Monday, March 28, 2011

Saving sports, paying executives, catching up

A few items as I catch up after a week off:

*The folks trying to raise private donations to save middle school sports in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will hold their first public meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, at Christ Lutheran Church, 4519 Providence Road. Another meeting in the northern part of the county is expected soon.

*Kay McSpadden, a teacher who writes opinion pieces for the Observer's editorial page, will be guest speaker at an Action for Education meeting at the East Meck media center, 6800 Monroe Road, from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, April 5. This is the group of teachers and parents who are concerned about performance pay and the use of standardized testing to rate teachers. Read McSpadden's take on the issue here.

*I was interested to note that CMS hired a new human resources director, Daniel Habrat from Wells Fargo/Wachovia, at $160,000 a year. That's up 12.5 percent from the $140,000 Maurice Ambler was making before he left last summer. Kit Rea, promoted last week to Southwest area superintendent, is making virtually the same as her predecessor at $134,659. We'll be doing our annual payroll roundup soon; that will provide a better look at how executive salaries and positions stack up (it won't reflect job cuts that may happen in 2011-12).

*As noted recently, CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman's name has been floating as people speculate about Mayor Rahm Emanuel's possible picks for CEO of Chicago Public Schools (Gorman says he's not interested in leaving). Another site, Catalyst Chicago, has posted him as a top contender. The report notes that CMS is much smaller than Chicago Public Schools, but adds that "Gorman is no stranger to controversial decisions, such as closing schools and laying off teachers -- two things he would most likely have to do here."

*Columbia Journalism Review has a fascinating cover article on the challenges of covering teacher-effectiveness ratings and the national trends behind the push to use a more businesslike model for teacher pay. It's great context for big issues swirling in Charlotte (but not a quick read).

*Eric Smith, who was CMS superintendent from 1996 to 2002, has announced his resignation as Florida's education commissioner, saying he wants to let newly elected Gov. Rick Scott pick his own education leader.

*And finally, reporter Steve Lyttle shares the word that CMS is taking a different approach to Friday's teacher work day. Administrative offices will work 10-hour days today through Thursday and close Friday. Hmm ... if nothing else, that eliminates any confusion that might come from memos and edicts issued on April Fools Day.


Anonymous said...

I'd give anything to meet Kay McSpadden. Unfortunately, I can't make the scheduled meeting she will be speaking at.

I loved her last column. I took one Shakespeare course in college while on a foreign exchange program in London. I struggled to understand half of it but I did see a number of Shakespearian plays that I also struggled to interpret but eventually got better at. Cool rake theatre stages in London. I vaguely remember Chaucer from high school which, at the time, I thought was the most dreadful literature on the face of the planet.

Does Kay offer an "Incomplete English Literature Education" summer course for parents? Heck, I'd pay to just come and sit in on her regular high school classes.

Ann Doss Helms said...

If you click the link to her column, there's an email address so you could ask about other opportunities to meet her. She could definitely fill a literature for grown-ups class!

And thanks for spelling her first name right. You made me realize I'd added an e, ala Kaye McGarry (I corrected it).

Anonymous said...

With all of the reading that I do on the CO's website, I don't think that I have ever read that TFA receive 10K bonuses.

Well guess what? The state's house has voted to get rid of those bonuses. Myrick voted against the bonuses.

Sure wish that I had read it here first, but instead I had to read it on channel 9's website.

Finally, a step in the right more TFAs.

Anonymous said...

Incredible....The amount of pay we can pay out, but we must cut teachers and teacher assistants, the people that actually do the work. Dr. Gorman and his admin needs to leave Charlotte on the frst bus to Chicago

Ann Doss Helms said...

I had never heard about the TFA bonuses. Sounds like it's federal money that doesn't come out of the CMS budget, but still interesting. I'll see what I can find out. I clicked the "read the bill" link but it's 384 pages -- no wonder people get confused about what the feds are doing!

Anonymous said...

Since Pete doesn't want Chicago, maybe the entire state of Florida would be a suitable venue. Mr. Smith's position would be perfect to go union sniping for the new governor. Somehow I think the Tea Party wouldn't buy his smoke and mirrors and April Fool's day schemes as "professionalism."

Anonymous said...

Ann (or Anne),
I'll be darned. I've been accused of a few things in my life but never of spelling anything correctly. Thanks for a great laugh!

My mother, who never had the opportunity to attend college but worked as a secretary, returned just about every love letter my father ever sent her while they were dating with spelling and grammatical corrections while he was a student at Columbia University. They've been married 53 years. My mother finally enrolled in college in her late 40's and earned a B.A. at UConn.

UCONN!, UCONN!, UCAN! Go Huskies!

I'm afraid Kay (or Kaye) might need to place me in a remedial spelling class before having the patience to work with me - despite the technological marvels of spell check.

Thanks for the contact info. for Kay McSpadden. Again, I'd pay, volunteer, make CMS standardized test copies for band, answer phones or even bake fundraising cookies (I hate to bake) to have the honor of taking a class taught by her.

It's cool I read "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" on my required high school reading list in the late 1970's but missing out on so many American classics is simply not a complete education unless pot brownies and flying bats "Count Dracula" for something. I had to read "Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance" in college.

I want to read, comprehend, answer questions, write essays and contribute to class discussions on the books Kay has her high school students studying. If she can work with the last group of kids she wrote about than maybe this middle-aged mom isn't completely hopeless to the challenges and joys of great American and English Literature.

Anonymous said...

See? "motorcycle". Lord help me, I can't spell motorcycle - despite Zen.