Tuesday, September 11, 2012

CMS, Union, Gaston ready to race

Get ready for another round of Race to the Top, the federal grant program designed to spur policymakers to shake up schools that are failing students.

After a state competition that is shaping North Carolina's testing and teacher evaluations, the federal government has invited individual school districts to compete for a total of $383 million. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Union and Gaston are among 32 districts in North Carolina and 893 nationwide that have filed an  "intent to apply"  form with the U.S. Department of Education.

Superintendent Heath Morrison says the CMS board will start working on the application this month,  with a due date at the end of October.  One thing that may surprise people,  he said in a recent interview,  is that the proposal won't just target the high-poverty,  low-performing schools that often draw extra money.

"We are also looking at schools that are doing very well compared with other schools in our district and our state and around the country,"  Morrison said.

It's part of his push to make sure people understand that making CMS better means boosting achievement for top students and high-performing schools, too.  He said he keeps hearing that the district has focused mostly on the weakest schools and students,  though he said he's not yet sure whether that is reality or a failure of  "messaging."

"When we get kids who are well ahead,  are we keeping them ahead?  We've got to be very thoughtful about projects and opportunities for children who are extremely bright,  who are going to go on and have amazing careers and amazing opportunities in higher education,"  Morrison said.  "I want to be as focused on our children who come to us well ahead as students who come to us well behind."

Morrison hasn't offered any specifics yet.  In Reno,  Nev.,  he opened new middle school magnets for gifted students.  His grand plan for CMS is expected in early December,  but the Race to the Top application may provide a sneak peak at some strategies.

The competition for school districts requires a focus on four big areas:  Rigorous standards and exams,  data systems that measure student growth,  recruitment and retention of effective educators,  and  "turning around the nation's lowest-achieving schools."  Applicants are expected to lay out plans for  "personalized learning environments"  that use teachers and technology to tailor lessons to students' needs.

CMS has indicated it plans to seek a grant in the $20 million to $30 million range  (Wake and Guilford counties,  the other big N.C. districts,  also plan to enter the race).  The feds only plan to award 15 to 25 grants,  in amounts ranging from $5 million to $45 million.  As the Public School Forum of North Carolina puts it,  "competition will be very stiff." 

30 comments:

Wiley Coyote said...

Helping all students..

What a novel idea.

Morrison +1.

Anonymous said...

In the race to the top, teachers are being trampled...and children are about to be exhausted as those desperate teachers drive them toward more tests- because they have to! Sad.

Anonymous said...

Does it seem to anyone else that all this testing is like someone who keeps interviewing and being tested for a job over and over again so even though he has the job he never gets any work done - so then he gets dismissed for not doing a good job? Do we not have enough data already to know that the kids and teachers need to spend more time learning and teaching? And now we can spend time applying for more money for more tests??

Anonymous said...

Wiley , I think Heath is still minus 10 (-10) as he was minus 11 prior to plus 1? Of course all who cared to be involved in the future of education knew this race to the top item was coming a few years back. CMS just must have forgot about it certainly the most interested party. I want to see more decisions with Heath's name on them as the 90 day window is passing. My child in middle school got home last night at 5:15 pm to do homework,eat then rush to dance class. At about 8:30 the kid is exhausted. Heath- CHANGE MIDDLE SCHOOL START AND END TIMES. Thats a common sense change that never should have started by CMS. He can be a positive impact on that one item. Teachers have left and great students as well all , because of late start times. Keith W. Hurley

Wiley Coyote said...

Keith,

I merely said +1 related to this topic.

It is not an overall score nor am I grading on a curve.

It's the same as giving a kid 50 points just to turn in a paper with their name on it, as opposed to a zero for doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

Wiley , I know and I gave you 50 already per CMS guidelines. I am also getting in line for some race to top funds for my testing data. I am certain I can meet the criteria and accountability elements. If only I hired a consultant look what I could do. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

Morrison

All that money spent on consultants to measure the morale of your workforce? You are a JOKE!

Anonymous said...

4:07 , Careful now we need to treat Heath nicely we just paid hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to bring him to CMS. I agree with your comments 100% ! Remeber the last time CMS spent a huge some of money on a top executive? Mr. Gorman and see what that got us. So I feel your pain . Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

What do you expect when you pay your workforce peanuts. All you have left working are clowns and monkeys.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 4:46...

The average teacher salary in Chicago is $71,000 and the graduation rate is 60.6%.

Sooo...tell me how paying teachers more money solves the problem?

Anonymous said...

I have lost over $6,000 in salary and benefits working for NC as a teacher. All I want is cost of living of 3% to keep up with inflation.

Anonymous said...

Money is given to the highest and lowest achievers but what about majority? What ever happened to average?

Anonymous said...

All the money CMS takes in is wasted on downtown hot air. If it actually went to teachers and education we would improve grades plus teacher morale another 30%. Then the downtown "executives" could shove that in their pipe and smoke it.

Anonymous said...

Dowtown administrators couldnt survive a year in todays classroom.

Their answer is to add students and take away computers.

Anonymous said...

No question about it I just watched 15 minutes of BOE meeting. They are beating their chest , because they opened schools this year in their mind 100% accurate. Were the lawns mowed? No Were the buses on time? No Were the classrooms staffed properly? No I had to turn my head and cough it was so bad. Eric Davis , Rhonda Lemmon , EES , Tom Tate completely bowing down to Heath. Joyce do you speak english at all? Ridiculous waste of resources right their in the BOE. Scott Mcully if you actually had a clue about redistricting your head would shine. Get a clue and Heath get a hair cut your a big city boy now.

Anonymous said...

WK,

$71,000 is nothing in Chicago. How about changing that to Charlotte dollars. And again, average means that they add in the supers and assistant supers and them average. You know what they say about lies. Big, white and statistics.

Bill Stevens said...

Wiley, I had Dr. Gorman with a plus score by his 364th day. However, at the one year deadline with his "plan", I gave him a minus 100. While he talked of great concern with the overcrowded and under-resourced suburban schools, at one year, he forgot all about them. I do not know who got to him.

Remember too that CMS had an aggressive plan that any non urban school PTA that raised money, had to submit a portion of it back to CMS for the so called effort of redistributing it to the urban schools. Funny how that never happened and no BOE member seemed concerned it was missing. And this was to be on top of all the school partner programs already in place.

See http://www.cms.k12.nc.us/cmsdepartments/vp/Documents/SchoolMates_2011.pdf

Wiley Coyote said...

Bill,

You and Keith read waaay too much into a +1.

Anonymous said...

Well I am going to hire a out of town consulting firm to find out Wiley. I will keep the cost below six figures to not disrupt morale. Keith W. Hurley

Bill Stevens said...

Wiley you missed my point. I simply told you how I had listened to Dr. Gorman at first also giving him points till he showed me otherwise.

We will see what ends up. I am sure there are many that are going to give him grief for suggesting any additional resources going to non urban kids.

Anonymous said...

Bill,
Churches don't redistribute collection plate money to other churches. Who thought suburban PTA's would go along with this cockamamie plan? Really? Suburban schools receive less money per student to begin with. I wouldn't donate money to a school unless I knew where it was going and what it was being used for. It took an Act of Congress to donate ballet barres to a suburban school thanks to the now defunct Equity Committee. Some CMS bureaucrats think the average working parent trusts the system enough to fork over their hard earned cash to some school board appointed redistribution committee? May wonders and stupidity never cease.

Anonymous said...

Ann, you wrote that Mr. Morrison

"said he keeps hearing that the district has focused mostly on the weakest schools and students, though he said he's not yet sure whether that is reality or a failure of "messaging.""

As a reporter, isn't it your responsibility to point out that the disproportionate focus is in fact reality. I mean just look at spending per pupil in high-poverty schools versus non-high-poverty schools. How could anybody ask if the differences are just a matter of messaging and keep a straight face? As a reporter, shouldn't you point out the reality? The numbers, they don't lie.

Wiley Coyote said...

...numbers can lie if they start out in a lie...

The National School Lunch Program is the poster child for numbers that lie.

All funding piled on top of those numbers add to the lie and are absorbed within it.

So per pupil funding is built on a house of lying cards.

....lies, damned lies and statistics.

Anonymous said...

Wiley , Your correct in similar fashion the CRVA is going to bake a number with a outside entity showing how much the DNC brought us in business. This had the exact opposite affect on downtown business and most locals simply left town. Its going to take them until October to cook the figures so stay tuned. Fund raising was short and attendance was down. I just hope they dont forget to subtract the cost and perks we dished up from their figures. Supporting your theory "lies , damned lies and statistics ". Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

As a 20 year verteran teacher let me expose the TRUTH since apparently the leader of our system is unsure about "message" and "morale".

IT IS GETTING WORSE !!!!

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone go into teaching. There are no rewards other than intrinsic and the risks are numerous.

Anonymous said...

Dear Heath,
Want to help morale? Money, classroom size and public disrespect aside, take a good hard look at your zone superintendents. Tell them to stop playing politics with their schools.
I can't believe the petty behavior that goes on.

Bill Stevens said...

6:06, let me assure you that teaching in CMS is an entirely different experience than teaching in a private school here, even if most of the kids qualify for FRL and even teaching in surrounding counties. There are few other jobs as personally satisfying as reaching kids and seeing them have their "ah ah" moment.

Anonymous said...

Ah Ha moments come to me when the bank mortgage is due every month. Please provide me and my family something more than intrinsic feelings.

Wangkqfe said...

All the money CMS takes in is wasted on downtown hot air. If it actually went to teachers and education we would improve grades plus teacher morale another 30%. Then the downtown "executives" could shove that in their pipe and smoke it.