Monday, August 12, 2013

118 pages of CMS reading

After a crazy stretch last week,  I just got a chance to track down the full reports from 22 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools task forces.

Well,  make that full reports from 21.  After a brief and confusing presentation from the compensation task force at last week's event at West Charlotte High,  I was told the report from months of work on a "strategic compensation" plan for teachers would be released as part of this report.  In fact,  there's a one-page timeline from that group that concludes in July 2013:  "Sent a memo from Dr. Heath Morrison to Compensation Task Force thanking them for their efforts."  So I guess we'll have to wait for a report from another compensation task force that started meeting in June. I've been assured those meetings will be public,  but I haven't yet found a schedule.

But the reports from the 21 other task forces are detailed,  with references,  costs and timetables.  I'm going to wade through them as I have time,  but I'm also hoping for a little crowd-sourcing.  If you've got an interest in one or more of the areas,  check out the reports and let me know what's interesting and what raises further questions.  It's 118 pages of reading,  so it's going to take awhile.  If you're a speed reader,  you can move on to 212 pages of supplemental reading from the  "closing the achievement gap"  group.


Anonymous said...

Next comp task force meeting

August 27

3:30 - 5:30 pm


be there!!!

Wiley Coyote said...

The 212 pages of closing the achievement gap looks like a bunch of files someone had collected for the past 20 years and scanned them into a pdf.

I did notice that 67% of respondents to a survey as to what the cause of the achievement gap believe it is due to lack of parental involvement.

Ya think?

Wiley Coyote said...

Task Force 10, Early Childhood

We've spent over $20 million per year on Bright Beginnings with no data to support it.

Gorman wanted to cut it.

It is not mandated and should not be funded by tax dollars.

So, no data related to Bright Beginnings since 2000 and this committee recommends expanding it? We all knew that was coming.

Find some philanthropy money to fund it and leave tax dollars out it.

Anonymous said...

Special attention is needed for black males, so says the task force, "‡ Current research provides an evidence base that shows that African-American students attend schools which usually have limited course offerings that are critical in preparing them for college- and career-readiness goals. To fully engage African-American male students, opportunities for students to engage in a range of course offerings is critical." Now CMS will provide classes on how to flip french fries. What next?

Anonymous said...

African-American males are disproportionately impacted by the current CMS discipline policy, particularly as it is related to discretionary actions. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH ... academic achievement is impacted in a negative way as instructional time is lost.

So it is CMS fault that these kids can't behave?

Anonymous said...

Could CMS have worked any harder to make the report more difficult to read and cross reference with duplicative efforts mentioned by any other groups?

Anonymous said...

Are graduation rates up just because the percentage of African American males is going down?

That is what we are seeing in the crime statistics.

Anonymous said...

$40 Million MORE in the Budget ?



Shamash said...

I certainly hope they got the copyright permissions for their 212page supplemental reading...

The first excerpt, an introduction to Excellence with Equity by Ronald F. Ferguson, is a bit odd since it just mentions what the book is about, not any particular conclusions or insights.

It seems to be an analysis of the usual explanations given for the black/white achievement gap, though, so maybe it has something...

The second excerpt seems to be an entire report "Breaking the Achievement Gap for Low-Income Students and Students of Color".

Well, this report is a bit unique in that it seems to focus on improving the lot of our BEST PERFORMERS.

This is something I've been harping about for some time now.

The cover page puts it succinctly:


And one page even has one of my little points exploding the "poverty" myth behind black low performance...

"Still, higher-income black students remained more likely than low-income white students to perform at below basic in eighth grade math". (p. 17 of 212)

So, I'm glad to see THAT finally in print in an "official" document, instead of just my own observations of charts...

We don't need to ALWAYS focus so much on the low-performers of society.

We do enough of that already with somewhat predictably dismal results.

And "poverty" is not the explanation, either.

The "performance gaps" at the top are just as important and even greater.

And I would add that this is true not only between "our own" (i.e., black/white in the US), but between our best and the best in the rest of the world.

(Of course, as usual, I'm out on a limb all by myself on this topic.

Maybe it's those darned over-achieving Chinese cousins of ours who keep me so acutely aware of the differences).

Shamash said...

Oh yeah,

The rest of the 212 pages seems to be copies of other reports (not just the two I mentioned above which are just for their first recommendation.

Even so, I have to admit I'm having some problems directly connecting the works in the appendix to each of the 22 recommendations they are supposed to supplement.

I know there's a cover sheet for each "recommendation" dividing the appendix , but the content seems a bit out of sync with the topic of each recommendation...

The two works I mentioned above were in support of the recommendation:

"Establish a school performance-review framework and process."

I guess I would have expected more studies on HOW establishing a school performance-review framework and process improved the performance gap or something.

Guess that's why I'm not working in "education"...

(Except for my own kids, of course...)

Shamash said...


Also funny is that other high scoring public survey response is:

"Too many students who do not push themselves to work hard."

Yeah, I think "the public" just might be on to something...

Odd though how "not enough computers" and "student stereotyping" were so low on that public survey of what folks think causes the achievement gap.

Yet, those seem to be the main solutions that CMS educrats push as the answer with BYOT and "diversity" training.

Maybe CMS needs to work a little more on its "expectation gap" with the public.

Of course, "the public" could be wrong...

As any good educrat would probably tell you.

Wiley Coyote said...


I can sum up the downfall of public education in two words:

political correctness.

Political correctness has its tentacles in every aspect of education and it is the required fallback position when anything controversial arises.

Anonymous said...

If everyone improves by 10% it would be a bad thing because the achievement gap would widen?

Wiley Coyote said...

The gap would widen.

What I found interesting is that there was no data - that I saw - in the "Closing the Achievement Gap Report" showing what the gaps are.

Anonymous said...

So I guess a way to narrow the "gap" is for everyone to dumb down by 10%?
Well actually, going from 28 to 24 credits....
Ah, stop - it is just too depressing.

Wiley Coyote said...

The only way to "close the gap" is for Whites to either stay the same or regress and the minorities accelerate.

Whites are between 89 and 92 points so they also can increase their test scores.

Anonymous said...

I believe there are people on CMS BOE, based on actions they have taken, who would love it if white scores declined so the gap would narrow. To them this would be success. Heath's next resume would tout the fact he narraowed the gap, and racist BOE throughout the land would throw even more money his way.
First step, driving good students out of CMS (to private or charters) is well underway.

Anonymous said...

What reason would ANYONE have for believing "the gap" CAN be closed?

Any "research" on that?

Sounds like a bunch of hooey to me.

Maybe the assumptions behind the whole thing are false.