Thursday, August 9, 2012

CMS + DNC = Never a dull moment

This could have been a ho-hum start of school for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.  For the first time I can recall,  there are no schools opening or closing,  no major changes in student assignment or transportation.

But the Democratic National Convention sweeps into town the week after school begins,  and that creates a raft of headaches and opportunities.

Everybody's wondering which schools,  if any,  will get celebrity visits.  CMS spokeswoman LaTarzja Henry told me exactly what I'd heard from convention reporter Tim Funk:  You don't get much advance notice on these things.  Funk reported on rumors that Michelle Obama will visit the Garinger High garden.  But as Henry noted,  lots of schools grow their own vegetables,  and they're all hoping the first lady drops in to promote her healthy eating campaign.

Teachers report to work next week,  and they'll be talking about ways to incorporate the DNC into civics and social studies lessons.  One option is out:  CMS is banning field trips that week.  That's not to say CMS would reject a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,  such as a school being invited to be part of a key event,  Henry said.  But teachers can't just pile their class in a bus and head uptown to check things out.

Meanwhile,  various groups are contacting CMS to ask about visiting schools and/or having students attend events.  CMS is setting up a system for vetting such invitations and deciding how to handle them.

One challenge I hadn't thought of is the potential for employees skipping work to take in all the excitement.  Henry said officials are emphasizing that they need everyone on the job to keep schools running that week.

Carol Stamper and her transportation staff have spent weeks planning for this epic traffic jam.  Here's the plan:

Normally,  about 325 buses  --  more than one-third of the active fleet  --  would drive on I-277 or through the convention area without making stops.  CMS has routed them around that area for the first two weeks of school.  Once the convention is over,  they'll go back to the more direct routes.  That may mean some changes in pick-up and drop-off times.

About 400 students live within the 277 loop,  and CMS has 40 stops in that area.  Up to a dozen extra buses will be pulled off the lot to make only those runs during convention week.  Normally,  each bus serves three or even four schools each morning and afternoon,  which means one delay can ripple across the county.  This way even if a few kids are delayed by convention snarls,  the hassles should be contained.

Irwin and First Ward elementaries and Metro School will have early dismissals on one or more convention days; read the details here.  On early dismissal days,  parents have the option of having their children board a bus and go to a special after-school program at a site outside the convention zone.

Despite all the planning,  it's a safe wager that something unexpected will crop up and that some will call CMS leaders idiots for keeping schools open.  Then again,  it's equally certain that they'd have been lambasted if they'd closed schools.  And Superintendent Heath Morrison does still have the option of making a last-minute call to close some schools,  just as he could in case of a power failure or bad weather.

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Given how easy it is for a student to think that government endorses religion if a prayer is said at an athletic event, wouldn't those same students be confused about government endorsing the Democratic party and Obama for president if Michelle or he make an appearance at a school during the heat of the convention?

We need separation, don't we?

Anonymous said...

Yep. It is also the Teacher Union which is in the tank for anything left-wing to brainwash our students into thinking the Dems are the only way to go - what a shame.

Anonymous said...

my kids won't be there for the brainwashing

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous #2 -

There is no Teacher Union in North Carolina genius.

Anonymous said...

Brainwashing students? Really? What is wrong with you people?!? IGNORANCE!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad your kids won't be there for the "brainwashing" because its parents like you that need to be in your little charter school or expensive snobby private school. Get a clue!

Bill Stevens said...

Ann, it is going to be neat to see a post mortem analysis of the impact the DNC will have had on our city versus the previous hype our city officals have campaigned with. But then again, the city is not known for its truthfulness with anything it cheerleads for.

Anonymous said...

Presidents and First Ladies visit schools all the time. As I recall, President Bush was in a school room when he was told about the 9/11 attacks.

Partisan politics should not be the core of discussion when the Leader of the Free World (or the First Lady) makes time to visit with students. It's just sad to see that so many Americans no longer respect the position of President of the United States, regardless of who occupies the chair.

Anonymous said...

Democrats Hate Education






See how stupid you sound?

Anonymous said...

Teachers are affiliated and pay their dues to the National Education Association, NEA.Per their website, "United States labor union committed to advancing the cause of public education."

Anonymous said...

The "union" tells us what to do? The reality is the HR "overseer" sent a e-mail saying teachers or employees can't miss time for the convention. No word on Tampa for the Republicans, Project Lift, Block Party, or any Broad Foundation schmooze fest.

Anonymous said...

9:33
What exactly is the Chamber of Commerce? A union of business thugs demanding fees for membership? In NC and other right to work states NCAE or other teacher organizations can't even get a ream of paper.

Anonymous said...

Ann, this is great news. Our daughter will start Kindergarten at First Ward the week before the DNC. I'd rather deal with the hassle of DNC traffic and security versus the impact of her not attending school that week.

Wiley Coyote said...

"CMS + DNC = Never a dull moment"

...written another way:

0 + 0 = much ado about nothing.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 9:33...

You obviously have no idea what a Chamber of Commerce is or does...

NO business is required to join a chamber of commerce.

Local chambers of commerce have existed since 1825 in the United States: the first chamber in Boston was inspired by senator Daniel Webster.

In 2005 there were 2,800 chambers of commerce in the United States and 102 chambers representing U.S. businesses overseas...

educatedman said...

This is what partisan politics and the growing hatred of anyone not conservative have done to this country. Dems have issues when the GOP comes to visit and likewise when the other is the case. I'd rather the experience be used to show how both parties use this event to garner support and for students to make up their own minds by using unbias sources, examining issues important to them personally, and learn to identify inflammatory language embedded in leaning news agencies.

Anonymous said...

Is this really news or is this just a ploy to incite derogatory comments from any and everyone.... Don't be a pawn in this game... This is just a way for the Observer to create a means to allow people to be unkind and mean to one another. Don't let "the man" play you like a fool.........

educatedman said...

And with the given track record of the GOP and its stance on public education, I cannot hardly blame any teacher for supporting agencies that support them instead of Thom Tillis proclaiming "teachers don't care about their students only their paychecks" and "they (teachers) need to know who is in charge here" referring to himself when he promoted legislation to stop teachers from making direct deposit contributions to said organizations. Once the GOP goes after tenure too, you will see a massive alignment towards any party. The public does not even know what is involved in the tenure act. It keeps a person from losing their job or taking a cut in pay for "personal" reasons not involved with the education of students. How many of you have been pushed out of jobs just because your boss does not like you, like the way you vote, like the church you attend, won't go out with them, etc? In a right to work state, you can be fired simply because "it is just not working out" or for no reason given at all. Let's also remember these laws were created here in the sunny south to keep minorities, women, and communists out of the work place in the 2nd Red Scare of the 1920's. Just another convenient twist to "Jim Crow".

Anonymous said...

@ 7:32; @9:33 Teachers pay goes to Unions and/or the NEA? Since when? It is illegal to for teachers in NC to join a union or form a union. When I was hired years ago CMS even required a "yellow-dog" contract. If you do not know what that is- look it up. Not one cent of a teacher's pay in NC is given to any "blackboard union" unless the teacher voluntarily decides to give. Either way, no union contracts, benefits, or representation exists for teachers in NC. By your comments I can only surmise that 1. you are a transplant to this area from a unionized state or 2. just have no clue. In fact I challenge either of you to produce a union contract for teachers in NC, union scale wage matrix, or union contract.

educatedman said...

I am also "amused" at those respondents claiming "brainwashing" by teachers. Guess the kids are not forced to listen to Rush in the car or Glen/Fox News at home either.

Wiley Coyote said...

North Carolina Association of Educators:

Collective Action - We value an informed membership that works collectively to advance and protect the rights, benefits and interests of education professionals and promote quality public education.

The House voted 69-45 to override the governor's veto of Senate Bill 727, which stops the North Carolina Association of Educators from collecting dues from teachers' paychecks via payroll deduction.

Yep, you're right. There are no "unions" in NC. It is a right to work state and the legislature was correct is stopping the dues issue.

If educators want to support the group, then they are free to write a check to support it.

By the way. I have a zit on my face but prefer to call it a "blemish".

Anonymous said...

UNIONS ARE NOT ILLEGAL IN NC.... I am so tired of hearing that. Collective bargaining is simply not recognized by the state. You can be a member of a union anywhere in the US, but some states simply do not recognize the practice of allowing that union to bargain for their collective members. Christ!

educatedman said...

@Wiley Coyote

So, it is ok to allow payroll deductions for gym memberships, state health care, etc. just so long as it does not interfere with "your" political views. Why don't you look up the reason why NC and other states adopted "right to work" status? It's funny how the party that claims to not to be involved in your life sure goes to great lengths to dabble into the personal business of those that do not agree with them. Same with gerrymandering and the other "legal" avenues that divide, discriminate, and misinform.

educatedman said...

@Anonymous

Yes unions are not illegal in NC. The lawmakers took care of that in the 1920's along with minorities, communists, and women with that "right to work" thing you seem to forget. Rest assured Tillis and his cronies have made no bones about the fact that they intend to strip teachers of every avenue to keep the GOP from gutting public education. The stopping of dues was just his first step. I hope one day you live/work long enough to know what if feels like to lose a job for "personal" reasons that have nothing to do with the person you are or the job you do.

Anonymous said...

@ Wiley Coyote; @ 11:18- The NCAE was and is a volunteer teacher organization. Again, show me the proof that a teacher was or is required to join or pay dues at any time. I never joined b/c I personally have questions about labor unions and their role in education but that is beyond the point. By painting all teachers as union members either complicit or by force you then open the door for misrepresentation of all teachers. I challenge anyone to start a teacher's union in NC and see what the reply would be. Second point, why would anyone belong to a labor union if that labor union could not provide any benefits? For example, if a union teacher from Chicago relocated to Charlotte and voluntarily retained their membership in the Chicago union, they would not receive any benefits of that union here in NC. So in that respect union membership is not illegal but incredibly stupid unless you feel like giving cash to a union like one gives cash to a charity or PAC.

Ann Doss Helms said...

10:33, so far there are about 25 comments (from a smaller number of individuals) and 1,300 page views. I always try to remember there are a lot of people reading who aren't taking part in the back-and-forth.

Wiley Coyote said...

educatedman,

I'm a registered unaffilliated voter who wouldn't be caught dead supporting either party platform.

Public education NEEDS to be gutted because the whole system is predicated on fraud with the National School Lunch Program and has been a dismal failure for decades.

I'm for spending what it takes to educate ALL children, but Democrats, Republicans and educrats are responsible for the sorry state public education has been in for the past 40 years.

The system needs to be totally dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.

educatedman said...

"Fraud"? What fraud? Or are you from a certain religious school in NC that won't hire a teacher that does not agree that Native Americans were wiped out because they did not accept Christianity? Or are you among the supporters in the great gop state of texas that are rewriting history books in order to present a "conservative" viewpoint? National school lunch program? I was not aware that persons serving cafeteria food to students hired by their respective school districts was a "national conglomerate" perpetrated by our evil lawmakers. Apparently since you are so wiser than the rest of us, you must be self-educated. Or are you going to proclaim the 40 year mark in education that just so happens to coincide with the desegregation of schools as our educational downfall? Is that a white robe I see in there? Just what should schools be "teaching"? This should be amusing.

Anonymous said...

I think the page views are due to the back and forth... kinda like rastlin!

Bill Stevens said...

Here is a classic example of misrepresentation of one party by anohter. The left leaning media made a big deal out of VP Biden's speech last week or so to some group that Romney did not support public education. Yes Romney wants to shut down the Department of Education especially the piece that deals with K-12. Why? Because the feds have no business in that area. It is a state constitutional responsibility. Wiley correctly points out how all these parties have corrupted public education. Too many use these public services as their soapbox of glory. They are not public servants. Federal money comes with strings attached. Those strings create adminstrative overhead and other support requirements that they do not reimburse for. It is the same as unfunded mandates.

The Federal Government has screwed up every human service it has touched. They introduced Medicare, medical costs skyrocketed. Every one deserves a home? Housing market skyrocketed and crashed along with mortgage and the credit markets. Every kid must go to college? College debt is going to follow these kids for years and years and will probably keep a lot out of the housing market slowing its recovery. I can go on but big government is killing us as a nation. Big government simply pits citizen against citizen, exploits class warfare and creates more division than unity.

Anonymous said...

Keith W. Hurley- Ann, Since Charlotte is basically shut down from its main employment hub (downtown not up) CMS will see at a minimum 50% less students that week. Business is closed families are at the beach or mountains. This is very poorly planned by CMS and City/County folks. The negative impact on Charlotte from this event towards education is shocking. Schools maybe open , but you will see 50% less students that week. CMS in general should just use this as a early break and cut either extend the year or cut some other breaks short. Certainly not MLK since that woud shutter Kojo and crew. Keith W. Hurley

educatedman said...

@Wiley Coyote

If you are registered not voting for either platform, unaffiliated, how then do you decide who to for for?

Rant much do you?

Anonymous said...

The teacher bashing begins once again. Again, teachers are categorized in one column and said to be money grubbing, union joining slackers who brainwash their children. Hope your attitude towards teachers does not filter down to you children. Would hate to have to deal with another layer of disrespect.
Thanks for making those of us who are excited about getting back into the classroom next week feel good about what we do.......love the support!
(Oh wait, I'm already back in the classroom....choosing to go in early to get an extra jump on preparing for my students. Off the clock, for those of you who are concerned about my paycheck...)Good thing I love my students and my job, which I truly do. Just tired of being a target and being accused of things I'm not. And I'm sure most teachers are with me on that.

educatedman said...

@Bill Stevens

And state money does NOT comes with strings attached? So Tillis making sure that teachers can't have association fees deducted is NOT someone pulling strings for the benefit of his own party? Medicare did not cause medical care to skyrocket. Pharmaceutics companies, doctor fees, hospital conglomerates, health insurance companies, etc. and THEIR greed for profit have taken care of that. Home crisis? Try banks, finance companies like Fairbanks Capital that were found guilty of posting payments late, charging erroneous fees, late fees, etc.to customers then closed shop in Utah, moved to Florida and reopened up for business under another name. People can't pay mortgages when they lose their jobs because Bain Capital decides the CEO and investors, stockholders are more important than the people that "actually do the work". People can't pay mortgages when state governments freeze pay for the fifth year in a row and still have not adjusted their pay because Tillis and his cronies think teachers only deserve 1.2% after he gives salary increases to his staff to 120k a year and pays off his staffers that are cheating on their spouses, etc. Yes, I will agree with you. It is class warfare and it has run amok with those that have power and are drunk on it. College debt can't be paid off when people do not have jobs, companies/government agencies fail to deliver on programs designed to pay off college debt if teachers agree to teach in Title 1 districts, gas and food prices go through the roof, medical care goes through the roof, etc. It's all about greed. "How much can I make?" "Where can I hide it?" "Who can I leave holding the bag?"

BolynMcClung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BolynMcClung said...

IF HO-HUM MEANS…..

…that two high schools made the front page as asterisks for failing to have a plan to maximize the number of potential graduates, then ho-hum it is!

There is absolutely no reason to be worried. Bus 54 will have a driver, will be met by a smiling teacher. The riders will be escorted to classrooms complete with effective teachers and full sets of text books.

The easy part is getting the kids to school. The hard part, as we’ve just been reminded, is getting them out.

Ho-hum, ho-hum it's off to school we go....but for those that don't graduate it will not be...

....heigh-ho, heigh-ho it's off to work we go.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

Ignorance. Plain and simple. All of you except the teacher working in her classroom, not getting paid, because she loves her job. Keep it up and support our children.

Wiley Coyote said...

educatedman,

It's obvious by your question you pull one lever.

I would be the opposite of you. I don't pull one lever.

BolynMcClung said...

I JUST READ EDUCATEDMAN'S COMMENT....

"If you are registered not voting for either platform, unaffiliated, how then do you decide who to for for?"

My question:

What do you do when others don't hear the same things you do?

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

@Wiley Coyote

NCAE is your example of a union? Surely you jest. NCAE is a joke and as a teacher I would never contribute money to it. Why bother?

Do they have collective bargaining power? No.

Do they threaten strike to gain leverage for pay and benefits? Of course not.

Do they make legal challenges to the state making changes to teacher's contracts (i.e. pay freeze) year after year? Clearly not.


You are certainly entitled to be against union practices in some areas of this country; there is an argument to be made that there can be abuse. If that is the case, then you should be in favor of more unions like NCAE. An organization that rolls over as pay steps are frozen and benefits decreased for four years in a row would seem to be the exact kind of union you could get behind.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, I would contend that the lack of legally enforceable collective bargaining and the threat of strike in North Carolina actually HURTS student learning. Which I admit, seems like a contradiction.

That said, the lack of these options has a very damaging unintended consequence: it concentrates all power in the hands of administration. This has several effects:

1. It eliminates avenues for complaint about administrative incompetence or corruption. Everyone in this district knows that regardless of the merits of your complaint, you will be silenced if you voice it. Teachers consistently stand by in the face of decisions that are BAD FOR CHILDREN at the school level because of their (justified) concern that they will be punished for insubordination

2. It makes efforts to implement pay for performance difficult. There is no credible partner for local BOEs to negotiate with on pay for performance schemes (which I think are a great idea in theory). You might point out that teachers have been invited to participate in workshops to design such programs. In reality, these teachers are not generally trusted; the impression is that many of them are cronies whom are trying to make it into administration and out of the classroom. Additionally, those teachers whom are the most trusted do not generally participate, as they are swamped with extra duties that they have taken on to do what is best for children.

3. It breeds bad staff morale through distrust and contempt. Teachers will never trust administration when all power is concentrated on one side. For the sake of a politically incorrect analogy, imagine slave owners offering to negotiate better working conditions with slaves. Clearly trust would not be present. Furthermore, so long as trust is an issue, ridiculous conspiracy theories about administrative intentions will continue to circulate, hampering morale.

4. Collectively bargained contracts often include stipulations that make a teacher's life easier while at the same time also aiding student learning. Such stipulations would include maximum class size (good for both), maximum student load (good for both), guaranteed planning time (again good for both).



My point being, do not focus solely on the role of pay and benefits in collective bargaining. There is far, far more to it than that.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 1:55...

I have never said NCAE was a union. You can call it anything you want, an association (as they do), whatever.

I stated there were no "unions" in NC. I put asterisks around "unions" in my comment above because the parameters of what a union can do is different in right to work states.

I worked with unions and their representatives in Charlotte a number of years ago in a past job as a general manger.

I agree that the NCGA should also stop other organizations from having their dues withheld from state paychecks.

Susan said...

"There is no Teacher Union in North Carolina genius."

Yeah, there is, whether you admit it or not. I suppose you think "right-to-work" has to do with banning unions. Just because teachers can't strike or collectively bargain doesn't mean there isn't an NEA affiliate. There is. NEA is not just a professional association, it is a union. It's just that NC teachers have their rights so watered down it may look like there are no unions at all, but there are.

Susan said...

NCAE IS a union. An association is the same thing as a union; there isn't a dime's worth of difference.

The legislature can and does put curbs on what these unions or associations can do, but it is a LIE to say unions don't exist in NC or that they are outlawed.

Anonymous said...

Democraps love spending other peoples money.

Anonymous said...

Susan,
Semantics is a beautiful obfuscation of reality. NCAE and any other teacher's organization in NC is like Bob Barker used to preach spay or neutering your pets. It's already been done.These organizations offer one thing; professional insurance. In that instance it may be worth it as NCAE's lawyer seems to be able to extract maximum dollar out of human resources on a regular basis when CMS trys to disregard intimidation and shoddy employment practices.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all the Human Resource department THUGS for sending me the memo today on not missing work for any reason during the DNC convention

Just how many administrators did you count in that picture when CMS won the Broad Prize?

Hypocrites

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah. About that letter telling us not to take off during the DNC. News for you folks. I have a professional meeting (dealing with teaching) in another city that week. I need to go...it is workshops that will help me be more learn new information to be more effective in the classroom. I signed up to go 3 months ago. I don't set the schedule, they do. I am paying for my own hotel, my registration, my transportation AND I'm using two personal leave days which mean money comes out of MY paycheck to cover the cost of my substitute. And NOW you're telling me I can't go? Good luck with that, HR.

BolynMcClung said...

ANN'S MOST CORRECT ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY FOR BAD WEATHER.

I forgot that there is a snow day early in September.

Would that be for all the promises being made at the convention center?

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

Hey ADH. I am a CMS employee and tried to email Dr. Morrison today. He does not have an email address in the CMS email address book and there is no email other than a generic one on the CMS website. Can you ask what his email address and why he does not have one? Even Pete Gorman had an email address that we teachers who were bold enough to do so could email him. Let us know lease.

Anonymous said...

His email is at the new Communications /Hoopla/PR department. WAKE UP LATARZA

Anonymous said...

Heathe.morrison@cms.k12.nc.us

Anonymous said...

Hurricane Hugo, September 22-24, 1989 USA landfall. I have also had family evacuated from the coast the first week of July for a tropical storm.

Anonymous said...

That email does not work!

Anonymous said...

I emailed him at that address yesterday and he replied this morning, so It must be user error. Try again.

Anonymous said...

ER, ah.

Solution for no email address.

Write letter.
Mail letter.
Sip a nice cool one while awaiting answer.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Marvin Bradley, formerly of CMS, is the principal at Northwest Halifax High School mentioned in this morning's editorial(see below). He inspired students, teachers, families and the community to rally behind that school. He made them believe. Bring him back!


"This year, things were different. So different as to warrant applause – and maybe emulation. Three Halifax schools still made the low-performing list. There were 15 statewide – including two in CMS. But most Halifax schools made great progress, especially its two high schools.

Last year the passing rate for Southeast Halifax High went from 28 percent to 34 percent, and Northwest’s rate stayed flat at 44.8 percent. This year, the passing rate at Southeast took a big leap – to 68.9 percent. Northwest’s rate jumped to 60 percent."

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/08/09/3444292/halifax-schools-make-noteworthy.html#storylink=cpy

Anonymous said...

NCAE is just a small racist group with a very small number of members. Al Sharpton Jr. leads the group today and is only on a racist tirade. They do nothing for teachers they are a negative group of africans. Their leader barely speaks english and he used to be a teachers. Something wrong with that picture maybe thats why the west side kids cant graduate?

Anonymous said...

Just go ahead and divide the schools into 3 districts. White/Black & handicapped. Morrison has already brought race into the picture. Go ahead do it before Obama comes to town and the schools are empty.

Anonymous said...

Does the handicapped "zone" include district 1? Makes sense as they've been handicapped by having an ineffective board member...well, no that's not fair; she's been very effective hunting down info when Christine orders her to...

Christine in 2013...

Anonymous said...

Why did we not start school 2 weeks later for everyone! Oh, that;s right - might make sense!

Ann Doss Helms said...

8:30, you may be right, but you've got to blame the state, not CMS, for eliminating that option. The state calendar law doesn't let most schools open before Aug. 25 or dismiss after June 10. A delayed start wouldn't let CMS get the required days completed in time. Likewise, it occurred to me that without the restrictions, CMS could have opened a week or two early and taken the week of Labor Day/DNC off.