Monday, September 27, 2010

School board ethics

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board is preparing to vote on a code of ethics for members.

I know, I know. For board bashers, this sounds like the setup for a punch line.

It's something the board has been working toward for years. Several efforts bogged down, but after five new members took office in December, this crew got serious about hashing out guidelines. Plus, state law requires boards to pass an ethics code by year's end.

This code calls for good attendance, full public discussion of issues, independent judgment and no interference with the superintendent's management. It also adds some training requirements, on ethics and general governance.

Tom Tate, who chairs the board's policy committee, says the items are designed to be individual commitments. Unlike most policies, they're written in the first person, as in "I will render all decisions based on available facts and my independent judgment, and I will not surrender that judgment to individuals or special interest groups." There are no penalties for anyone who falls short.
It's never been easy to settle disputes between members over the right way to do the job. The most creative effort: Former board Chair Arthur Griffin once threatened to hand out a "porcupine award" to colleagues he perceived as unduly prickly (to my disappointment, the award never materialized).

There's a public hearing but no vote on the ethics code at Tuesday's regular meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. in the meeting chamber of the Government Center. Also up for hearings: A proposed policy on drug dogs in schools, and one on who can send material home via schools. Check the agenda here.


Mike said...

"..and no interference with the superintendent's management.."

That is pretty funny to us who watched Arthur and Vilma and George have their time with the superintendents by stirring up something at a school to get it changed to the way they wanted it rather than the way the superintendent had it laided out. However if any of the "other" side wanted something changed and wanted it put on the agenda so it became a proper policy vote, the item was kept off the agenda.

wiley coyote said...

From Tara Servatius on 12.28.2005 in Creative Loafing:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board member Kaye McGarry is so afraid of fellow school board member George Dunlap that she says she wants a security guard stationed in the room during closed session meetings.

To some people, that seems a bit extreme, but to former school board member Lyndalyn Kakadelis, it makes sense. Kakadelis says she, too, feared Dunlap when she was a member of the school board. After a particularly heated, racially oriented debate over the school desegregation lawsuit in 1997, Dunlap came after her and had to be restrained, she says.

Our school board, along with our superintendent, need to get a clue and eliminate the constant, worn out excuses as to why Johnny can't read.

...again, for the umpteenth time...we've been dealing with the same lame excuses for 40 years.

Anonymous said...

Now really Mike and Wiley, y'all must miss the crew. Who is talking about Vilma and George and them?

Stop living in the past. What is the future like for our kids? Do you have anything to say about Kaye not standing up to Gorman?

Code of ethics huh? "independent judgment and no interference with the superintendent's management" I surely wouldn't vote for that crap.


Anonymous said...

Prime example of the rhetorical strategy...OXYMORON...a code of "ethics" for the BOE...bwaahahaha

Thanks for the classroom fodder!

Anonymous said...

So, Kaye is afraid of Dunlap. Now she knows how some of us feel on a daily basis in our schools when we know we won't get any support from administration and where Board policies have created so many loop-holes it is pathetic. We'd like to have some more security guards too. Have YOU ever been in the middle of a gang riot? Have YOU ever been assaulted by a student and had nothing done about it? And they wonder why we don't want to be forced to go to schools where we don't want to be. I've been assaulted once already and I refuse to be put in that situation again...I will "seek life elsewhere" before I am forced to go to a school full of George Dunlaps (and no, I am not making a racial reference--it is a metaphorical reference that fits whomever would be a menacing persona). I love teaching, but the CMS BOE and the people down on MLK have totally lost their way.

Anonymous said...

Clearly some of ya have old timers and have forgotten that Dunlap is no longer on the BOE.

Speak about the current BOE. That new gal from district one ain't doing much. What's her name? Lennon?

Anonymous said...

Ethics is not an issue when intelligence and intestinal fortitude are nowhere to be found.

wiley coyote said...

Ann said...

It's something the board has been working toward for years. Several efforts bogged down, but after five new members took office in December, this crew got serious about hashing out guidelines. Plus, state law requires boards to pass an ethics code by year's end.

"Something they have been working towards for years", which is why I posted a little history of fact related to this very issue.

Anonymous said:

Stop living in the past. What is the future like for our kids? Do you have anything to say about Kaye not standing up to Gorman?

I guess your capacity to understand an example is lacking.

I'm not living in the past. It's all to real to have two of the most pathetic BOCC members (Leake & Dunlap) actually having a vote on funding - any funding, something they didn't have while on the school board.

Our kids future? It doesn't look any beter than it has in the past 40 years, as nothing has changed in public education over that time.


Mike said...

Anon, this is just indicative of the CO and other race baiters in this community. They gave George a free ride. Remember he also had a harassment charge against him as a police officer. Any opposition is squelched as racist if anyone questions any dollar spent on black people here. It is like they get a blank check and society has no right to question why it gets no value for the hard earned money of some taxpayers only to be "redistributed" to this group of people.

wiley coyote said...

Nothing has changed in 40 years with public education....

Obama: Struggling D.C. Schools Don’t Meet Standards for First Daughters.....

With Washington D.C. schools at a crossroads, President Obama said Monday he doesn’t think his privately-educated daughters could get the same level of education in the public system.

“I’ll be blunt with you,” the president replied. “The answer is no right now.” He went on to say that despite making great strides over the past several years, “The D.C. public school systems are struggling.”

Ethics? How about people with the guts to tackle the real issues and not the politically correct ones.

I rest my case.

Anonymous said...


The late lovelorn columnist Ann Landers handed-out "40 lashes with a wet noodle", self-administered, as the punishment of choice for those who offend.

"Forty lashes with a wet noodle." She would say this if she believed someone had done something mean, dishonest or just stupid. Ann Landers did not protect herself from such criticism. She often published letters from readers who argued against advice she had given. When she agreed with their criticism, she sometimes ordered the forty lashes for herself!

"Wake up and smell the coffee", she would use this comment when advice seekers seemed to be denying situations that made them unhappy or uncomfortable.

So someone bring a bowl of wet noodles and hot coffee to the school board meetings. They're going to need it.

--40 lashes for me. I "borrowed" most of this copy from "People in America program on the Voice of America" via the Internet--

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

"Something they have been working towards for years"

Now let's see if I have this correct. This code of ethics for BOE members,which includes much about nothing, somehow prompted you to take a trip down memory lane and you ended up pining for a debate about George Dunlap.

I understand...whatever floats your boat.

We have a different board now and they are not doing too much in the arena of making sure the climate is right to educate students across this city. That has nothing to do with George or Vilma....

It appears as if your capacity to understand the present dynamics of this school board is like my lack of capacity to understand an example.

Many of us are frustrated with the BOE and Petey. All of us have a vote. Which board member is up for re-election and when?

wiley coyote said...


This board is no different than any board we've had over the past few decades.

Regarding George Dunlap, you're the one who seems to be hung up on him. All I did was use him - again, as nothing more than ONE example of why the attempt at an ethics policy for the board is a joke.

You can add numerous other examples including Dunlap, Leake, Gauvreau and others over the years.

CMS is still poorly managed today as it has ever been. In light of that fact, the board coming up with some sort of code of ethics is a joke and a waste of time when more pressing issues need to be addressed.

Anonymous said...

The whole thing is too darn big! If we had smaller districts with boards that could concentrate on concerns specific to their own particular districts--rather than having to attempt to deal with and support so many divergent and often conflicting issues as the board does now--I believe families would feel much more in control of their children's education. We then probably wouldn't have front page articles that tell parents "huge change" is coming for thousands of students--scary way to start the day! Of course, too many people would lose power if we ever went to smaller systems, so I doubt that will happen (and yes, I know that the legislature would have to approve a change in districting--what are the chances of that happening!).

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike, calm down, your anger bleeds through.

This is the only country whose system of slavery was based on race. I am so sorry that the settlers didn't crop their own tobacco and pick their own cotton. If they had have there would not be such a power struggle in America today.

Money spent here, money spent there, it's America's money or the lack there of...and it is America's children who are being under-educated.

We're losing our edge while Gorman goes here, hither and yonder touting his damaged philosophy about education.

Anonymous said...

Schools are political and that is the first problem in our education. There are too many agendas and not enough true concern about students. The school system utilizes millions of dollars and therefore should not be run like a government program, yet a business. That is where we lack. We have too large of a district with too many people trying to push there agenda (sounds like congress) and the kids lose in that situation. Implementing a program here, a program there, and more...well, that just creates a bunch of useless programs that aren't run correctly. We need a strong board to really stand up to the political leader we have running our school system, Gorman. He's just as much a politician as any, putting on a face to teachers, the community, and the board, but really he's there for himself. He's using this whole agenda to build his! I transformed a whole school system...well not before he destructed it! It's about to go down in flames and people need to see the big picture not placing agendas on race and inequality, if anything, this new plan is only going to make that worse. The first thing they should really implement is altering the structure of the central CMS (the leaders) and break it into smaller areas and leave it that way to be run by separate school boards at each area. Let them make decisions, not a few board members in charge of the whole CMS. Less is more! but in CMS we get less education for more money....we need less politics.....and we'll get more out of it...student performance.

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