Monday, November 4, 2013

After walk-in, what's the plan?

After a day of signs and cheers and red clothes and pancake breakfasts for teachers, I bet I'm not the only person wondering:  Is anything going to change for N.C. teachers? If so, what's the plan and who's making it?

The Walk-In/Walk-Out day has tapped into what seems to be a widespread sentiment that our state's teachers deserve a better deal,  as teacher pay and per-pupil spending slump toward the bottom of national rankings and the state throws challenges and changes at public educators.

Parents and students at Elizabeth Lane Elementary

But sentiment isn't action.  The build-up to Nov. 4 illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of social media organizing.

It started when the pseudonymous  "Mike Ladidadi"  created a Facebook event called  "Nov. 4th NC Teacher Walkout."  The call for action was couched in broad terms:  "We want more respect for teachers.  Specifically a fair balance between workload, expectations and compensation for our teachers.  Help needs to come from both the state government and from unengaged parents who need to take an active role in their child's education."

As the idea circulated among teachers, administrators, journalists and others,  it morphed into the notion of a  "walk-in,"  bringing parents,  students and community members together to show support for teachers.  While the tone of frustration with recent legislative action was present,  there didn't seem to be any clear agenda here, either.

Things took some odd twists as the event neared.  I had assumed  "Ladidadi"  was a teacher worried about protecting his job.  But last week a conservative/Libertarian N.C. blogger known as Lady Liberty posted that she traced the name to a Wilmington real estate broker who,  "as far as I can tell,  has no horse in the teacher grievances race other than he himself thinks they aren’t being treated fairly."  (The irony of a pseudonymous blogger unmasking a pseudonymous organizer isn't lost on me,  but Lady Liberty identified herself to me as A.P. Dillon,  a Holly Springs mom who says she doesn't want her school-age child to get caught in the political crossfire.)
Lady Liberty 1885

That's not all:  A group called Organize 2020 emerged as a voice pushing for walk-in events on Nov. 4. You'd be hard-pressed to identify that group from its web site,  but the @Organize2020 Twitter profile describes it as "a member-led group within the NCAE advocating for teachers."  Organize 2020 appears to be the source of a statement saying the North Carolina Association of Educators "affirm(s) the desire and right of educators to use tactics like a walkout or strike,"  which prompted Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger to call for the state's attorney general to intervene.  The NCAE,  which had already publicly declined to endorse the walk-out, removed the link to that statement.
Organize2020.com
So why does a teacher advocacy group need a subgroup to advocate for teachers,  and why are the ties between the two entities obscured?  I've got a call in to NCAE President Rodney Ellis (who came to Charlotte today to speak at a "walk-in" rally at Ranson Middle School)  seeking an explanation.

Bottom line:  The GOP majority in the state legislature translated some prevailing sentiments  (accountability and choice improve education,  the teacher pay system is a failure)  into plans.  The question is whether the folks who don't like those plans have a strategy of their own.  As Superintendent Heath Morrison often notes,  public officials and advocates who say teachers deserve a raise need to be prepared to talk about where the money will come from.

The coming weeks and months will tell whether this was a step toward a real movement  -- and if so, what that movement means.  


66 comments:

Concerned Parent said...

I follow Lady Liberty and enjoy her blogs. She always tries to keep her work factual. Why did you feel it necessary to use her real name and give her location? She has valid concerns when it comes to her children and people knowing who she is.

Ann Doss Helms said...

She asked only that I not give her full name or her child's school. The fact that she is willing to ID herself boosts her credibility, in my view. I was not familiar with her blog, but she seems to be doing some substantive reporting on this issue.

Conserned Parent said...

Thanks for the clarification!

Anonymous said...

Today was the best Monday of the year for our CMS high-schoolers. Why are adults resisting efforts to give high-schoolers a later starting time so they could get more sleep. Teachers, the heavy homework keeping them awake could be reduced with no loss of learning. If you could talk to the teaching staff as a whole and let them know that students do not need thirty-six math problems if they have grasped the concept after nine. What our teenagers need is sleep. Hope you all enjoyed your extra hour of sleep.

Shamash said...

Gosh, you mean all those teachers were following someone writing under a pseudonym?

And Pamela didn't complain?

Apparently exposing this man didn't make a difference, so what was the point?

To show that someone with "no horse in the race" gave a crap?

Gosh someone without an agenda who cares.

Whodathunkit?

I'm surprised more people weren't offended at his cowardice.

I guess it depends on the opinions expressed, after all.

Shamash said...

"As Superintendent Heath Morrison often notes, public officials and advocates who say teachers deserve a raise need to be prepared to talk about where the money will come from."

If they tied administrator pay to student performance, we'd hear a different song, I'm sure.

I wonder how administrators get off the hook of pay for performance?

Could it be that they don't really have much of an impact on learning?

Geez, we are so screwed.

Pamela Grundy said...

I haven't followed any of the twists and turns in this particular set of events.

However, as I have always noted, there are times when anonymity is justified, specifically when someone's job might be on the line. So I think it's better when teachers are willing to use their own names when criticizing education policy, but I'm willing to cut them some slack, particularly if they're providing valuable information or perspectives that otherwise might stay private. I would thus understand if a teacher started a statewide call for a walk-out anonymously.

I suppose that some people might say that consistently bashing their children's teachers deserves anonymity, because otherwise there might be retaliation against their children (and I'm not talking about Lady Liberty here). But I definitely don't think that generalized disdain towards particular groups of people, as often appears in comments on this blog, rises to the level of needing anonymity. Most of those folks, in my mind, are just taking advantage of the ability to speak without having to think about effects or consequences. I don't call that responsibility.

Pamela Grundy said...

Regarding next steps, one way to improve the situation for both teachers and students while also saving money would be to cut down on high-stakes testing madness.

It is a challenge. ALEC and other organizations pushing corporate reform are extremely well-funded, while grassroots groups are mostly run by volunteers. A couple of years ago, a majority of voters supported keeping an extra cent on the statewide sales tax to help fund education. But the legislature took its own path. We'll see what happens in the next round of elections.

Aubrey Moore said...

There seems to be a lot of concern about who says what, under what name they say it, and why. The politicalizing of education, down to the classroom teacher, has produced an atmosphere where everyone is just a voice for one side or the other, no one having the credibility to speak with authority on any subject.

State legislators created this atmosphere with their open hostility toward a highly democratic professional organization that they could align with their political foes, and then proceed to demonize it and every member of it.

Here is a fact. A large percentage of those teachers who might qualify as super-teachers, now have one ambition, to get out at any cost. While they might work for the money available, they are being driven away by simple disrespect. I have a son and a daughter-in-law in that group and through them a connection to others like them.

When I started teaching 47 years ago, North Carolina was not able to recruit the quality of teachers that it has been able to hire over the last ten years. Teaching in Gaston County for 11 years, I was pretty well acquainted with the quality of teachers then. Most of the teachers that I knew and taught with were not driven by academic achievement like so many of our teachers are today. To lose these young people from our public schools will be devastating.

And much of the damage is now taking place every day in low key ways that afford deniability. People who once went to work free to give all of their energy to the job now go to work wondering, "should I get involved?"

This will change, not when parents show their love and respect, but when officials of the state decide to remove their petty politics from the classroom and drop their demonization of professional organizations that are necessary for a healthy public education in our state

Anonymous said...

Pay teachers NOW and bring back their bonus and benefits.

COMMON GOAL for a COMMON CORE

Pamela Grundy said...

Thanks for contributing, Aubrey. The issue over anonymity is an ongoing discussion on this blog that often comes up when there aren't very many interesting voices in the comments. Thanks for pulling us back to the discussion at hand.

Aubrey Moore said...

There seems to be a lot of concern about who says what, under what name they say it, and why. The politicalizing of education, down to the classroom teacher, has produced an atmosphere where everyone is just a voice for one side or the other, no one having the credibility to speak with authority on any subject.

State legislators created this atmosphere with their open hostility toward a highly democratic professional organization that they could align with their political foes, and then proceed to demonize it and every member of it.

Here is a fact. A large percentage of those teachers who might qualify as super-teachers, now have one ambition, to get out at any cost. While they might work for the money available, they are being driven away by simple disrespect. I have a son and a daughter-in-law in that group and through them a connection to others like them.

When I started teaching 47 years ago, North Carolina was not able to recruit the quality of teachers that it has been able to hire over the last ten years. Teaching in Gaston County for 11 years, I was pretty well acquainted with the quality of teachers then. Most of the teachers that I knew and taught with were not driven by academic achievement like so many of our teachers are today. To lose these young people from our public schools will be devastating.

And much of the damage is now taking place every day in low key ways that afford deniability. People who once went to work free to give all of their energy to the job now go to work wondering, "should I get involved?"

This will change, not when parents show their love and respect, but when officials of the state decide to remove their petty politics from the classroom and drop their demonization of professional organizations that are necessary for a healthy public education in our state

Anonymous said...

Last year the state of NC took in 430 million more in revenue than the year before. Heath, none of that went to increasing teacher pay. Instead it went to pet projects of the good old boys in Raleigh. Every year NC slips in the rankings and every year the percent of money going to education decreases. Disgraceful.

Shamash said...

Actually, Pamela, the subject of anonymity was a good portion of the original post for this blog.

But I guess you missed it.

Pamela Grundy said...

Guess so.

Wiley Coyote said...

Shamash,

Are you coming to the ABC next month?

Anonymous said...

7:35, do a little research and quit listening to the talking heads. Did NC not rebuild Gov Bev's dad's pier? Do you not know how much NC owes the feds for the borrowing Gov Bev did to pay out higher unemployment insurance and greatly expand the unemployment pool to even part time workers and those that quit their jobs voluntarily? Talk to a few businessmen and hear about how they are having to go do battle against paying unemployment to someone who gets hired then leaves the first day?

Lastly, Gov Mike and Gov Bev started with freezing the teacher pay. Second, while the concepts of pay for performance and high stakes testing are pushed by the republicans, it is also pushed by POTUS and Arne, and required because NC (Gov Bev again) took the RTTP money from the feds. It is all strings attached.

Get with the program. This is just an orchestrated stunt by the PR arm, reported by Ann a few months ago of an organized effort to put the blame on this legislature that was all started by the NC democrats and the federal democrats.

Well maybe this is lastly, do you even understand the financial hole this state is in? The republicans inherited a mess and they have to deal with it. Just like I am glad Obama got re-elected because now he will have to face the mess he created in his first term and his legacy will be more tarnished than the silver lifted from Blackbeard's wrecked ship.

Anonymous said...

The money is there, it's all in the downtown CMS central offices. Pay the teachers, and downsize all other departments that DO NOT have direct contact with the customer - the students.

Ann Doss Helms said...

7:35 pm, I should clarify that Morrison isn't arguing against raises; he's for them. He wouldn't put it quite this bluntly, but he's basically saying that without a specific plan to cover the substantial cost of a meaningful statewide raise, any talk about one is empty.

Shamash said...

Aubrey,

You might find this McKinsey & Co. repot somewhat interesting.

It is all about how to attract and retain talented teachers and how that might be one of the most important "reforms" we could pursue.

And, OMG, they actually interviewed potential teaching candidates from the top third to find out what would encourage them to teach.

And a lot of it is similar to what you said.

Of course, it goes largely unnoticed by the educrats even when referenced and acknowledged in their other "politically corrected" analyses which just make more and more excuses and exceptions for our failings.

I think these suggestions are ignored PRECISELY because they are NOT political and don't cater to either the right or left, but look at what successful countries outside the US have done and finds at least one thing they have in common that we could actually reproduce in this country.

(Without necessarily going the full privatization route or joining hands and singing Kumbaya in hopes of establishing a socialist paradise with equality for all BEFORE tackling the education problem.)

It is about getting the top third of college students into teaching.

The report is called:

Closing the talent gap: Attracting and retaining top third graduates to a career in teaching

http://mckinseyonsociety.com/closing-the-talent-gap/

(And for the Heath-bar loving crowd, yes, it does include some ideas about where the money can come from (if and where needed) and a way to phase things in or experiment to see if they work.

Shamash said...

What if they got rid of a bunch of lower performing teachers and split their pay with the rest?

Would that work?

On a national level, we have a lot more teachers per pupil now than we did 40 years ago.

On a per pupil ratio, we have about 50% more teachers.

What if we went back to our earlier ratios and teachers were given a 50% raise, would that help?

And it is very likely that we are dipping deeper into the available teacher labor pool to get those teachers, so there is probably some room for pruning.

More than one observer has noted that we are essentially splitting the existing pay pot among too many players today.

I'd add in a few administrator roles as well, but I've seen the "well-reasoned" arguments why we need so many administrators today, so I know THAT won't fly.

But if we cut teachers, why not administrators as well? It leaves even more money on the table for the rest.

Anyway, just consider that ON AVERAGE our national pupil-teacher ratio has dropped from 22.3 in 1970 to 15.4 in 2009.

http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=28

Of course, this doesn't mean the average class size is 15, but that there are simply more teachers on the payroll doing something than before.

And more teachers on the payroll (and not in the classroom, or in extremely small classes) means less money for those who ARE in the classroom with more students.

Anonymous said...

Again, nc took in 430 million more last year but devoted 0 to teacher raises. Heath, Ann, that is where the money should come....increased revenues.

Shamash said...

Also, I might just add that if anyone finds my suggestion of less teachers offensive or whatever...

Just consider that what we are doing now is probably driving off teachers at the top end of the talent pool and see if it doesn't make more sense to eliminate those from the bottom instead and pay the rest more.

Provided that teacher compensation is a major factor in teacher discontent.

It's what any other sensible management would choose given an option.

Keep your best and let go of the rest.

(Other things like the work environment could probably be addressed with less money.)

Anonymous said...

When has CMS ever been described as using "sensible management" practices?

Shamash said...

Well, the lack of sensible management is probably part of the problem.

But it's not just CMS.

It's the whole nature of the public education beast to some degree.

And it's a big beast nationally with over 5% of our GDP.

CMS is a $1.4 billion dollar beast itself and one of the six largest employers in the area.

Comparable in size to the biggest banks, health care providers, and Walmart.

Which is why some people think privatization is the answer.

I'm not so sure it is, but I can see where they might get the idea that it would help.

I can't imagine, for example, someone working at Walmart for altruistic reasons.

Either way, the way we are currently headed doesn't seem to work well.



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

Actually, CMS is closer in size to Duke Energy than Walmart for number of employees in Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.

But, still, the motives to work at the two are still probably miles apart.

Anonymous said...

Shamash, federal law requires special education. Every kid has a right to an education. There are kids with traumatic brain injuries who have one teacher with them all day. Special education is the reason. Dumb idea to weigh the good teachers down with huge classes by getting rid of the bad. Surefire way to see the good exit.

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

So you're saying it's better to keep the bad teachers around just to take up the slack in pure numbers?

I know that we would have never thought of doing that at any place I've ever worked.

We would have gotten rid of the low performers and used the money to hire better replacements or compensate the hard workers for their increased efforts.

I've been through that process many times in my life.

So I'm not so sure I'm the one with the dumb idea.

I know that we have special ed, but is that the ENTIRE reason for the increase in teachers per pupil from over 40 years ago?

If so, then there may be a better way to deliver "special" education than having special ed teachers scattered all over the place to the tune of having 50% of the old number of teachers concentrating on special education one child at a time.

I don't buy into the idea that any of this is sacred just because that's the way it's done now.

And it looks like we're going to lose good teachers anyway, so why not try something new?

Ex-CMS Teacher said...

OK--a few thoughts from someone who is extremely happy to have left CMS.

1. Get rid of the facilitators. There are schools elsewhere that don't have these higher-paid positions. Facilitators stifle teacher creativity and serve (at least where I taught) as puppets for principals who don't want to do much on their own.

2. Stop trying to introduce a new assessment or something every other week. Why spend so much money on things nobody understands?

3. Find another way to assess principals than test scores. Our principal looked wonderful because of this. However, he was also someone who I wouldn't want my own family to be around because of the content of his character and his intolerance for people not exactly like him.

4. Eliminate other administrator positions. I need a reminder--why does an elementary school need a "dean of students" when they already have a principal and assistant principal? Back when I went to middle school, our middle school didn't have such a thing--and we got along fine!!

5. Get a system of evaluation for teachers that isn't given by said poor administrators and isn't as subjective or difficult. McREL is a sham and certainly can't measure what makes a teacher who truly can help a student reach their potential.

6. Run the operation like a school, not a business. Students are not products or customers. They are PEOPLE. Don't hire some CEO-type boss at any level.

7. Don't participate in any of these teacher appreciation events. Most of them are only in it because they got a degree in education and feel obligated to get a job. The good ones left long ago. Most of these teachers are only concerned about their next happy hour at the local bar. They really don't care about students and like to put on a front. If they really did care, they'd have more than one parent-teacher conference every year and go beyond what the curriculum offers. NEWS FLASH--you don't teach "common core" or "standards". You teach STUDENTS.

8. Encourage families to get out of CMS. The day I resigned was the happiest day of my life. Yes, I was happy to have landed a teaching job, but I'm much better off doing my own thing now--I still work with students but no longer in the schools. You, too, will be happy when you cut ties with "See A Mess".

Anonymous said...

shamash,

you apparently don't have the first clue of what happens inside classrooms with your suggestions

i could only imagine an elementary, or middle school classroom with 50 students so we can raise salaries for those deemed the best.... yeah... lets see you manage that.

Shamash said...

Anon 2:21pm.

Oh, so I don't have the first clue.

Well, here's one for you to consider regarding CMS...

http://www.cms.k12.nc.us/mediaroom/aboutus/Pages/FastFacts.aspx

Total Full Time Teachers = 9221
Total Students = 141,171

That's a pupil/teacher ratio of 15.31 to 1.

Which is NOWHERE NEAR 50 to 1.

You could fire HALF the teachers and still not have a 50:1 ratio, but more like a 30:1 ratio.

So what are the other teachers doing all day?

Are they all "special ed" teachers or what?

And are you saying there is no way this could be made more effective or efficient?

I'm just saying this looks like an area where there just might be some waste.

And where some extra money for salaries could come from.

It just seems that education is one area of the economy where it seems to take more people to get less done than it did 50 years ago.

Or maybe they're "doing more" now than they need to do.

Anonymous said...

Ann, You say Heath is for the teachers getting a raise? Question What is his strategic plan to accomplish such a agenda? Just a simple question what are you doing to drive the result?
Much like the bonds he is trying to get passed he has a game plan a agenda if you will sponsored by outside funds. I would love to see him put such a effort behind getting his staff paid a decent wage. That certainly would boost some morale in his ranks. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

Cut (not just decrease the increase) administration costs.

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate the math, please keep in mind that your teacher ratio includes all teaching positions (including non-student positions like Deans/Test Coordinators/Academic Facilitators) as well as EC and ESL teachers who customarily serve very small numbers of students.

Shamash said...

I know that number includes "all" teachers.

That is part of my question.

Are ALL those extra teachers needed to the tune of a 50% increase over the teacher:student ratio of decades past?

Maybe government regulation has put them there, maybe not.

At least one other person who says they were an ex-CMS teacher thinks some of the staff such as the facilitators are unnecessary.

Maybe they're right.

I'm just suggesting that they cut staff not just to "cut costs", but to pay more to those who are left.

I would expect smart management would choose to keep the best teachers who are actually in the classroom teaching.

And not all the Deans/Test Coordinators/Academic Facilitators, etc., etc., unless they are absolutely necessary.

But that's in response to the Heath bar's comments that he needs to know where the money for more pay will come from.

In the absence of higher revenues, more money usually comes from cutting waste and excess spending.

And it often starts with extraneous support staff.

I know one place I worked removed the free Starbucks coffee for all employees just a week before layoffs, but I doubt that's a problem in the schools.

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

Keith,

It sounds to me like the Morrison is only passively(-aggressively?) interested in pay raises.

As in throwing out objections that no one has told him how to do his job, so he doesn't know what to do.

If not, then I agree with you.

We'd see a plan.

But he's apparently stumped on this one.

He's been there long enough to figure out who is expendable and who isn't and where he can find money and how to re-allocate it.

Now he just needs to act on it.

Or explain very clearly why he can't and then act on changing that.

Or just keep smiling and collecting that big paycheck until his next gig.

Anonymous said...

Dear CMS, Curriculum facilitators, Deans, test coordinators and the like are a luxury to a school, not a necessity. The grade level teams and other school administrators should be able to assume and absorb those responsibilities quite easily.

Wiley Coyote said...

There are 392 Facilitators in CMS.

Here they are with the top 10 salaries (less than people in that group show the bottom and top salaries)

Elementary Literacy - 147
$64,845 - $77,696

Elementary Science - 10
$35,417 - $60,677

High School Academic - 28
$55,606 - $75,675

HS Instructional Accountant - 21
$50,959 - $69,369

International Studies Academic - 1
$54,442

Literagy Pre-K - 11
$48,492 - $69,369

Literacy Title I - 7
$39,502 - $69,369

Math - 63
$57,136 - $77,696

Math Title I - 6
$39,619 - $61,467

Middle School Academic - 52
$55,606 - $71,899

One Laptop Per Child - 5
$35.417 - $41,178

Preschool Literacy - 2
$51,466 - $64,845

Technology - 39
$54,179 - $73,062

My personal favorites are the One Laptop Per Child and Elementary Litearcy facilitators.

147 Elementary Literacy Facilitators and CMS students are reading on what grade level? That doesn't count the Title I Literacy Facilitators, Pre-K....

Anonymous said...

Ann, How many local teachers walked OUT? That's an important part of this protest that you haven't covered.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see that STEM in Ballantyne in 2020!

Why did people vote yes for the bonds? I guess they haven't learned from past experiences. Most teachers I speak with advised to vote no as they know the game CMS plays. WASTE-nothing will ever change in the "suburbs."

Wiley Coyote said...

5:14

Some people are scared to death to "vote against the children".

Low information voters.

Gotta love 'em.

Anonymous said...

And Wiley, they (low information voters) know too that they will not have to pay for the bonds.

I will never forget the promises made (by the BOE and the uptown cheerleaders) for rebuilding all the urban schools in the late 90's and 2000's that the achievement gap would go away since the nicer school buildings would attract the better teachers.

What a laugh!

Anonymous said...

Quoting numbers from the CMS website doesn't mean you know what goes on inside a classroom. A 30 plus class size seriously affects a teacher's effectiveness as it lessens the time they have to spend with individual students. You also have to consider that teachers employ very different teaching strategies with elementary students than they would high school students.

Anonymous said...

CMS is in a crisis situation. At my school teachers are resiging - not at the end of the year - NOW. People from other states come here and are shocked by the way schoolls are run, the expected work load, and they find out that NC expenses are not that much lower that where they came from so they are leaving - in large numbers. I have heard that this is not just happening at my school. If something doen't happen soon -Shamash will have to teach all of CMS students. We could just put him on the CMS channel and have them all tune in. He seems to know everything about the educating of children so problem solved!
Ann - would sure like to know if HR is being upfront about the number of teachers leaving and if they are looking at the reasons at the school level?

Anonymous said...

Almost 1,000 teachers have left since the beginning of the school year.

Shamash said...

Anon 5:05am.

Who says I'd ever WANT to teach in the US?

Especially at CMS?

I have an allergy to political correctness which would prevent me from working in the classroom, (or for most government run entities for that matter).

Anyway, I'm no dummy.

If I were to work for CMS, I'd work in administration where the real money is.

Besides, I'm busy enough teaching my own two children.

Something that more parents should try.

And, as I've pointed out so many times, they're BOTH well above average.

And, yes, I take credit for most of that because I KNOW what they are taught in the schools.

Also, I doubt that I could repeat my success with my children with other people's children.

Outside of some place where they really care about education (like China, perhaps).

As for teacher workloads, I see that ALABAMA has one of the lowest pupil:teacher ratios in the country (12.6 to 1), so maybe life as a teacher would be easier there.

But they get even worse results than the vast majority of states (except Mississippi, of course).

I wonder why?

Shamash said...

Anon 5:19

If 1000 teachers HAVE left CMS this year, then I wonder if the educrats have enough sense to ask why.

Not that I expect them to do anything, but it might be nice for them to know.

Then maybe they could get to the root of the problem, if they see that as a problem.

Also, I wonder if they are losing teachers from the top or the bottom of the teaching pool.

Real management would have some idea whether they were losing their best or their worst, but for some reason, I doubt that CMS even thinks about that.

Or even knows how to determine which teachers ARE the best or worst.

From what I've seen of the way many schools are run, most rational people with options in life would want to leave them.

Leaving only the most altruistic and selfless (and perhaps a few of the less competent) behind.

Wouldn't it make more sense to make a decision remove the less competent teachers and split their pay among the rest to make them happier?

Especially since pay seems to be an issue.

Nah, that couldn't possibly work.

Simply because that's not the way they do it.

Shamash said...

Well, here's the next big "crisis"...

"When individual scores are also released this month, parents of struggling students will see that their children are even further behind than they thought. Parents of stronger students will discover that their kids aren’t as accomplished as the grades on their report cards indicated. "

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/11/07/4444909/for-ncs-schools-a-difficult-day.html#storylink=cpy

----------------

Of course, parents who have been benchmarking their children's progress against global standards will NOT be surprised one bit.

I know that MY well-above average kid by US standards, is roughly average in math for Singapore.

(Because I gave him the Singapore Math evaluation test last month, silly me.)

And while he scores as well as a fifth grader in the US standardized tests, he is right where a beginning third grader would be in Singapore.

Of course, few realize how far their kids are BEHIND the rest of the world.

But, hey, what do I know?

I'm not a "certified" teacher, just a Dad.

Shamash said...

Anon 6:40pm

Well, I have to laugh now and wonder what the brilliant plans are for the NEWLY "at risk" once their "achievement gap" is exposed by the new test results.

Will new schools be the answer for the struggling suburbanites who discover that they are no longer at the top as they've been led to believe?

And will money be re-distributed to the NEW "at risk" population?

I expect more of the same ol' same ol and further efforts to make the horses who are already hip-deep in water take a sip or two before they die of thirst.

That, and we'll probably hire more Laptop Facilitators.

Wiley Coyote said...

Shamash,

The test scores and where kids are in school is old news.

To clarify, it's new-old news. This scenario has been played out for years.

Look on the bright side. CMS' graduation rate skyrocketed last year and in a few years, they will have reached 100%.

Many of the kids won't know squat but that 100% will sure look great hanging on Morrison's wall.

The dumbing down of America continues.....

Anonymous said...

please clarify, did 1000 teachers leave CMS since the beginning of the school year, or the State of NC? There certainly aren't 1000 teaching positions posted on the CMS careers page.

Wiley Coyote said...

Shamash,

Just posted by the Observer:

45.4 percent of CMS students and 42.6 percent of N.C. students passed the high school math exam.

53.2 percent of CMS students and 51.1 percent of N.C. students passed the high school English exam.

47.2 percent of CMS students and 45.5 percent of N.C. students passed the high school biology exam.

81% graduation rate last year.

I wonder how they will spin such wonderful achievements in Project LIFT and the new numbers showing lousy test scores...

West Charlotte’s 2011-12 overall proficiency rating on the old algebra, English and biology exams was 44 percent. That fell to 17.4 percent on the results released Thursday, with 11.8 percent passing the new Math I test, 17.9 percent passing biology and 24.2 percent passing English II.

Predictions:

~Teachers will continue to be blamed.

~The "teachers don't get paid enough" excuse will continue.

~We need more money for schools excuse.

Halloween is over. Time to take off the status quo mask, but seems that may very well have just happened.

Anonymous said...

I guess we won't need the full 5 years to see what a waste Project Lift is.

Can't wait for the school specific results.

Will this result in the busing movement to be revisited? Let's hope not!!!

Anonymous said...

News Flash!!!! America has never done well in global compressions when it comes to education. Look at the comparisons from the 30rtys... Our belief in god, freedom, a strong work ethic, family values is what has made us great. Not a bubble sheet!!! The best education system in the world is (arguably) Finland. Are we worried about Finland?

Shamash said...

Yeah, funny how going to "national standards" really takes the wind out of the sails on "special" projects like LIFT.

Going from 44% proficiency to 17% proficiency doesn't look quite as good.

(Gee, we were looking so good when we controlled the numbers, so what went wrong?)

Well, people want to know why there is a move toward national standards, and now we have it.

We just weren't doing as well as we pretended and someone smelled a rat.

People may argue that "Common Core" is a dumbed down curriculum, but if we're already scoring lower by that standard, then just how dumb are we now?

Well, anyway, we'll always have the same excuses for failure (poverty, ethnicity, etc., etc.) so the things that matter won't change.

And we'll still throw money at the problem as if that is the cure when we should know by now it isn't.

Of course, my kids will do well either way.

Just as I did. And it wasn't because my family was rich or particularly privileged.

We were probably in what would be considered the FRL group today, but had to pay for our lunches anyway.

Yeah, we were white, but that's about it. Lots of poor folks in Appalachia were white, so I don't think that was the sole factor.

Still, we managed to learn in school. And a lot of other kids didn't.

Mostly due to their own lack of effort, sitting in the same schools with the same teachers everyone else had.

But we were also native English speakers and I guess that made a huge difference.

But it doesn't explain how the second and third generation Italian immigrants I knew did so well in school.

Maybe it was the Catholic elementary schools that did the trick for them.

Who knows?

It's a good thing CMS demographics are moving away from the groups that "automatically" do well by their ethnicity and privilege, or they'd have NO excuses.

Because then they'd have to consider things like student and parent efforts to learn instead of blaming teachers, schools, and whatever else.

And we can't be havin' none of that.

(At least they can't blame a lack of air conditioning in "the South" any more.)


Shamash said...

Anon 3:01pm

Maybe we aren't worried about Finland, but there are about 20 or more other countries that are better than we are as well.

Maybe you could find a few in that group to "worry" about.

Unless, of course, you mean our superior military might.

In which case, we needn't worry just yet.

But maybe in 15 to 20 years, the godless, freedom-hating, family-planning, overachieving Chinese might be a cause for concern.

Wiley Coyote said...

Shamash,

From the CMS website:

2002-2003

Eighty-two percent of students in grades three through eight performed on grade level in reading, up from 77 percent a year earlier. Eighty-eight percent performed on grade level in math, up from 82 percent a year earlier. The percentage of students scoring in the highest achievement level in math increased at all grade levels. New federal legislation called No Child Left Behind led to compilation and release of information on school performance for all groups of students. Fifty-one CMS schools made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as defined by No Child Left Behind. Sixty-six CMS schools were designated Schools of Excellence or Schools of Distinction in the North Carolina ABCs testing program.

2002-2003

82% grades 3-8 proficient in reading.

88% grades 3-8 proficient in math.

2011-2012

• 45.5 percent of CMS students passed elementary and middle school reading exams

• 46.4 percent of CMS students passed elementary and middle school math exams.

How does CMS go from being in the high 80's proficient in 2003 down to the mid 40's in 2012?

Anonymous said...

Shamash,,
Please consider moving your above average commentary to the Pundit House where you can be a Superstar. You've become a parody of yourself. Even Wiley can't keep up.

Shamash said...

I've always been a parody of myself.

And you can "thank a teacher" for my voluminous prose.

Especially my typing teacher, without whom my ramblings wouldn't be possible.

Because I'd be posting on Twitter.

Anyhoo...



Anonymous said...

Shamash, someone needs to review what complete sentences look like. Just because you can write volumes doesn't mean you are a master of grammar and mechanics.

Shamash said...

Oh, come now.

Haven't you seen "creative" writing before?

It's all the rage now.

And this is a comment on a blog.

Not exactly literature.

Shamash said...

Help for the grammar police out there...

http://grammar.about.com/od/rhetoricstyle/a/effectivefrag.htm

Explains sentence fragments.

And their use in literature as well.

Geez.

Anonymous said...

Oh, since you are always telling us how you are so much better educated than the rest of us, I kind of held you to a higher standard.


rhet·o·ric
[ret-er-ik]

noun
1.
(in writing or speech) the undue use of exaggeration or display; bombast.

Geez, exactly.