Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More help on way for high-poverty classrooms

The Leon Levine Foundation, which has committed $10 million toward the $55 million Project LIFT effort to help schools on Charlotte's west side, is putting even more money into those struggling classrooms. The foundation is joining forces with, a website that helps teachers find donors for class projects, to offer $100,000 in matching grants for projects benefitting 11,000 students in more than 400 high-poverty classrooms in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. For each project, the foundation will cover half the cost, and others are asked to supply the rest. To donate, go to the site, then click on "View Projects." Look for "Match Offers" on the right side of the screen. Then click on "Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools."


Anonymous said...


wiley coyote said...

CMS has greatly erred in allowing this $55 million to be spread only among 7 schools.

If it's legal, it shouldn't be.

As I posted on another thread, the silence from education reporters, Kojo and the NAACP is deafening.

West Meck's graduation rate is only 7 points higher that West Charlotte and if Waddell was still going to be a high school, their graduation rate was 52 as compared to West Charlotte at 51.

Charlotte Observer
Posted: Monday, Jul. 19, 2010

CMS District 70
Olympic Int'l Studies 69
Hawthorne 66
Vance 64
Garinger Public 62
West Mecklenburg 58
Waddell 52
West Charlotte 51

Where's the outrage? It was there when 10 schools were being closed and voices protested the disparity of low performing, high poverty schools closed v. schools in the suburbs.

Why is there no outrage over the other low performing, high poverty schools not getting a dime of that $55 million?

Anonymous said...

Where's Ann? Is this another furlough week Eric?

Wiley, you, of all people, know the answer to this pot of steam. Look at the list of characters. Does this resemble the usual suspects in a party of no concern? Are their needs any less? This is the CMS equivalent of Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine while denying anything and everything. You are correct, it's not tinnitus, or even spin; the sounds of silence toll for thee.

wiley coyote said...

Anon 9:56...

I know, but some of us have to answer to the status quo.

Here's another way to look at this:

Take a look at Myers Park statistics:

Students 2956
Asian 7%
Black 24%
Hispanic 9%
White 57%
Poor 30%

30% of the students or 887 of them are poor. These kids go to Myers Park based on attendance lines drawn by CMS.

Are they not just as poor as those who go to West Charlotte?

Are they not just as deserving with help as their peers at West Charlotte?

Look at Waddell. The percentage of students at Waddell is exactly the same as West Charlotte. What about them? These students will be dispersed to other schools next year and Waddell was only 1 point above graduation rates than West Charlotte.

If the goal is to target kids who may not graduate and give them a better chance of doing it, it is unfair to single out 1600 students to help at one school and ignore others.

Anonymous said...

Wiley, I agree, I agree, I agree. However, WC has a large alumni base and political connections and basically the same clientel as 50 years ago. Do you honestly think alumni from the other schools would even consider creating this kind of endowment for the current embodiment of their former schools? It's a lost cause as is the first post in this blog. Put it this way, have you ever seen Vilma, Pete or Mayor Foxx at the West Meck Barbeque? It's not exactly what it was thirty years ago. Is that stadium renovation complete yet? How many principals have passed through West Meck on their way somewhere else in the last ten years? How many highly qualified assistant principals at West Meck have been passed over or thrown under the bus or put on Action plans? Remember that fairness and ethics are not part of the equation. It's 2081 and we all are finally equal. Thanks for your efforts.

Eric Frazier said...

Anon 9:56 -- Ann is indeed here this week, but she's working on a big-picture story for this weekend. Should be good, so stay tuned!! As for the fairness of choosing West Charlotte and its feeder schools, that's something the Project LIFT folks would have to answer for themselves. Their main explanation is that West Charlotte has the lowest graduation rate. But I suspect part of it deals with simple efficiency's sake -- it's easier to target one geographic area and one set of kids than it is to tackle high-poverty kids across a sprawling county. That said, the points raised here are good ones. The question of what happens with high-poverty students is definitely one we'll have to keep a close eye on as these extra supports for them are whittled down by budget cuts.

the_rest_of_the_story said...

Eric additionally, I think the point missed some are trying to make is that there are significant numbbers of high poverty schools in almost all the schools. If you dig into some of the school performance reports, you will see that those students are performing much like WC and WM students. The thinking of forced businig is therefore disproved. Just becuase they go to schools with high performing kids does not mean they become high performing. The true mindset of the pro busing folks to just to spread the misery around.

Pamela Grundy said...

If you look at middle school performance numbers, you see a very clear trend: low-income students perform better at lower-poverty schools. 50 percent of low-income students at middle schools with more than 70 percent poverty scored on grade level in 2009. 62 percent of low-income students at middle schools with less than 70 percent poverty scored on grade level. Low-income proficiency rates were above 60 percent at only one of the 12 schools above 70 percent poverty; they were above 70 percent at 7 of the 18 schools below 70 percent poverty.

Anonymous said...

Data also indicates higher-income students perform worse at low-income schools. So, why would I send my children to a low-income school after reading "The Gatekeepers" which makes it clear children who are white and have parents with college degrees are held to a higher standard in the college admissions office? (at least at the elite college level which includes Wesleyan University and your alma-mater, Yale).

I think we were in close proximity to each other in CT, where Wesleyan University is located, in 1981. I spent one summer in high school at the "Center for Creative Youth" at Wesleyan University and later worked at Wesleyan as a resident advisor for the same program while attending college.

This being said, I'm not stupid enough to argue with you about anything related to statistics since I know I'll be pulverized and creamed. Just help me out here.

Run for school board. I'll vote for you.


Ann Doss Helms said...

Yes indeed, I'm alive, well and not furloughed yet, though I did take a couple of days off. Working on a blog item now and a weekend story on another favorite blog topic, Bright Beginnings research.

Anonymous said...

Ann you might as well give BB a rest. To make $100 million dollar cut, CMS will not even be able to have the state standard student size in all the classrooms. To keep BB, some schools will have 60+ to most of the Non achievement zone classrooms and it will not be tolerated by the public. Especially since all this other money is allowed to be targeted to some schools and not permitted to be done to other schools. I can see it getting real ugly. All this hoopla is driving a wedge between classes/races here.

wiley coyote said...

So Pam, when you run for school board is your platform going to include busing?

How else are you going to mix it up?

Just curious....

And also, why are you not outraged your school and others aren't getting a dime of that %55 million?

What happens to all of those Waddell students who have the same poverty numbers as WC and granduation rates only one point above them as well?

Shamrock Gardens

Students 338
Asian 5%
Black 57%
Hispanic 23%
White 6%
Poor 89%

Links to your data please...

Pamela Grundy said...


We could certainly use the money. But in the big picture, $55 million is not all that much, and if it's spread across the whole district it won't do anyone any good. I'd rather see it concentrated, so some kids will see real benefits, even if they aren't ours.

I did the middle school analysis from the very helpful data on the Observer education site. It did involve a certain amount of calculation If you turn on your data analysis skills and find something different, please share it.

wiley coyote said...

$55 million isn't that much?..LOL

Ok then. Since on your scale $55 mil isn't much, then Bright Beginnings isn't worth losing sleep over a piddly $11 million.

If selectve spending is your mantra, cut Bright Beginnings and let's move on....

Anonymous said...

Pamela and Wiley,

Have at it on the statistics/data battlefront. Reliable data DOES matter.

However, what also matters to parents and children has nothing to do with data but has everything to do with human emotions. You can't compartmentalize/separate the two and expect the outcome you want.

Reconcile the data and the emotional components related to education and maybe we can begin an effective (make me puke word at this point) conversation.

Anonymous said...

O.K. Wiley,

I'll vote for you too. Not that it would make you FEEL any better.

Pamela Grundy said...


I so appreciate your support on the school board front. It means a lot. However, it looks like I'm going to be spending the fall in Shanghai, so that would make campaigning a little challenging.

Regarding test scores, when it gets to the top colleges, I don't think they matter all that much. Everyone has good test scores. What they're looking for are smart and interesting kids who don't fit the cookie-cutter mold. I think a kid who had prospered in and learned from high-poverty schools would definitely stand out.

wiley coyote said...

What everyone seems to forget is that any data I use or anyone else uses dissimenated by CMS related to income, poverty, etc, is totally bogus.

You simply cannot say a certain school is this percent "poor" when the data you're using is based on fraudulent FRL numbers.

So in the end, whatever data you wind up looking at is what it is and up to the beholder to decide for themselves as to whether they think it's worth the paper it's written on.

wiley coyote said...

By the way, Pam?

That $55 million you said wouldn't do much spread out across CMS translates into this equation:

$55,000,000/$50,000 = 1,100 teachers.

Since Gorman is about to can around 600 of them, I would say that keeping 600 teachers in the classroom throughout the district would benefit just about every student by not increasing class sizes.

Pamela Grundy said...

Not actually reading the news coverage again I see.

Anonymous said...

Wow, fall in Shanghai. Will you continue to blog "Every Parent Left Behind" here in Charlotte? (EPLB's)

I agree colleges still look for many of the same qualities in students they did when we attended college in the early-mid 1980's. According to "The Gatekeepers", colleges still want students who "would add" - creating campus populations that are not only racially, socioeconomically and geographically diverse but also include students with diverse interests & talents(things like being an expert at hand bells) and diversity of thought.

However, after reading this book written by a NY Times education reporter who was given unprecedented access into the admissions office at a prestigious university, and having also endured my oldest child applying to college this year (Survivor: The College Admissions Process!), things have also changed over the years. For example, every college my son applied to not only wanted to know his race but also wanted to know how many degrees my husband and I have including exactly which colleges we attended and what are job titles are. Every college also wants to know if a student grew up in a dual parent home, a single parent home or a divorced home. One college even wanted to know how many hours a week my husband and I work! The bottom line, the book makes it crystal clear students who are white and have grown up in homes with two college educated parents are held to a higher standard in the admissions office. Students like my son are expected to have higher standardized test scores, G.P.A.'s and other things on their transcript than students who are assumed to have had less advantages and opportunities. The lengths Wesleyan Univ. goes to just to convince two Native-American students living on a reservation out west to APPLY to their school is astounding while trying to recruit minority women in science.

The invention of the college guidebook ranking system by US News & World Report, Barrons, and the Princeton Review also comes into strong play.

So again, why would an educated American white family armed with this information go out of there way to attend a low-income school? I'm not saying this isn't a desirable or admirable goal but it sure doesn't seem to warrant a "would add" ranking in any college admissions office. The only good news is there are still some really great colleges that give out dance scholarships! In addition, some colleges, including Wake Forest, now make the SAT/ACT optional.

On a humorous note; "Having been knocked off his heals by Brown's letter, a frightened Jordan had concluded that Wesleyan, Vassar and Hopkins could no longer be counted on as his safety schools. If Brown didn't see him as worth committing to early, what were his prospects at Amherst? Jordan decided to expand his list to include NYU, Boston and George Washington in the nation's capital. These were colleges where an aspiring writer could thrive, according to the guidebooks, but where the bar of admission was unmistakably lower".

So much for my "unmistakably lower" merit based full tuition scholarship plus stipend at George Washington University in fine arts. It's called staying humble.

Best Wishes,

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the wonderful PC world of college admissions. Been there, done that. Top colleges are no longer looking for well rounded--the quirkier, the more troubled or different the life, the better (lopsided students, as one counselor described it). And of course, they would prefer you not be white and male. The year my son was applying to MIT (with all the credentials needed to be admitted and then some) the admitted freshman class contained only 15% white males (doesn't quite match the demographics of the U.S., does it!). My son did not get in (wait listed) but they did send him a letter telling him that they were sure he "was a wonderful person."

I understand that for many years people of color were discriminated against in college admissions. But taking on a new form of discrimination certainly does not seem like a cure to me. I also think this country could use a little more emphasis on well rounded kids, no matter what their race or gender. Too many are caught up in the rat race of doing something "unique" in order to punch up their resumes.

Anonymous said...

And we can't figure out why our generation has turned into a bunch of crazed helicopter parents.