What we'll get is exactly what we had before everyone "worked together" [sic], which is the previous variation on the theme of a dysfunctional BOE, not the BOE comprised of magic pixies and fairies that all work together only for the good of "the children." In order for that to occur, Larry, we would all have to agree on the definition of "the good," and we are nowhere close to that in this community.

Rev. Mike said...

Anonymous, the defining characteristic of a red-blooded Republican in Mecklenburg County is their inclination towards eating their own.

Larry said...

How about no excuses education and choices like Quality Charter Schools in every challenged neighborhood?

The fact you have competition in Public Schools makes them have to step up in quality.

Oh and if anyone does not think that would work might want to read the following


This is hot off the presses this week on our CMS schools showing that choice and quality does make all the difference.

So yes I am a feel good kind of guy and it is because I have been all over the country seeing how it works, and that makes me feel soooooooo good.

New York, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Chicago why the list goes on and on.

We can get the Pixies and Fairies here if that is what you want to call it, but the main thing is we are going to have get the groups and the school board out of the schools and daily operations and get the educators back to the business they do best while giving the parents and students quality choices.

Wiley Coyote said...

I've said all along it wouldn't matter who we get as BOE members or superintendent.

The status quo will remain the same and there will be little to no significant changes in CMS going forward.

It boils down to electing a group of Democrats who believe in a return to busing to achieve income integration and spending as much money they can get their hands on for failed programs like Bright Beginnings or another group who wants to waste just as much money on needless testing.

Which devil will you choose?

Angela said...

Folks, you all really need to check out Jeff Wise. He is a good guy, knows what it is like to work with school-aged kids and has an excellent viewpoint when it comes to all of this pay-for-performance testing and the search for the new superintentendent. He really needs gress-roots efforts behind him.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps The Board is a good place to start supporting people who prefer to serve without the burden of political posturing.

Wiley Coyote said...

D <------ Pull lever if you see this symbol.

R <------- Pull lever if you see this symbol.

We can use the results from the election to see how many CMS graduates learned what those letters are and whether or not we need further testing.

Anonymous said...

Presently (not considering the at large members NOT running) we have a segment of the Board who wants to have taxing authority and who wants to return CMS to the days of forced integration via busing of children all over the County.
We have a segment of the Board that is in favor of continuing down the path we are on and getting in bed with outside, liberal/progressive special interests like Broad Foundation. This same segment is also behind the explosion of standardized testing, extending the school day, claiming to have "saved" $4 million on transportation (yet they don't tell you some $1.8 MM of that $4MM is being used on wages because the extended day has meant more hours for Assistants). oh and forget parents are mad as heck about this extended school day farce.
From where I sit, I'd say as a community we ought to vote all of them out of office. Rev Mike, I am not sure it is actually eating your own when one of your "own" favors taxing authority for CMS Board, is more concerned with advancing his own political career by getting elected at large so he can get a leadership position on the Board.
We keep electing Democrats/Liberals/Progressives and big government expansion Republicrats around here.
Perhaps it is time to give actual Conservatives a chance......I can promise that electing some Conservatives to the CMS Board sure can't be any worse than continuing down the path we are on.......
Oh, and while I am at it, how many of you understand that PROACT, the search firm hired by the School Board, is run by people who are tied into the Broad Foundation. What do you think are the chances that a Broad biased search firm brings all Broad "trained" candidates in front of the Board? I'd say 100%. And I wonder, what influence does the money Broad flows into CMS have on what happens in CMS......??????? And do we want private, billionaire funded foundations having that much influence on how our schools are run??? Last time I checked, Bill Gates and Eli Broad have exactly zero classroom experience.....
What is really behind the immense fascination with CMS on the part of these foundations? What's their political philosophy? Time to connect the dots folks.

Anonymous said...

Lloyd Scher should know there's only room for ONE white boy on any Democratic Executive Committee reccomendation. Scheeze!

Anonymous said...

Yet another Observer piece which fails to disclose that Tim Morgan is the brother of Chamber pres Bob Morgan. Tim was a good waterboy for Bob, voting for every big dollar project that lined the pockets of the Chamber's well-heeled construction buddies (Rodgers Construction and others).

Anonymous said...

Angela, Jeff Wise doesn't have relevant experience. He hasn't had a child go through CMS and dosen't have a background in education.

No offense meant to you or Jeff, but I can't see voting for him.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 1:09...

Define "relevant experience"?

Joe White was a Coach and head of the BOE but answers like "just feed the kids" or "duh" somehow qualifies him?

Jeff Wise...

His wife is a middle school band director in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. Together they have an almost 4-year old son.

I would say he has just as much at stake and relevant "knowledge" to serve.

From your comment, I take it you don't think the person currently occupying the White House has any "relevant experience" either....

Jeff Wise said...

To September 27, 1:09p:

I spent 11 years teaching a number of area marching bands. I'd spend 3 hours a night, 3 nights a week instructing and spent most fall weekends getting the band ready to perform at competitions.

By no means would I equate that to what my wife (or any other teacher) does 180 days year inside a classroom, but I would definitely equate it to relevant experience.

I think having a (now) 4-year old about to enter CMS next year would give me all the more incentive to ensure that he will have a quality school to attend.

Wylie - good comments regarding relevant experience.


Anonymous said...

Who are these all wise 5 democrats?

So the 1st election was with by these 5 dems, then next election was will be the Dem Board then the last election will be by the voters -

That is a tough campaign season.

Anonymous said...

Would someone please explain to Rhonda Lennon that the "car" did not pull off the road to reevaluate the "PfP" initiative.....it has just be renamed. The end result has not changed....the process has not changed...the timeline has not changed.

therestofthestory said...

Rev Mike, I am not so sure what point you are trying to make. I know as a conservative, what I am looking for is someone who is committed to being sure our tax dollars are being spent for best possible value of educating the children. Too many children in our county are losing educational opportunity because we have misappropriated dollars that are getting no return.

It is clear, CMS is on the wrong course and has been on the wrong course when you look at its demographics compared to the county's demographics.

Everyone talks about closing the achievement gap but when you look at the actual numbers, the gap in 2001-02 school year was 34.4 and now has been reported as 36.8 and everyone is celebrating. And yes the gap has been wider, 44.5.

Anonymous said...

What if all of the students in parochial, private, home schools, and "most" charters were still in CMS?
The achievement gap would be over 60. Ironically the losers uptown are trying to force teachers to choose a scaffold to determine a rope strand preference to hang themselves with the new adulterated pfp. Fortunately we talked our son out of education. Teaching in CMS for an extended period of time pretty much eliminates a future and any chance of pay parity. Overseas looks better and better to our younger teachers with good reason.

Anonymous said...

The democratic party has yet to endorse anyone. Geez, it was a recommendation and Aisha Dew - who is THOROUGHLY overwhelmed as Chair - doesn't seem to understand this. She is already touting the recommendations as the choices before the Oct. 1 vote. C'mon Aisha, at least get this right...you've screwed everything else up. At least pretend there is a vote Saturday, just like you pretend you are relevant and not about to be given a vote of no confidence. Pathetic...

Anonymous said...

pfp won't happen without a teacher vote. period.

Wiley Coyote said...


According to the numbers I saw released about a month ago, the gap was 29 points without retests and 24 with the retest for math in grades 3-8. Other courses were similar, some had bigger gaps, others smaller.

But, to your point, if you look at the progression of the math gap in grades 3-8 over the past 5 years, it's been closed by only 10 points without retests.

That's two points per year gain.

Based on the past 5 year point gap change per year projected into the future, it will take about 15 years to close the gap to Whites at this rate.

The reading gap in the same 3-8 grade group is worse.


therestofthestory said...

Thnaks WC. I had been looking for any new data but the NC Report Card site still does not have it. I check it because of how it mistates class size and I think that is one of the 3 biggest stats a parent should look at when choosing a school/program.

As for the achievement gap, NC is long overdue to "reset" the difficulty of its ABC tests. When that happens, the gap widens and this whole march reduces to just a math exercise. Which is challenging enough for most of the ivory tower staff.

And to 10:34, you are right that the gap would still be there if the rest of the county kids where in CMS. However, the educrats would cheer the point if they were and still call themselves an urban school district because of their pandering to the minorities. And lastly, I have an acquaintance who is already over half fulfilled their obligation to the state and looking forward to leaving CMS for less harassment from ever changing adminstrators and less cooperative teachers.