Wednesday, October 10, 2012

CMS forced out more teachers last year

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools forced out 173 teachers last year,  a five-year high.  That's one of the nuggets revealed by the N.C. teacher turnover report for 2011-12, released last week.

Previous CMS force-outs ranged from 122 in 2007-08 to 32 in 2010-11 (find reports for previous years here).  The category includes teachers who were fired, forced to resign or didn't have their interim or probationary contracts renewed.

I always say data poses questions rather than providing answers,  and the annual turnover report from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction is no exception.  But the report is worth a look as Superintendent Heath Morrison,  who started in July,  ponders ways to keep more of the top teachers while getting rid of the weakest ones.

It's worth noting that the force-out numbers may look high,  but they're a small percentage of a CMS teacher corps that has ranged from about 8,200 to 9,200 over the last five years. Last year they accounted for about 15 percent of 1,177 total departures.

Departures considered beyond the district's control spiked past 700 in 2009-10 and 2010-11,  almost certainly because that category includes layoffs,  along with retirement,  family relocation,  death and disability.  Those were the years that CMS saw massive teacher layoffs.

The number of teachers leaving CMS for other N.C. public schools has grown steadily over the last five years,  from just under 100 in 2007-08 to 220 last year.

Last year 334 CMS departures,  or 28 percent of the total,   fell into the category of turnover that  "might be reduced."  That includes teachers who resigned out of dissatisfaction,  switched careers or took teaching jobs outside North Carolina or with in-state private schools.

Overall, the CMS turnover rate for 2011-12 was 14.36 percent,  higher than the previous three years but below the pre-recession rate for 2007-08.  The state average was 12.13 percent.

So,  what's the human story behind the numbers?  I'm guessing some of you have up-close views to share.


Anonymous said...

CMS is putting more emphasis on "show me you're good" rather than just let me see you do it. This causes teachers to create a lot of proof which causes them to waste valuable planning time towards working on their teaching. So, average and bad teachers stay because they can't get another job. Great teachers can easily get another job, therefore; they leave.

Anonymous said...

To speak colloquially, you ain't seen nothin' yet. With all the foolishness coming down the pike from Washington and Raleigh ( RttT, Common Core, hoop-jumping, MSLs, etc....) teachers ( good teachers) will be leaving across the state by the THOUSANDS over the next few years. Educational bureaucracy and micro-management is dysfunctional at every level.

Anonymous said...

So.what is the answer? Don't just diagnose the illness, what's the cure? Display your professionalism here and create the solution. I can tell you the system/process is broken and I have no education credentials, what we need are solution options.

Anonymous said...

There is no solution until teacher are willing to teach with integrity. Teacher unions cannot have so much power. if the teacher cannot teach then they should be fired, teacher salary or bonus should be based on the percentage of student graduating. Please watch Waiting for Superman' documentary on Netflix about school system in the US.

Anonymous said...

7:59, you should research the topic before you comment. In NC, we have no teachers' unions. There is no collective bargaining between teachers and the district or state. The process for removing a teacher is established by the districts and the state. If teachers don't like the process, they can sue or leave to teach somewhere else.

In regards to giving teachers bonuses based on graduation rates, that would bring up a host of issues. First, many teachers teach courses that are not required for graduation. I am referring to teachers who teach upper level classes and elective teachers like music, art, etc. Their classes have no bearing on graduation. Should they be given a bonus/penalized when they have no control over the graduation rate. What about elementary and middle school teachers? Graduation does not happen until high school so how would they get paid? Secondly, an individual high school teacher sees a student for about 12% of a student's year.The other 88% of the time, that student is under someone else's influence. Does it make sense that a teacher should be judged on factors over which he/she has no control at all.

As for "Waiting for Superman," the movie has many fine points to make. However, it fails to address the elephant in the room. Poverty is the number one hindrance to schools providing children with an excellent education. Going back decades to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a student cannot learn if he has to worry about where his next meal is coming from or if he cannot sleep at night because he is not safe. Nor can he learn if he is not receiving the appropriate emotional support at home. People are looking to public schools to solve America's problems. That is the fallacy. As a society, we need to solve the issue of childhood poverty (which is at a high of 25% right now) and then you will see how excellent our schools are.

Anonymous said...

7:59..."Waiting for Superman" is a propaganda piece for the wealthy philanthopists (e.g. Gates, Broad, and Walton) who want to privatize education for their own gain. They helped finance the film and they financed many of the studies used to discredit traditional public education. Public schools are not failing our kids - poverty is. However, these tycoons will try to tell you otherwise saying charter schools are the answer when research says there are no better than their public school counterparts.
7:46...the answer is give teachers a voice. We are the ones who have actual experience in the classroom, but have no money or influence. Gate and Broad, however, no classroon experience, but all the money and influence and control urban education today.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, sure, base teacher evaluations on percentages of students graduating...

And watch teachers run for the border, just as the "bright" folks before them so wisely did.

I think the ghetto will be waiting for their "Superman" for an awful long time under those kinds of policies.

Of course, no one dares to suggest that the fault just MIGHT lie with the parents and maybe even the students themselves that they aren't succeeding.

Especially since so many of the failures are sitting next to kids in the same situation with the same schools and the same teachers who have somehow "failed" to teach them.

Yeah, no personal responsibility at all for their own failures.

Blame "Superman" for not showing up (or sticking around).

Anonymous said...

Certainly this was done on Hugh's watch so am man with zero regard for our children. Class size just keep getting bigger. Heath has been with CMS his 100 days now what? We are waiting oh promised one.

Bill Stevens said...

8:52, the following prose is correct but I need to correct your premise. you said...

"Poverty is the number one hindrance to schools providing children with an excellent education."

The correct way to say it is "Poverty prevents children from receiving a quality education."

Anonymous said...

Poverty isn't failing those kids.

It has SOMETHING to do with being black, though, because that's where the "gap" is the worst.

You can tell this from the fact that poor white kids (the FRL crowd) still outperform black kids who are NOT in the FRL crowd.

This little tidbit was buried in the NAEP national report card (not HIGHLIGHTED, mind you, but in the numbers and graphs, if you look).

Poverty is just an excuse for something else that's lacking in many of these kids.

Of course, being in poverty will reduce your chances of succeeding in school.

But being black doesn't help, either.

Bill Stevens said...

Ann, you must be really cautious depending on numbers CMS and the state supply with some of these controversal topics. There are political agendas behind all of these.

In CMS, the HR department is so inept, the jobs are no more than charity. How did they classify the suicide of the NWSA principal? How did the classify the exodus of the Rocky River principal? How did they classify the departure of the lady at Hopewell?

We all know it is best to leave a job without "burning the bridge".

Absolutely 9:18. Politicans and community organizers keep telling these black kids they cannot succeed without more money, more money and various other reasons. They are simply pawns in the political environment.

Anonymous said...

How does the "poverty" excuse explain these results:

From "Achievement Gaps" by NAEP.

Taken from Figure 7 and 8 (Math scores by FRL eligibility.

2007 Scores 4th Grade

White Non-Eligible 252
White Eligible Reduced 241
White Eligible Free 235

Black Non-Eligible 232
Black Eligible Reduced 228
Black Eligible Free 217

2007 Scores 8th Grade

White Non-Eligible 295
White Eligible Reduced 280
White Eligible Free 274

Black Non-Eligible 268
Black Eligible Reduced 265
Black Eligible Free 253

In both the 4th and 8th grade, white students eligible for FREE lunches beat black students who were TOO RICH for the FRL program.

So, PLEASE, stop blaming "poverty"...

Sure, it reduces scores for everyone, but not as much as other factors.

Anonymous said...

..doesn't matter what color you are, it is purely "nature vs. nuture", similar to Maslow's hierarchy..when parents are struggling to stay alive, there is little time left to encourage education..or to care about it. Sad but true.

Wiley Coyote said...


Poverty is the "in" excuse.

It is up to the public school system to provide all the resources and help to ensure kids have an OPPORTUNITY to learn.

It is not the school systems responsibility whether the child feels safe at home or has parents that give a care.

Also, we, the taxpayers, spend about $11 BILLION per year providing breakfast, lunches and other support for families just in the National School Lunch Program. That doesn't count SNAP, WIC and other food benefits.

Anonymous said...

Well, apparently Maslow's hierarchy isn't some absolute.

Because, somehow, someway, whites manage to do better with less than blacks, if you use FRL eligibility as a measure.

And I'd be willing to bet that Asians do even better.

I think it's because they just have different priorities and make better use of what little they have.

So I don't buy the excuse that our poor are "struggling" for survival, so don't have time to care about education.

Part of that is because I have seen worse poverty in other parts of the world and still see parents who care about their kids education as a way out of that poverty.

But, somehow, that isn't true here.

Our poor probably have plenty of time for other, more frivolous, but more entertaining pursuits, I'll bet.

I'll feel sorry for our "poor" when I see them in poverty as bad as I saw in China, where parents BICYCLE their children to EXTRA classes they pay for out of their own pockets with their measly pay.

Until then, I'll just accept lazy and unconcerned as a more likely excuse for their failure to learn.

Anonymous said...

I can't see blaming teachers (or holding them responsible) for what is largely a huge cultural failing in our society.

Given all the advantages that we've had in this country since WWII we have no excuses for our shortcomings.

Too many people just expect something for nothing now and feel that they don't have to work for it.

It's just that simple.

Anonymous said...

If you review the teachers salaries for the East Coast you will find that Georgia and Virginia are paying almost $10,000 more annually.Therefore the good teachers are most likely gravitating to those states. They have families to take care of like the rest of us. Sometimes you pay for what you get. If you want quality teachers then you need to pay them. They spend more time with our kids than we do.

Anonymous said...

The good teachers are most likely being burnt out. They are overworked and under payed. The slackers are under working and over payed. There need to be Drastic changes made from the top down to fix this. Remember it is all about the kids. Good Teachers equals Educated Kids.

Anonymous said...

Correlation does not mean cause & effect.
Perhaps bad family education causes low income rather than low income causing bad education.

Anonymous said...

Didn't they redo Maslow's hierarchy? Everything near the top?

Anonymous said...

Was Maslows Hierarcny redone for the "urban" experience?

Where do 22" chrome rims and getting your hair and nails done fit in?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:37.

You're probably right.

But some people won't accept that because it's "blaming the victim".

And we always need a blameless victim.

Anonymous said...

Cable TV & free cell phones are above paying the mortgage.

BolynMcClung said...

173 teachers yearly forced to depart.
About one a day.
One teacher per school per year, approximately.
I’m looking for different results next year and it has nothing to do with what number is reported.

Dr. Morrison agreed to Ann Clark’s request that HR fall under her control. For a company the size of CMS it wouldn’t be normal for HR and Manufacturing to be under the same leadership. But already we’ve seen the benefit of the new arrangement. Schools opened well-staffed.

The Observer is reporting this as a numbers story. What I hope Ms. Clark will develop is a way to either identity and remove those 173 sooner or find the problematic teachers soon enough so that professional development has time to work.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...


Why assume that the teachers were actually a problem?

We don't really know WHY they were let go and what the criteria were.

For all anyone knows, they could be teaching quite successfully in a better learning environment than CMS.

All that being said, it would be interesting to get some "statistics" on who is being let go and why.

Just for fun, you know.

Bill Stevens said...

Boyln, I had a peraonal experience with a teacher that one school's principal wanted to get rid of and it was not a performance issue. But he was almost pushed out of CMS. It almost was had it not been for a proactive area super. This teacher got placed at a nearby school and is a star in my book. I'd be thrilled to have my child in their class.

In CMS HR, not all is as it seems.

Anonymous said...

What about the multiple high schools where Hugh invalidated principal observations/evaluations because he had no faith they were done correctly or objectively? Why are those principals still on the job?? Dig, Ann, Dig!!!

Also ask about the HR audit...I have a poll going on picking Habrat's last day...

Anonymous said...

You want to know what's going on in CMS? Ask Judy Kidd.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 2:49 - and she will give you her biased, ill-informed, and self-serving perspective of "what's going on"

Ann Doss Helms said...

2:47, I have a request in for all the audits as soon as they're in.

Anonymous said...

3:03 more often than not, she is right and she gets things done on a local and state level for teachers and students.

Anonymous said...

Judy Kidd is the most honest prson I know inside CMS. She will give the truth not opinion or sugar coated CMS garbage. Heath your 100 days is up we waitig on the miracle cure where you at boyyyyyy? Oh out saving soe drop out while 10 more A plus kids leave CMS. I dont like that ratio pal.

Anonymous said...

The state of North Carolina has a problem with public education in general, this is why it languishes at the bottom of every national poll. North Carolinian's are generally ignorant, care very little about how others do (God bless you) and are extremely short sighted when it comes to investing in public education. The number of charter schools in this state will only grow as more spineless people run away from fixing problems in public education. Private schools merely avoid the problem altogether through money. This is why teachers both good and bad leave.

Bill Stevens said...

8:30, not much can be addressed before some community organizer and the Charlotte Observer editors start throwing around the word racist. When the race card gets played here, the politicians run with their tails between their legs begging the community organizers what special programs they can create and tax more of the productive class to soothe the urban feelings.

Anonymous said...

I would caution that you should be careful to assume that all the good teachers are leaving CMS and the bad ones are staying. There are many fine teachers in CMS who stay for a multitude of reasons. Please don't make assumptions about those who are still here.

Wiley Coyote said...

There are nine schools in CMS that have the highest quality teachers.

Denise Watts bought them.

Anonymous said...

Project Lift is killing off some good teachers each and everyday with it’s policies that disregard the value of teacher -student contact time, it’s micro management of teachers, and it’s lack of support for discipline problems in the classrooms. I can tell you right now that more than half of the teachers will not want to be apart of it next year. Poor… Poor management !

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:30. remember it's the BRIGHT people who leave first.

The rest are left behind to deal with the ever increasingly pathetic "urban" public school system as it struggles with the lowest common denominator.

It's not just North Carolina, though.

This is pretty much true throughout the country.

Many people have just had enough of catering to the permanent "gap" crowd.

It's time to leave them in the dust.

Anonymous said...

Exactly where have the problems in public schools been "fixed"?

Especially with the low-performing black and Hispanic kids, and particularly with the ones whose parents don't care about education.

We need to know so ignorant North Carolinians can follow their fine examples (ref. to Anon 8:30PM) .

It seems to me that the only people who are able to claim a "fix" are the ones who run charter schools that exclude the riff-raff kids and bad parents.

Wow, what a shock.

Apparently, no one is succeeding with the black kids anywhere unless they can control who gets to be a student and only choose the students with the most dedicated parents.

I don't see any black "Supermen" out there with fantastic schools composed of the dregs of black society.

Now WHY is that?

Running schools where parents and students are more dedicated to their education is easy.

It's what white people have been doing in the suburbs and private schools ever since the "problem" of unteachable, unruly, and most likely unwanted kids was forced on them by our "Great Society".

Shamash said...

How can we know whether it is the good or bad teachers who are staying or leaving?

We have no information on that at all.

It's not like there is some uniform standard they can all be measured by anyway.

Anonymous said...

8:30 PM
You are absolutely correct. My hard working family pays close to $30,000 a year to send our children to private school to avoid the ongoing and never ending problems in CMS. President Obama and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx pay private school tuition to avoid the Chicago, Washington DC and Charlotte public school systems for the same reasons. We all pay public school taxes on top of this. It's called a free country.

Anonymous said...

Accusing hard working parents of being spineless for choosing charter schools, home schooling, parochial schools, and private schools for their children is a sure-fire way to encourage mutual cooperation that benefits "urban" schools. Keep it up and watch more CMS schools make their way to the bowels of Title 1/Equity Plus/Achievement Zone/Academy Star status.

Anonymous said...

When you don't have a dog in the hunt, it's harder to have a vested interest in something. This is how private school, home school, and charter school parents feel about CMS. Again, it's a free country and I don't have to have someone named "Coach" or "Reverend" dictate where my children go to school. It's called having a spine to stand up for my own children first. Maybe this isn't how it should be but this is the way it is. CMS repeatedly fails to acknowledge reality and the normal human nature of American parents who place a high value on their children's education. American's are a funny lot. We don't like being told where we have to send our children to school according to a bunch of numbskulls sitting on a school board.