Friday, December 6, 2013

McCray and Morgan make a popular team

It's looking like CMS board chair Mary McCray and vice chair Tim Morgan will cruise to re-election at Wednesday's board meeting.

From Republican member Rhonda Lennon:  "They brought out the best in everyone."

From Democratic member Joyce Waddell:  "They complement each other and they complement the community."

From unaffiliated member Eric Davis:  "I think Tim and Mary have done a fine job."

All three were emphatic about their desire to return the McCray/Morgan team to the leadership spots. And Morgan said he and McCray are eager to accept:  "I feel very good about the working relationship between us and with fellow board members.  Mary and I feel very comfortable with the work the board has done."

As Coach Joe White,  a former board chairman,  used to say,  you can't be sure what will happen until the hands are raised.  But I'm not hearing the usual caginess that I get when board members are wrangling over who will get the leadership posts.

I used to think the selection of a chair and vice chair had little impact beyond board members' egos. But I'm starting to rethink that attitude after seeing the difference between the 2012 board and the 2013 version,  which had the same members but different officers.

In December 2011,  Ericka Ellis-Stewart was elected chair and McCray was vice chair.  They were the top finishers in the November at-large election.  Neither had board experience and both were Democrats.  Partisan rifts flared,  especially when the Democratic majority appointed a Democrat to the District 6 seat,  where voters consistently choose Republicans.  Ellis-Stewart,  who had been a powerhouse candidate with widespread support,  built a reputation as a chairman who made decisions without consulting other members.  Tension among board members went public when Ellis-Stewart found herself unable to cover travel costs for a Charlotte Chamber trip to London, which was ultimately cancelled.

In December 2012, the board paired Democrat McCray with Republican Morgan.  Ellis-Stewart stepped into a different leadership role, representing CMS on the national level as a steering committee member for the Council of Urban Boards of Education.  I've been hearing good things about the new team from board members and the community. Lennon noted that McCray talks to her even when she knows they're going to be on opposite sides of a vote,  something that she seldom experienced in her first three years.

The current good feelings stand in contrast to the board's old reputation for bickering.  And, for that matter, to the drama over electing a chairman for the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners or the Wake County school board.


Wiley Coyote said...

~ CMS lost about 16% of its teachers last year, topping the state’s average.....

~ CMS was closing the achievement gap but now it has gotten wider. In Math 74.2% of white students are proficient - Black students only 23.6%. In Biology, 73.5% of white students are on grade level, Black students 29.6%. In English, 77.5% of white students are proficient, Black students 39%......

....but at least we have a BOE that's gettin' along!!


Anonymous said...

Great news, let them all give themselves a big hug and pat on the back. In the meantime, the teachers are leaving, the students are playing on their tech devices at school and the majority of elementary students are retaking every math test because they can't pass them the first time.

Anonymous said...

Mary may have to go back into teaching. With the continued major loss of great teachers and test scores dropping their is a huge market for staff. It is good to see the BOE getting along after pawning the bonds off on the tax payers. Makes sense to build more schools when you cannot staff the ones you have. The again when did making sense come into CMS thinking? This BOE has done little to nothing in the last 18 months so this is a complete JOKE ! Take care of your staff and fix the bell schedule. Keith W. Hurley

Shamash said...


I've just spotted yet another interesting black/white pattern in the recent turnover data which I doubt will make the "news".

Notice WHICH counties have the highest teacher turnover rates and WHICH counties have the highest black population percentages.

H'mmm. Lots of the same names are showing up...

And many of the counties with the LOWEST turnover have the LOWEST black population percentages.

Looks like there might be more than just a little correlation there.

The same pattern is not nearly as strong (or even clearly present) when teacher turnover is compared to per capita income.

Also, if you look at the map, a lot of the whitest counties are in west NC which is also relatively low income.

Which seems to blow the ever popular "it's the poverty" argument out of the water.

So maybe we have a black/white "teacher turnover gap" as well.

Someone please alert Fannie Flono...

I think she missed this one.


Wiley Coyote said...


You know facts mean nothing in education fantasy land.

Any liberal who reads your comment head will explode.

I'm sure there is some correlation to teachers leaving and the demographics, but teacher turnover rates are high across the country

Ada County and Canyon County in Idaho have over 95% White populations, yet their teacher turnover rates are over 20%.

Great analysis though...

Shamash said...


Well, 20% turnover in Idaho doesn't sound that bad, if that's their worst. It is roughly the same as Durham County.

NC's range is from 7.31% to 35.9% which seems like a crisis to me and an indication that some counties could learn from what other counties are doing.

Anyhoo, I was just following up on the recent Fannie Flono oped piece with my usual skeptical eye.

It was when she mentioned "lack of respect" and its corollary, "workplace issues", and implied it had nothing to do with the students, that my interest was piqued (maybe it's admin and coworkers?)

Especially when she jumped to recent "legislative policy" argument right after admitting that this data was collected BEFORE that would have had an impact.

She then went on to drive the "legislative" point home as if it WAS the driving reason for teacher dissatisfaction, ANYWAY.

(Geez. Gaps in logic like that make my BS alarm go off, especially when emitted from certain sources).

To my way of thinking, if it really was due to disapproval of statewide policies, we'd see more balanced turnover across the state.

But we don't.

So it just might be something else.

Anonymous said...

Great, the BofE is getting along fine. Why dont they give themselves a raise along with the Super MOrrison. Will the last teacher with any qualifications and skills please turn out the lights when you FINALLY leave.

Good luck CMeS with a district that is made up of what will be coming down the road. Good luck with the money going down the drain training the constant turnover of the TFA crowd. More wasted money on turnover orientation and recruitment. Combine this with the millions wasted on PfP testing creation and millions upon millions have gone for nothing over these past 5 years. If you had just kept the STATUS QUO the state and district would have saved millions.

Uncommon Sense

Anonymous said...

It's great that this holiday season the BOE so pleasant. Grades have dropped , we still don't know how many kids go to CMS schools, teachers are leaving by the bus load , but the BOE is all gushy over Mary and Timmy? This certainly makes a parent and tax payer really happy! No results you should hit the road. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

God Bless the Burger King / fast food workers.It wont be long until their united front allows them to make MORE that a first year teacher in CMeS.

WAKE UP educated workers and unite. Your salary and lack of respect in the city will only get worse!

Shamash said...

The "united front" of the fast food workers is more likely to put more of them out of work than anything else if they get the kind of pay raises they are asking for.

As people like to remind us when it's time to compare education test results, we ain't Finland or Switzerland.

Fast food is competitive.

When you raise costs (or prices), people look for alternatives.

Businesses hire fewer people, automate more, cut back on selections (no more McCafe?), etc., etc.

They don't just cut executive pay and redistribute the wealth among the worker bees.

That's because it's much easier to hire new worker bees in fast food than ever before.

Which is because they've already wrung the need for experience (or much education) out of the bottom rung of their business.

Nearly anyone can do it.