Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Most crowded schools? You'd be surprised

The days of jam-packed suburban schools and underfilled urban ones are over,  according to a 10-year capital plan Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools rolled out in draft form last week.

I missed the presentation,  so I'm trying to get up to speed on the massive binder reporter April Bethea brought back from the meeting  (read her story here).  If the full 10-year report is online,  I haven't located it.  I'll be chipping away in hopes of getting as much information as possible to readers before the April 9 public hearing.

CMS has faced an ongoing challenge figuring out the best way to calculate which schools are in direst need of relief from crowding.  The latest report talks about measuring stress on each school's  "core spaces,"  such as cafeterias, gyms and libraries.  The district can use mobile classrooms to expand enrollment,  but if it's stretched too far  you end up with lunch times spread out over most of the day,  playgrounds squeezed out and parking lots that can't begin to handle volunteers and visitors.

The report also includes a utilization chart that  "takes into account the number of teachers,  brick and mortar classrooms,  and annual student populations at each and every school."  It's described as a snapshot of any given school this year.

According to that list,  the most crowded school is Hickory Grove Elementary,  a high-poverty school in east Charlotte that's being utilized at 206 percent,  with 1,239 students  (including 250 prekindergarteners) and 37 mobile classrooms.  Voters approved money for a relief school in 2007,  but that school isn't slated to open until 2015.

Close behind is Collinswood Language Academy at 200 percent,  with 714 K-8 students and 24 mobile classrooms  (the south Charlotte building only has 23).  It's odd to find extreme crowding at magnet schools,  given that CMS controls admission.  But the district decided to expand Collinswood to include middle school grades,  which has strained the building.  The proposal for a 2013 bond package includes a new K-8 school in the Albemarle Road area that will provide neighborhood seats to relieve Albemarle Road Elementary  (174 percent student utilization)  and Albemarle Road Middle (94 percent),  with Spanish-English magnet seats providing an alternative to Collinswood.

Others ranked among the most overutilized this year are Selwyn Elementary in south Charlotte  (172 percent);  Huntersville's Torrence Creek Elementary  (157 percent),  which will get relief when Grand Oak Elementary opens in August;  Montclaire Elementary in south Charlotte (154 percent);  Windsor Park Elementary in east Charlotte  (151 percent);  and Cotswold Elementary in southeast Charlotte (150 percent).   Several of the most crowded schools are those serving large numbers of Hispanic students,  who represent a fast-growing segment of enrollment.

The lowest utilization on the new chart is 55 percent for Marie G. Davis Military and Global Leadership Academy,  a K-12 magnet south of uptown Charlotte.  Voters approved an expansion/replacement school many years ago,  when it was a thriving International Baccalaureate middle school magnet.  Under a massive student assignment shakeup in 2002,  it became a struggling high-poverty neighborhood school,  which was eventually replaced by the military magnet. Even with 12 grades,  it has only 730 students.

Other underfilled schools on the new list are Irwin Avenue Elementary  (62 percent),  an uptown school that became a talent development magnet last year;  North Mecklenburg High  (62 percent),  which was overcrowded until nearby Hough High opened; and Kennedy Middle in southwest Charlotte  (63 percent).

The utilization numbers are not being used as a sole source of decision-making about long-term plans for new schools, expansions or renovations.  That's a more complex calculation that I'll be delving into in coming days.  As always,  observations and questions from readers are helpful.


Pamela Grundy said...

CMS needs to reopen a couple of the Pre-K centers it closed two years ago. Yet another school closing decision that wasn't considered thoroughly, despite warnings from the affected communities.

Ettolrahc said...

Yes they are filled to the brim, that expected path to citizenship has helped swell our schools more and more over these last few years.

Of course it is strange this reporter did not mention the fact that only one group is growing in CMS.

Sorry I missed placing my name with this post. And I missed saying Good Morning to Pam, and to Ann plus and all the acronym groups with folks who use to be in CMS and support them with such fervor, Ann quotes on here.

Pamela Grundy said...

Seem to have missed proofreading too. What was that name again?

BolynMcClung said...


CMS has a Guiding Principle for Student Assignment. It is based on Zip Codes: where you live is where you learn.

CMS has a perfectly sound assignment policy: Homes schools….if it would use it. It doesn't because to offer every home school the same services would be too expensive….therefore the Magnet……sorry folks, you thought Magnets were for the benefit of students….No, it is suppose to control cost…..but it's out-of-hand and now causes overcrowding, under utilization and to the angst of many, one huge transportation problem.

It is predictable that this problem will be continued and multiply. CMS is asking the taxpayer to be an accomplice in this tragedy by providing more buildings. The Board should look to itself and how it has neutered the home school assignment policy.

Recently the school board has expressed an interest in more choice, magnets and alternative schools. The presentation of the Capital Plan echoes this. The policy is sort-of "Build them where they ain't."

Choice will only drain neighborhoods of the best students and lead the district into a vicious circle of the assumption that where you live is a predictor of failure to achieve. At some point the board members are going to have to realize it's not who lives in the neighborhood that is the problem but that the board doesn't support great schools in them.

I suggest before the BOCC agrees to any capital plan that it "encourage" the Board of Education to use the Home School Policy and stop expansion of choice.

Bolyn McClung

PS………A great home school can be better than any charter school!

Anonymous said...

Setting up a voucher system would reduce numbers at all of these schools. It would also most likeley result in better education for our children. How about it ?

Anonymous said...

Voters approved money for a relief school in 2007, but that school isn't slated to open until 2015.

8 Years to build a school. That sounds like too much government regulation.

Pamela Grundy said...

Milwaukee has had a voucher system for more than two decades. A recent, comprehensive study showed students in voucher schools with similar or worse performance than comparable students who stayed in public schools.

Anonymous said...

"8 Years to build a school. That sounds like too much government regulation."

I think some people forget that we had a recession. It makes no sense to build a school if your budget cannot handle the operating costs that go along with it. The costs for operating a new school are not completely transferable from the cost to operate an over-crowded school; new schools are more expensive to operate.

I wonder how CMS might use predictive analytics to better forecast when and where new schools will be needed.

relsis said...

I have a solution stop building elementary schools that seat 800 students! As soon as they open new schools they are overcrowded.

Christine Mast said...


I'd like to know how many students are jammed into Hough High right now. What was the original capacity, and how many kids are there now?

I spoke with a current Hough High student the other day, and he thought there might be over 5,000 kids in attendance?!?!

Seems the kids have to park at Bailey Road park's parking lot as overflow, as there was NEVER enough parking space for everyone, even right after the HS opened...

Can you find out the real numbers here?


Anonymous said...

Pamela Grundy,

WHICH "recent study" has shown that the voucher program in Milwaukee isn't working?

Surely not this one:


Apparently, one "expert" (Diane Ravitch) says one thing while others say other things.

Typical, eh?

Anonymous said...

Pamela Grundy said...

What was that name again.

Sorry, what I did was post it as anonymous by accident.

Did you want to know my name, are you smitten so much that you want to know the real person behind this excellent jabber?

This is moving along quite well, both you and Ann are smitten with me now. So who will get the booby prize.

Ettolrahc said...

Oh no, somebody said the V word.

When will you folks learn the government knows more about raising your kids than you do.

For the life of me, you folks and your crazy ideas of having anything but CMS doing what it does to all those kids each day.

Ann Doss Helms said...

On eight years to build a school: It's not like they've been on the site swinging hammers for eight years. The delay has been in the county authorizing the borrowing that would allow the project to start. When the recession hit, county officials launched a "debt diet" to rein in the cost of paying off construction debt; that meant many 2007 bond projects had to wait. I think it takes just over a year to build an elementary school (could swear I just read that number but can't find it now).

Ann Doss Helms said...

Christine, your student friend gets an F in math. There are about 2100 students at Hough. The chart lists capacity as 2199, but with a "core adjusted classroom capacity" of 2859. I don't fully understand that, but I think it means there's enough "core space" that they could add mobiles for about 650 more students? I'm playing catch-up on this and hope to learn more soon.

BolynMcClung said...


I don't know nut'n about Millwaukee vouchers so I went online.

I couldn't make sense but maybe that student and Christine who seem to think there are 5000 students at Hough can go up there and get the skinny.

Bolyn McClung

Ettolrahc said...

Please do not question Dianne Ratavisch or how ever she spells her name. She know how to fix the school system by making it the only game in town again.

And vouchers seem to have some success in Milwalke or how ever they spill it.


Anonymous said...

Hickory Grove:
It takes 8 years to build a bare bones basic bond referendum relief school?

Since when were magnet schools designed to control costs? I thought they were designed to encourage diversity and integration. "Build them where they ain't" seems to be an ongoing CMS theme. I have 8-year-old "flash-backs" to the days CMS deemed schools like Hawk Ridge at 98% capacity with 25 trailers. "Projected" student enrollment numbers could be as much as 60% off as long as they met the correct political agenda usually associated with The Middle Ring. Loved these innovative formulas. On the topic of zip codes; my neighborhood is assigned to three "home" schools in three different zip codes. I take it the "closure model" led to some kinks in east Charlotte.

I'd be surprised? Nothing surprises me when it comes to student assignment.

I wonder if that superintendent in FL will be as cavalier about cutting and pasting Dr. Morrison's exit plan?


Ettolrahc said...

Gooooood Morning Ann!!

Hey what is the only group that is growing in CMS?

I know the White and Black populations have slowed way down or actually gone backwards in attendance.

So which group is growing or is the fastest growing group in CMS?

Anonymous said...


What about answers from the last blog?

Issues within CMS and the CTE department. Doesnt CMS want to build a Vocational School? Good idea if the right management is chosen.One computer per one student?

AA = Answers Ann

Ettolrahc said...

I found the story from last year about the loss of white students and the triple the numbers over the last few years of the Hispanics and in these same schools you mention.

So it must be fueled by Hispanic population growth. I am sure you will update the story to show that as you did in that story back in 2012.



Wiley Coyote said...

Here lies the stupidity and futility of "utilization and capacity" numbers: Voters approved money for a relief school in 2007, but that school isn't slated to open until 2015.

That's like having 100 chickens in your coop and waiting 8 years to fix the hole where the fox is getting in. By then, there will be no chickens left.

It is imperative that voters do not approve anymore spending (bonds) for CMS until someone with half a brain puts together a well thought out, logical plan that does not pander to any group.

I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

One of the BIG problems I see with vouchers the way Milwaukee has implemented them is expecting ignorant parents to choose "good" schools.

The whole idea behind vouchers is that the "free market" will reward the good schools and punish the bad.

But, so many parents (especially of our typically "underserved" kids in "poverty") seem incapable of deciding where to safely cross a busy street.

Why would anyone expect THEIR school "choices" to be any better?

They are probably NOT the world's sharpest consumers by any measure,
and are more likely to be duped by the latest scam artist (a.k.a. "Reverend") trying to start a school than anyone else.

Milwaukee primarily gives vouchers based on income, so those with the least sense of how to perform well in our society (or manage their money and lives) get the most "choice".

Dumb parents still make dumb decisions no matter how much free money you give them.

So I'm sure they can be trusted to make the "right" decision because their life choices up to that point have been so brilliant...

So if we do go with a voucher system, at least we can learn from Milwaukee's mistakes.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Et, how about if I add this sentence: "Several of the most crowded schools are those serving large numbers of Hispanic students, who represent a fast-growing segment of enrollment." Oh, wait, it's been there all along.

10:09, I wasn't ignoring you last week. I was off. Nobody in CMS worked Monday; it was a holiday.

Anonymous said...

Pam , You comparing Charlotte USA the QUeen CIty home of CMS to Milwaukee? Really? Even I give CHarlotte a leg up on that city and your data is a one sided story. If voucher system were created in the state of NC I for one would pay the difference to get my kids a better education. (FACT) I would also estimate a good 20 to 30% of families would opt out of CMS for private schools and some more schools would have to be built (Privates). Charters would boom and add to their growing roles.
CMS might downsize and POSSIBLY get a clue as to how to run their model? Maybe not , but they would have to shrink their HUGE mngmt waste downtown.

Wiley Coyote said...

CMS does not need to open or reopen any pre-K centers.

Taxpayer funded pre-K needs to end nationally.

Also, understand that utilization and school capacity are always moving targets. Educrats massage the numbers to suit their need(s).

Pamela Grundy said...

Hey Alicia,

You've come before the school board as a cow. Now, April 9, is your chance to come as a zombie! Or a cow zombie, if it suits you. Check out our new gateway: notestingzombies.com. Bring creative students!

Anonymous said...

When we moved to Charlotte we often heard certain suburban schools disdainfully referred to as "public" private schools. These schools were at the time the most successful schools in the district. So the disdain was confusing, especially since those successful schools seemed very much like public schools we had had experience with elsewhere in the country--strong parent involvement, for the most part respectful students, high attendance numbers, etc. Why would you want schools to be any other way? Why wouldn't you aim for having other schools be like these schools rather than disparaging the successful schools? I guess, though, that if you think successful public schools are too much like private schools and you don't like private schools, then of course you're going to be opposed to vouchers (and charters).

Anonymous said...

Facts are important. Thank you Ann for correcting commenters who make wild claims.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:25.

The schools are disparaged because they are mostly white, Asian and successful.

That's just today's reality.

But it's an embarrassment to the other parts of our "community" who don't like to be reminded of their shortcomings in such dramatic ways.

So they do their best to pull the successful ones down.

But don't worry, if CMS goes with vouchers, you can bet that they will be offered to the "successful" suburban students LAST.

Because, despite what some may claim, this IS a class war.

And it's increasingly between the givers and the takers and shows no sign of letting up soon.

Anonymous said...

9:00AM and others
A whole department at CMS does predictive analysis in planning. Those decisions are not made lightly. A huge amount of data goes into it.

Meck County Commission plays a large role in these decisions. They control the bond money, and last year or so came up with their own ranking for school construction, and likely did not include the kind of data that CMS has.

If you want things to move forward, BOCC is the key. Maybe instead of spending time on talking to the media, blowing off colleagues, and getting ready for a power grab, county commission leadership might look at actual community (CMS) needs.

Anonymous said...

What about Newell? It was on the 2007 bond.

Wiley Coyote said...


The problem lies with the definition of what "actual community needs" is.

There are those who feel we can't spend or give away enough tax dollars to CMS "for the children".

In the end, it doesn't matter whether it comes from or is decided by the BOE or the BOCC.

As far as CMS' "predictive analysis". I wouldn't give you a plug nickel for any of it.

Anonymous said...

Glad you noticed the low enrollment at Kennedy Middle School. Those of us who teach at Southwest Middle (where we are 200 over what the building capacity is supposed to be and have 40-45 in some classrooms) have been wondering why some of these students can't go to Kennedy where there is more room?

Jeff Wise said...

Sorry Wiley pre-k should be universal. Your argument that it doesn't improve test scores in 3rd grade is not the point.

There is evidence showing that pre-k sets up children for a better adulthood - low-income children that go through quality pre-k are more apt to hold jobs, to not commit crimes, to not be on welfare and to pay taxes.

I could not begin to care less about effects on 3rd grade reading scores, I really don't care all that much for what any standardized test scores show or purportedly prove. But I do care about high school graduates being able to hold jobs and be successfully functional in society.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, Does it matter if by 1 st grade they throw a tablet in front of the kid to "surf all day" ? Really CMS is headed down a terrible path with young learners. They have treated teachers with very poor quality leadership and are about to hit them in the pocket book with no tenure. Who blames teachers for leaving? They can make more at Belks than they can teaching in CMS. Bad path and CMS needed Project LIFT to provide value for minorities !

Anonymous said...


Find some wisdom

Fund Vocational Schools

Ann Doss Helms said...

Newell is listed at 134% utilization with 15 mobiles. There's a school on the 2007 bond update that's listed as relieving Hickory Grove/Reedy Creek/Grier, scheduled to open 2015. Wonder if that might provide some spillover relief for Newell? I don't see anything specific to Newell on the list.

Anonymous said...

it will be interesting to see what their predictions are for the north. grand oak will open and relieve torrence creek, but new houses are starting to pop up again at an increasing rate.

Anonymous said...

11:22--Wow, grown women coming to a school board meeting dressed as zombies. Now that's a mature way of arguing your cause. But of course you will probably get your picture in the paper and on TV, so I guess turning the school board meeting into to a circus is worth it. (I realize that many meetings have been circuses in the past, but this year many on the board seems to be behaving in a much more professional manner.)

Ann Doss Helms said...

North forecast: Growth resumes but not at pre-recession rate. Lots of young families and young single professionals. Likely growth areas include light-rail corridor, UNCC area, Northlake Mall area, Prosperity Church/Mallard Creek road area, Sam Furr Road area, IKEA Boulevard area, Ramah Church Road area, Harrisburg Road and Skybrook/ Eastfield Road area. (That's my crunch of a couple of pages of assessment.)

Anonymous said...


You missed the point. taxpayers should not be funding pre-k at all.

It's just another nonmandated giveaway program that we cannot afford.


Anonymous said...


But, but, but...

There was a study 60 years ago (1962-67) of a very small group of poor black kids (128 to be exact, 64 got the special care and 64 in the control group) which showed that if they got some really intensive pre-K experience (practically one-on-one with a tutor) they were less likely to become thugs.

And, of course, that means that the same thing will work for everyone today.

Because NOTHING in society has changed since the 1960's.

Except the cost of such personal per-K tutoring which has probably doubled...

Such was the "Perry Preschool Project" that everyone thinks is THE SOLUTION...

Anonymous said...


Hopefully NC Republican controlled Gov and Legislator will see this and copy and pass it ASAP.

ps the blog owner needs to stop posting so much on her own blog or get a real job like teaching at an overcrowded CMS school if she has a college degree as lateral entry

Jeff Wise said...

Wiley and 2:32p,

Read up on your James Heckman, it's more than Perry Preschool. Oklahoma has done universal pre-K for a while, other cities have done the same.

Paul Tough cites a number of studies in his book "How Children Succeed" and the body of evidence is fairly conclusive that taxpayers will save money in the long run by investing in pre-k.

By not offering the option we end up paying more to support overcrowded prisons, welfare payments and so on. Simple economics when you look at the cost/benefits over time.

To 1:27p - I've no problem promoting Vocational Tech programs either, maybe not for pre-K children, but certainly for HS aged students.

BolynMcClung said...


In case you missed it, Pre-k resides not in the NCDPI but in NCDHHS

“…The NC PreKindergartenProgram is a program of the Division of Child Development and Early Education in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The NC PreK Program is designed to provide high-quality educational experiences to enhance school readiness for eligible four-year olds.

The program requirements are built on the premise that to be successful academically in school, children need to be prepared in all five of the development domains outlined by the National Education Goals Panel. Each of these domains is critical to children’s well-being and for their success in reading and math as they come to school.

The five domains, as reflected in Foundations: Early Learning Standards for North Carolina Preschoolers and Strategies for Guiding Their Success are:

--Approaches to learning
--Emotional and social development
--Health and physical development
--Language development and communication
--Cognitive development

The requirements are designed to ensure that a high-quality pre-kindergarten classroom experience is provided for eligible four-year olds in each local NC Pre-K Program and that, to the extent possible, uniformity exists across the state….’

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

Tough emphasizes character training as the solution, doesn't he?

The Perry Project was not focused on character training, but some sort of discipline and character development was postulated as a by-product of the process used.

So it seems odd that an incidental by-product of this project has become the most likely source of its success, as even Heckman has stated in interviews.

From http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/how-nobel-prize-winning-economist-became-advocate-preschool

"So it was teaching these social skills, some people say teaching character," Heckman says. "And that’s the hidden dimension of this program, which is totally ignored in the current public policy."

Oh, so it was the "hidden dimensions" of the Perry Project which made it successful...

I call that "reaching".

Heckman also uses IRR to show "economic benefit".

That's great for keeping things simple, but no one uses IRR on anything but short term results because external factors are just too great to rely on IRR alone.

If you factor in externalities, those "returns" on investment are bound to drop over a few decades.

But that doesn't make as nice of a story.

And also look at footnote 62 (p 41)of the Heckman paper which states:

"The fraction of children with working mothers at study entry is much higher in the
control group (31%) than in the treatment group (9%). This trend continues to hold
when males and females are viewed separately. In contrast, treatment females had a
greater fraction of fathers present at study entry than control females (68% vs. 42%),
while treatment males had a smaller fraction of fathers present than control males (45%
vs. 56%)."

So, the Perry Project did a fairly lousy job of setting up a level playing field for its participants.

I'm sorry, but they need to do better than that to convince me.

And that's just ONE STUDY.

But it is the most famous and the one most quoted.

And who can really say that today's "at risk" children are that similar to those of the 1960's?

Anonymous said...

Stick any kid that wants the free daycare Pre-K in project LIFT schools if it makes em happy. If the parents dont want involvement start them on this type of welfare program early. It sooner rather than later it will be used !

Anonymous said...


we have spent trillions on welfare, with milliwileyons more getting it everday.

we've had pre k for decades and what has that changed?

not a damn thing.

build the prisons.


Ettolrahc said...

Ann, my little babushka, I knew it was there, but you know me, I just like to make sure to hammer a point like you do to sway the conversation in the way I want.

Anonymous said...


IN http://ftp.iza.org/dp4533.pdf

The Rate of Return to the High/Scope
Perry Preschool Program

Basically, what Heckman has done is tighten up the analysis of the Perry Project statistics and noted that while it didn't result in the success they intended (higher IQ, academic success, etc.) it may have resulted in higher social success (lower crime, less welfare, etc., etc.).

However, he jumps the shark by assuming that his new hypothesis as stated in later interviews is automatically correct without further study.

And that's not good science.

He thinks he has found the "hidden dimension" of that study, but he really doesn't KNOW because the study wasn't ABOUT those "hidden dimensions", so he doesn't know how consistently they were applied to one group and NOT to the other, for example.

All he has done is point out that they need to do further study to see if his new hypothesis is correct.

It could be that something as simple as sending another adult to chat with the parents on a regular basis is just as effective.

In fact, other "studies" have shown that a weekly visit by a nurse can have astounding effect on child development as well at a much lower cost.

Such as this one:



Heckman hasn't proven anything yet.

Anonymous said...

Ann - I am surprised that CMS is reporting that Irwin is "underfilled" at 62%. The school was originally built to be an "open" school where two teachers would share the same space.

Since that time has come and past, the school is busting at the seams and has no space for any additional classrooms. In fact, former office spaces have been converted into extremely tiny classrooms.

Please question CMS officials as to why the continue to cite this incorrect statistic, when in reality the school is at 100% capacity.

Anonymous said...

To those who advocate vouchers, please explain to us how that would work? What I mean by that question is would private schools that participate in the voucher program have to follow a bunch of guidelines set forth by the state? Would they have to accept any student with a voucher, regardless of academic performance and behavior?

Which governing body, private or public, would hold those schools accountable? What measures of accountability would the schools be held to?

I am not against vouchers, I am just curious as to how the GOP-run General Assembly envisions this, providing it holds up against the inevitable lawsuit.

Ettolrahc said...

The V word would most likely be like the one which was already established a few years ago by both Republicans and Democrats for children with disabilities.

I bet most people were not aware that this had even happened.


Anonymous said...

Anon 4:13

I think you're on to something.

One thing all these studies seem to show is that a certain subset of parents are just incompetent.

And since we don't take their kids away from them, maybe the best we can do is have some "official" visit them to make sure they do SOMETHING right for their children.

I'm in favor of doing whatever is the cheapest and gets the most bang for the buck.

And that just may not be Pre-K schooling for every one of them.

And it may not be building more prisons either.

At least not the way we build them now.

BolynMcClung said...


Irwin was originally built as a high school.

The building is only slightly important in Charlotte history, having a minor incident happen there in 1957.

Bolyn McClung

Ettolrahc said...

When you have the village taking care of you, and your children, you just don't need to bother anymore.

Missouri said...

Anyone who has been here for any length of time knows that long range planning, or even short range is not and never has been CMS's strong suit. Many space allocation decisions seem to be made to make a certain demographic angry so the next bond campaign can get traction.

Closing the preK centers was a given. It had to happen. What did not have to happen was how CMS leadership decided to make some schools suffer when they did not have to. Thus more noise for the next bond campaign.

Anonymous said...

I have the last 10 year capital plan CMS put out. In my copy I noted where CMS "leadership" decided to downgrade how many students could fit into a classroom as part of a social experiment.

It will be interesting to see the new one and compare it to the previous one.

As Ann has eluded to a little in that a new scheme has been created "core space space" to create the illusion of more overcrowding in certain demographic schools. I imagine this is some ingenious idea from some urban planner as he listened to Kojo chew out Heath over some other "fake" discrimination.

Anonymous said...

A highly successful voucher program already exists in this area, Children's Scholarship Fund headed by Lindalyn Kakadelis. This fund provides a voucher but does not provide the complete cost. Thus the "family unit" must be serious about a better education for their child since they will still have to come off the hip for some of the expenses.

Thus as some have kindly put it, the incompetent parents woul dhave have a clue how to take advantage of this.

Face it. In the case of chronically, generationally poor families, that is the same reason they have no business having children. Our society is just too scared to be called racists for even suggesting that idea.

Anonymous said...

The absolute poster child for CMS planning is..........
Torrence Creek Elementary. Two lane farm road with speed bumps, no shoulders, speeding mini-vans,Barney police dept.. Built for 700, opened with 900. Mobile Heaven! The deer that lived there prior to the invasion had more planning sense than CMS.

Jeff Wise said...

We can bash Heckman all we want (anonymously too, lots of guts there, eh?), and Heckman has by the way, done further studies than Perry Preschool.

Planet Money did a small series on pre-K using other sources along with Heckman and found similar results.

The state of Oklahoma moved to universal pre-K with good results.

No one, including myself, is saying it's *the* answer, but it is an answer. If you want to immediately dismiss it because of a few technicalities in the way the research is presented, then sure, stick your head in the sand, there's nothing more for you to see here.

Paul Tough uses KIPP plus the Rivrerdale Academy as examples of the growing idea of character education and character report cards. But stop for a second because how these groups define character is different than morals - I'm not going to spoon feed it here, do your own research and form your own opinions. The book is only a few hundred pages and pretty easy to read.

I certainly understand it's much easier to just knock it all this down from your recliner and presume that the children and their parents aspire to be lazy incompetent humans.

And I understand you will never change your mind, that's fine and it's your right to think whatever it is you want. But it doesn't solve anything.

Wiley - you're smarter than this, yes there's been pre-k for decades. No, there's not been quality pre-k for decades. No, it's not a panacea cure-all. Yes, it is absolutely something worthwhile to study and fund to understand perfectly if it's a tool to help assuage our societal problems.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I think the report on Head Start by DHHS says it all. They attempted to hide it when they published it the day before CHristmas break in DC. It said simply that black kids may as well had not attended and white kids and hispanic kids were actually harmed by the program. Didn't the judge who ended the Kansas City school forced integration say the same thing?

So your continued ranting on preK falls on deaf ears. When the feds admit a program is a failure, that is news. Of course congressmen from highly dependent constituents continue to add amendments onto other bills giving it more money.

Wiley Coyote said...


Thank you for the slap in the face to me and tens of thousands of other parents who for years paid out of our pockets for pre-k programs for our kids and backed up those programs at home working with our children to learn manners, respect, reading and basic math.

Jeff said:

I certainly understand it's much easier to just knock it all this down from your recliner and presume that the children and their parents aspire to be lazy incompetent humans.

I'm certainly not in my recliner and have been responding via comuter and mobile from California. Some people have to work for a living in order to pay taxes so other people can send their kids to the pre-K programs YOU want to provide.

The bottom line is, there are lazy, incompetent parents and many who game the system. Anyoen with half a brain knows education is the ky to a better future. The problem is, many know it and don't care. Why should they when the likes of you wants to give them everything for free.

By the way. You might want to read this article that just appeared on the Observer front page:

Charlotte woman pleads guilty to $4.8 million Medicaid fraud

...Cannon and her co-conspirators operated after-school and summer childcare programs in Gastonia and Shelby. Prosecutors said Cannon and others devised the scheme to defraud Medicaid by using Medicaid provider numbers assigned to other companies and therapists. In many instances, authorities said, the claimed mental and behavioral health services were never provided.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/#storylink=cpy

Anonymous said...

As I recall, the 2005 bond referendum went down in a three ring circus of flames. In CMS time, that's 4 superintendents ago.

To the BOE's credit, I think it has become a somewhat more tamed and trustworthy beast since this bull.


Ettolrahc said...

We do need pre k, in fact pre pre pre k, heck why not just create petri dish baby factories and have the government train these kids to be good little soldiers.

What is it about the current system that people see as being anything we could use to make things better in society?

Pamela Grundy said...

My husband and I paid for high quality pre-K out of our own pockets and backed up those programs at home. Yet somehow I don't feel slapped in the face by Jeff's comments. We didn't need the help. Other families do. I know lots of parents, kids and teachers for whom Bright Beginnings has made a huge difference. Sure, there are a few slackers, but I don't waste my time constructing a worldview that blames them for all that ails this country and the world. That's never going to get this community or this country anywhere.

Interesting that those of us who stand up for the least among us don't mind using our real names, while those who bash them don't feel able to.

Anonymous said...

Trillions spent since LBJ with no measureable results.

Tie the welfare to the performance and attendance of the student in the schools.

The only incentive to finally make a change in results

Wiley Coyote said...

I have a pristine copy of the Charlotte Observer the morning after the 2005 bond referendum died in my office. I looked at it the other day.

Alicia, here's what the "new, tamed and trustworthy BOE" put forth a few months ago:

CMS bonds in 2013?

After a long recession-driven slump in school construction, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials laid out a $1.86 billion 10-year plan for school construction and renovation Tuesday.

Planner Mike Raible said the first slice of that plan could go before voters in 2013, although county officials could also find other ways to provide money. The last bond vote was in 2007, when voters approved $516 million.

The plan includes just over $1 billion (in today's dollars) for building 52 new schools, $717 million for major renovations at 113 schools and $96 million for smaller improvements at 32 sites. That's 56 percent for growth, 39 percent for renovation and 5 percent for the smaller projects.

Board members got a two-inch-thick book laying out the individual projects, but that hasn't been released publicly yet. It's the specifics that spark public debate, as staff and the board decide which projects go to the top of the list.

Read more here: http://obsyourschools.blogspot.com/2012/01/cms-bonds-in-2013.html#storylink=cpy

We can start now to defeat any bond proposal CMS puts out.

I may even resubscribe to the Observer so I can have a day after issue of the defeat of the next bond referendum.

Ettolrahc said...

I know it is sad when people the observer ignores just will not post their names on this site, so they can ignore them even more.

But that is how the observer operates they just love certain folks and you already know that.

And it is sad how we are still getting that how much we need to help those who need help so much, from folks who make so much off of the renderings and distribution of said help to those folks.

Wiley Coyote said...


Get off your high horse.

You and I have had this anonymous discussion before and you even admitted there are times anonymous postings are warranted.

Knowing my name or that of another is totally irrelevant. The opinion is the same.

Universal pre-K is not sustainable. There isn't enough money for it.

I'll say it again for the hundredth time.

I have no problem whatsoever helping anyone who truly needs the help, be that with food, medical, education, etc.

Until we can begin weeding out those who don't qualify for benefits and come to a concensus on exactly what the threshold for these entitlement programs is (most are varying degrees of Census poverty numbers), nothing will change.

More and more people will become enabled to just have government take care of them.

Record numbers on food stamps. Record numbers all of a sudden on disability.

If you can't see that escalating dramatically in this country today, you have your head stuck in the dirt or you're afraid to deal with it or both.

CharlotteObserver said...

We do need to stop people from making up names and only take comments from people who will present who they are.

Ettolrahc said...

Wait, are you saying we should only take comments from folks who have posted who they are?

Pamela Grundy said...

Who do you work for, Wiley, that the opinions you express here would cost you your job?

As you know, I do periodically get tired of all the folks on this blog who bash others from the safety of anonymity. It does remind me of the anonymous phone calls that people in this region used to get when they stood up for the rights of African Americans, as well as the hoods that members of the Klan felt the need to wear. I guess I like to think that if folks had to put their name behind what they said, maybe they'd think their statements through a bit more carefully, especially the uglier ones. But I suppose I could be wrong.

CharlotteObserver said...

Yes that is exactly what needs to happen.

Ettolrahc said...

What if I make up a fake name like the Charlotte Observer or Pam Grundie, would I still get to make a comment?

Anonymous said...

Just curious:

Is there any measurable evidence that CMS' gifted and learning disabled programs improve long-term student achievement? Since I have children who fall into both additional cost consuming categories? What is the overall cost of educating EC (gifted, LD, etc.) vs. an average student who qualifies for Bright Beginnings? You mean to tell me there aren't ebbs and flows with this data that can't be argued one way or the other?

Your points are duly noted but I can't believe you think the current school board is as wacky as the Circus of 2005. I don't think it's nice to name call but what a collective bunch of idiots.


CharlotteObserver said...

Well yes you could do that and as an added attraction you could also berate others for not disclosing their name.

CharlotteObserver said...

And that you Pam for dragging the deaths of so many folks for freedom into this discussion of getting folks to fund more for the school system.

That is the true way to get money for the failing school system, by shutting down discussion.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of SMALL HISTORICAL NOTE school buildings. I nominate 1962 Garinger to the list. What a shame.


Anonymous said...

9:00 said "That is the true way to get money for the failing school system, by shutting down discussion."

Or maybe by acting like a zombie.

Pamela Grundy said...

See you at the rally!

Anonymous said...

OK, so this blog is sometimes for the birds.


Ettolrahc said...

I would like to have the last word on here.

Texas girl said...

How is CMS going to afford to transport all these students to the new Magnet/Steam/Whatever schools? If a child does not attend their local neighborhood school, parents should have to transport their kids to other school.