Tuesday, October 28, 2014

CMS wants ability to start school three weeks earlier

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has outlined a draft of its legislative priorities for next year, and topping the list: The ability to start schools three weeks earlier.

That would allow schools to get their first semester final exams done before winter break, CMS associate general counsel Jonathan Sink explained to the school board Tuesday. The board is scheduled to vote on the agenda Nov. 19.

The district has nine priorities for state government, and three for local government. Here's a full list, with some explanations offered by Sink.

State priorities

1) Calendar flexibility. At a minimum, the ability to open three weeks earlier than currently allowed.

2) Raise teacher pay to national average.

3) Get the authority to have complete control over local funds.

4) Restore state-funded growth formula. This is a response to a controversial measure passed this summer.

5) Restore state funding for driver's education programs. Otherwise, allow the district to charge students the full cost of the program, or end the mandate that schools provide it.

6) Get charter-like flexibilities. CMS would also like the ability to start its own charter schools. We are asking GA to serve as chartering authority. Further, CMS wants a mandate that parents choose where they will enroll their students (in public schools or charters) by April 1. This would help eliminate discrepancies in enrollment expectations.

7) Oppose mandated inter-county and intra-county student transfer legislation.

8) Fully fund pre-K programs. CMS says it currently gets money for 20,000 students, but says another 40,000 could potentially be eligible.

9) Change the grading formula for the upcoming A-F school performance grades. Right now, the formula is weighted 80 percent toward proficiency and 20 percent toward growth. CMS wants an even split.

Local priorities

1) Restore city of Charlotte funding for school resource officers in CMS.

2) Establish a collaborative inter-governmental committee to identify, prioritize, plan and fund operating and capital budgets.

3) Establish a collaborative inter-governmental committee of planning experts to analyze the impacts of development on CMS.


Anonymous said...

Let 'em want. See what it gets them.

Anonymous said...

Calendar flexibility...joke. It was their incompetence that led to the calendar law in the first place! And where the heck would you find the money to pay teachers for three extra weeks of work?

Anonymous said...

We are in Union County and used to start school in early August and ended before Memorial Day. It was a great schedule and, yes, exams and the first semester were over at Christmas. The the hotel/motel lobby in the eastern part of the state pushed for a law that all NC schools could not start until Aug 25, so they could count on August tourism dollars. The governor and legislature at the time caved in and passed it. School systems should be able to set their own calendars how it works best for them - start and end dates should not be dictated by the state.

Anonymous said...

Charter Team CMS?

"CMS would also like the ability to start its own charter schools."


For once, I'm speechless. Jaw dropping speechless.

Charter Team CFA

John said...

I grew up in Indiana and we rarely started school before Labor Day, ended by Memorial Day, had (as I recall) 6 class periods per day and ended up much better educated than the current generation. CMS has done nothing to demonstrate that they will make any better use of the extra weeks than the currently do with what they have!

As for Driver's Ed, reach out to car dealers and ask them to provide loaners for use in Driver's Ed classes, that's where we got our cars and it helped both the schools and the dealers because kids became familiar with their brands.

Bottom line is, first prove that you can do better with what you have and THEN it will carry more weight when you ask for more! Longer calendar without a commensurate rise in funding only stretches resources even further. More proof that CMS has trouble with simple math.

A note on teacher pay, raising to the "national average" sounds fair on the face of it, but only if that "average" is adjusted for where NC ranks in relative cost of living.

Anonymous said...

Calendar ???

Teachers in CMS were MANDATED to not give any test for at least SEVEN different approved religious holidays this first quarter.

Whatever happened to the separation of church and state.No tests at the end of the quarter because of a Hindu holiday? Really?

All that testing on teachers and now they have to be thrown under the bus because they give a test on a Hindu holiday. I know of a teacher that was threatened to be fired for doing this.

Any investigative reporting on this Dunn ?

Anonymous said...

The school year would still be the same length......they would just get out 3 weeks earlier at the end of the year.

Anonymous said...


My 5th grade Core Knowledge (not to be confused with Common Core) charter school Social Studies curriculum allowed me to teach the finer points of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" - including the topic of linear perspective - and Titian's "The Ascension of the Virgin" today with full blessings and autonomy. My 5th grade classes discussed Catholic popes, Jesus apostles and the various interpretations of the Mona Lisa on display at the Louvre. I took four Art History courses in college that covered much of what my 5th grade students are learning today. I have a King James bible sitting prominently on my desk, a Star of David a student drew me in addition to study guides on the human sacrificial religious practices of the Aztecs. I'll be directing a 5th grade production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (after ruling out Macbeth) this spring.

Freedom. Oh, freedom!

Live from Utopia

Wiley Coyote said...

The entire BOE must have been completely plastered when they came up with this ridiculous agenda.

~2) Raise teacher pay to national average....Won't do one for achievement in the classroom. Nada.

~3) Get the authority to have complete control over local funds.... The BOE and educrats can't manage CMS and the funds they have now. Why in God's name would any legislative body or taxpayers support this?

~8) Fully fund pre-K programs. CMS says it currently gets money for 20,000 students, but says another 40,000 could potentially be eligible.... Again, More at Four and Bright Beginnings are a complete waste of tax dollars. Be merciful and kill these programs off quickly.


Chipper said...

School should start after Labor day and end by Memorial day, let the CMS geniuses figure that out.

Anonymous said...

State and/or local priorities should also include not starting any school before 8:00am. This is becoming not only an academic performance issue but a health issue for our students.

Anonymous said...

Alicia, just rub it in!

Anonymous said...


Like they do in the Northeast? In Damn Yankee-land?


Anonymous said...


Do help me understand your issues with CPCC.


Andrew Dunn said...

I don't think that would fall under legislative priorities. They're still working on that.

Wiley Coyote said...


My problem with CPCC is CMS.

If CMS was doing its job, CPCC wouldn't need all that money on top of CMS to fix their problems.

Tax Dollars are tax dollars and waste is waste, whether you spell it CMS or CPCC.

Anonymous said...

helunvin hisWiley,

My father (a retired public school superintendent) holds a PhD from Columbia University and a law degree from UConn. My brother holds a B.A. in physics from Yale and a law degree from UConn. One of my children currently attends CPCC in a program that prepares students to transfer an associate's degree to any four-year NC state university. This past Sunday, my son informed me that he made "a good decision" choosing CPCC over the 4-year colleges he was accepted into.

The Road Less Traveled.

My mother, who never had the opportunity to attend college, enrolled at our local community college in her late 40's. After earning an associate's degree, my mother went on to earn a B.A. from UConn with honors.

My comments on the topic of community college are directed at you too, Shamash.


Anonymous said...

if CMS wants to improve student performance they need to follow the same model as KIPP, specifically with low performing poor schools. Longer schools days and shorter summer breaks. Poor children do not benefit from good parenting and thus they suffer academically in the home. If CMS needs to change the name of every one of their schools to include the word "charter", then so be it.

I do agree the grading method is a bad concept and gives parents the wrong impression.

Wiley Coyote said...


I have zero problem with CPCC by itself and the product they produce.

Again, my problem is CMS being joined at the hip with them everytime tax monies come up because there are people who WANT TO SEE CPCC get extra funding. Then there are those like me that don't want them to get one red cent to fix CMS' problems.

John said...

Anonymous 9:14, while I often get tired myself of Northerner complaining about how things are done down here, in the area of education the reality is that they often have a point. I've had friends who moved down from PA and they complained at how bored their kids were in school here. I've also had friends who moved the other way and had to hire tutors for their kids to catch up. It's a fact, the sooner you and CMS accept that fact, the sooner solutions can be found. But, those solutions are going to require a heck of a lot more than money and time.

Shamash said...


I know people can go to community college and do better, just as they can go to a bad public school and eventually do well.

But a lot won't.

And if a kid doesn't show they have what it takes for a shot at an education from an expensive school, then community college is a great place to start whether they succeed or fail.

But, you have to realize that you are going to classes with a lot more people who probably shouldn't be (and won't remain in) college at a community college.

I have many relatives who basically did a short term stints in community colleges and never completed anything.

I suspect this is probably closer to the norm.

But they sure saved some bucks while doing next to nothing.

And they are definitely a better alternative than those expensive "private" diploma mills such as, well, we've all seen the TV ads.

Anonymous said...

Wiley, North Carolina is 51st in per pupil spending and 48th in teacher pay but you still come on here advocating less money. I wonder, did your parents advocate for less money when you were in school? Stop being a curmudgeon and talk about a solution that doesn't include you saving 10 tax dollars a year.

Wiley Coyote said...


And CMS attained the highest graduation rates ever over the past year and with less money.

Also, this cohort was in the group when schools were closed during the budget crunch.

Try this:

...President Obama loves to tout the success of a multi-billion-dollar early education program that supposedly helps reduce poverty, yet a government study reveals that it really doesn’t work.

Obama keeps pushing the federally-funded universal preschool program known as Head Start even though his own Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has determined that it’s ineffective. Remember how he cited “study after study” showing that the government’s investment in universal preschool pays for itself during the State of Union earlier this month?

It turns out that one of those studies, published last fall by his own HHS, reveals that Head Start isn’t working despite its whopping $8 billion a year price tag. In fact, children who participated in Head Start did worse in math and had problems with social interactions by third grade than those who didn’t go through the federal program.

We've had ZERO data from Bright Beginnings since 2000, the $20 million dollar per year black hole. That $20 million could go a long way towards other programs or reducing class sizes.

We've spent trillions on the War on Poverty since the 60's yet the rate still stays about the same.

Public education is no different. Trillions spent, very little to show for it 40+ years later.

Only within the past year or so has the US equaled the 1969/70 graduation rate, which was at 79%.

By the way. When I went to school, my parents were advocating for desegration without busing to achieve it and threatening to sue Richland School District One because they refused to allow me to take classes I had signed up for in junior high, that the previous all Black high school I was forced to go to didn't have.

They also advocated for good teachers and got one fired for not doing his job by not showing up half the time.

There is so much BS waste in public education it's pathetic and CMS is very good at it.

Anonymous said...

asking teachers - What percentage of students at any given school are the high flyers, the high academic achievers? 10%, 20%, 25%??

Anonymous said...

Andrew, do a story about the CMS recovery program.

Rate is up. Yes, but it was in washoe county - heath's last district - and that was simply due to a change in accounting practice and finding out where kids went after the left the district.

CMS is fooling people.

Anonymous said...

Said that Wiley does not support teacher pay increase. Teachers are professionals and deserve a living wage. Teachers in an area like S. Charlotte may not have to get as involved as teachers in other areas where parents aren't as involved. I hope Anyone who has a cold heart against any child, regardless of their economic background rots in Hell.

Wiley Coyote said...


Obviously you don't read this blog because if you did, you would know the facts of my positions.

The FACT is, I have stated repeatedly teachers deserve to get back what they lost under Perdue, today and then some.

What I oppose is a local sales tax to do it. The state should be funding the increases.

I also have no "cold heart" against any child, but at some point, the facts speak for themselves and when you have a middle schooler suspended 13 TIMES in one year because he "is angry", it's time to cut the cord.

Until parents and taxpayers stand up to the same status quo BS that has plagued public education for years, nothing will change. In fact, continuing to do the same old stuff is worse than making real changes.

Perhaps those who allow the same enabling, status quo policies to go on year after year after year in your words "should rot in hell"?

Anonymous said...


Thank goodness that CMS has seen that the current calendar doesn't work for students or teachers. High school students should take finals before the winter break. It is madness to send students home for a two week break, only to return for less than a week and then start testing.The NC legislature had no business dictating school calendars and should be wise enough to return that flexibility to the school systems.

Any elected official who casts a vote that in anyway effects public education should be required to volunteer a minimum of 80 hours each year in a public school in their district.Part of that time should be spent in the lowest performing schools. You can't judge and support what you don't know.

So many people are truly ignorant about schools and education. Most complaints about schools generate from LEGAL decisions about education. Do you really think teachers want to plan their schedule around religious holidays? They don't. Do you think that teachers and administrators would like to have more latitude in disciplining students? Of course they would. Individual parents and the courts are what cause the majority of problems in schools, not teachers and administrators.

And if you want to know why it costs so much to educate children, do a little research. A typically behaved student in a mainstream classroom is not draining the budget. Public schools are burdened with educating those who cannot be educated at a typical level. Look into what it costs to keep a student at Metro or Lincoln Heights. The reason private and charter schools can do more with less is because they don't have to babysit the physically, emotionally, or mentally disabled. And, public schools are required to provide educational/psychological testing for all students, including those in private schools at no cost to the parent.

Sure, the price of public education is too high. But look at who and what is driving those costs before you make decisions that harm teachers and typical students most.

Anonymous said...

The higher ups in CMS need to stop worrying about perception and take care of the school environment. If a student does something in school that should result in a suspension then get them out! Instead we want to show that suspension rates are lower. Also interesting to see graduation rates go up. Maybe it is a result of lowering the amount of credits needed to graduate from 28 to 24.

Once we are willing to enforce rules, establish a safe learning environment and put students on a rigorous path to graduate then we should increase funding.

Sadly this is not within a teachers control. The "big wigs" who get a 6 figure income control these issues.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:35...How is providing testing to private school students a drain on CMS? Those families pay the same taxes that public school families pay. And then they are paying private school tuition on top of that. So CMS is getting a bargain if all they have to do is provide some testing.

Anonymous said...

Teachers should be paid more.. CMS should be broken up into smaller districts. Yankees schools are better.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:05, consider this. An EC teachers is required to test a child from outside her school. If that student is tested during school hours either the teacher loses her planning time or her classroom students lose time with their teacher. If the testing must take place outside of school hours, then the teacher is working on her own time. While neither scenario costs taxpayers extra money, both are a drain on resources. Schools are staffed to serve their student populations not the general public.

Anonymous said...

8:40 AM

I LOVE your question!

Tomorrow, I'm starting a 5th grade "Math Star Challenge" group at my charter school which has an EC staff but does not have an academically gifted program. My goals include giving more advanced math students the opportunity to develop higher-order reasoning skills and solve higher-order mathematical problems above and beyond grade level curriculum.

My original plan was to select a grand total of 4-5 students (out of 34 students between two classes) with standardized test scores above 95% that correlate with work they are doing in class.

In the end, I decided to chose 11 students out of 34 based on standardized test scores, in-class work and passion for the subject. I actually didn't chose a couple of students with higher grades than others who bust their butts for an extra 2 points that require hours of extra time and tutoring. I chose kids who pick up material quickly and can become easily bored.

What does "gifted" mean? You decide.


Shamash said...

"The reason private and charter schools can do more with less is because they don't have to babysit the physically, emotionally, or mentally disabled."

My question has always been WHY the regular public schools have to do this.

Bring back reform schools and a lot of these problems will go away.

As for the otherwise "challenged", we've decided it's better to "mainstream" them where, in many cases, they CANNOT get the full attention they probably need and deserve.

Mainly because they find it hard to properly distribute all the skilled professionals across a large school system.

Well, duh. There IS a simple solution for that.

For some odd reason, the powers that be have decided this is better, though.

Not quite sure they figured out whether it helps everyone, though, since they usually don't study that angle.

It probably has something to do with all the liberal BS about how the "poor" are helped by being around the "rich" (as the middle class is now known).

Of course, no one has really studied how much the "middle class" is helped by this, if at all.

In my case, reading dumbed down history tests to illiterate basketball players didn't really help me much.

But that is purely anecdotal evidence based on my personal experience with the great experiment.

Only the truly "rich" aren't falling for this crap.

Like Elvis, they've already left the building.

Anonymous said...


As Anon 7:03 states, the high school students in our community are being "educated" in an environment where the rules are being selectively enforced, at best.

How can we as adults expect the "high school students" to behave and be respectful as adults in the community when the adults in charge of our "public education" in CMS don't hold these students accountable for their actions. If not in high school, when will these students learn that rules need to be followed in order to be a productive member of society????

This is not unique to South Meck high school, but is present CMS-wide.....

Anonymous said...

Time to put your big boy pants on and be a reporter..

Anonymous said...

How about CMS start the school day later for the high school students. That might be a good place to start.

Shamash said...

" If not in high school, when will these students learn that rules need to be followed in order to be a productive member of society????"

Short answer is they probably won't. And they'll end up in jail in the real world (as some of us predict).

Yeah, they used to call that "civics", or civil behavior and it was one function of school to teach it.

You supposedly learned citizen's rights AND duties in school at one time.

Now we teach kids their "civil rights", but not "civil behavior".

I've seen how HS delinquent behavior spills over into the adult world (as most of us probably have).

It's sad that our schools have become training grounds for criminals, but, sadly, they have.

School is probably the FIRST PLACE (next to home, of course)where many future criminals learn that they can skirt the rules and get away with things.

Unfortunately, many kids can do things in school (fights, steal, bully, etc.) which would get them thrown in jail or sued (or both) as adults.

And the schools provide ready-made, official "excuses" for most of it. And even hire "specialists" to treat the "problem".

A bit self-serving, isn't it?

Funny how most places of business DO NOT have teams of counselors and behavior specialists to control the employees.

I wonder why?

Maybe it's because we possibly have a functioning legal system OUTSIDE school.

The great thing about being an adult is that you CAN do something about other people's bad behavior. And that comes to quite a shock to some.

I know I've seen to it that the people who continue to act like juvenile delinquents as adults face the consequences whenever I can.

I just wish someone would do the same for the poor kids who are stuck in the schools and don't know how to do this themselves.

Anonymous said...

Although my kids will all be out of public schools by this time next year, as the parent of a high school senior with another child who is in her second year of college, I really hope CMS is able to be able yo start earlier. I hate that my kids have always had tons of work yo complete over the holidays and then come back to 2 weeks of class and then exams. Last year there were several days that were either shortened or missed due to weather in early January which made the situation worse. The semester should end before the winter break. And for those of you blaming CMS, it was the NCGA letting the TOURISM industry dictate the school schedule because that's how they roll.

Anonymous said...

Anon October 29 12:35 PM: yeah, those 250 disabled kids at Metro School are a real drain on the 145,363 enrollment in CMS - they represent a whopping two tenths of one percent. The "burden" of "babysitting" indeed! Let's just hide these kids away in state institutions, just like the good ol' days, right? Of course this also lands squarely on the taxpayers' dime. I sure hope you don't work for the CMS EC department.