Friday, September 23, 2011

CMS vs. Observer: Battle of brains

Forget about the Broad Prize. The real contest for academic bragging rights took place last night at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

That's where POST (Partners in Out-of-School Time) held its third annual "Are You Smarter Than a Middle Schooler?" competition to raise money for after-school and summer educational programs. Businesses and community groups form teams to test their skills on questions drawn from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' math, science, technology, language arts and social studies curriculum. The answers are revealed by real CMS middle schoolers on video, making the adults feel even dumber when they realize they've muffed an answer.

The Observer sends two teams, headed by editor Rick Thames and publisher Ann Caulkins. Last year, when I was out of town, Thames' team claimed victory. This year I was enlisted for the publisher's team.

The first familiar face I saw among the race cars was Cindy Moss, who's in charge of math and science for CMS. In addition to knowing the curriculum inside out, she's one of the smartest people I know. She was joined by Chief Academic Officer Ann Clark and performance pay guru Andy Baxter, who were with Moss on a team called BTCO. They gleefully explained this new acronym: Beat The Charlotte Observer.

Seems there had been a bit of trash-talking back and forth between Caulkins and Clark, who serve together on the POST board.

I wish I could relate a tale of victory for the Fourth Estate, but dang, those middle school questions are hard! By the second round, it was pretty clear that the best we could hope for was for BTCO not to win.

As it turns out, CMS did claim the victory, but in a much more satisfying way. The trophy went to Team McPIE, or McClintock Middle School Partners In Education. I've written about this school and its groundbreaking partnership with Christ Lutheran Church and other groups, and we couldn't have been defeated by a better crew.

So, hats off to McClintock teachers George Beyer, Zachary Chapman and Chris Hill and partners Jessica Beyer, Eric Pickersgill, Bruce Buckley and Kevin and Amy Daniels. Say what you will about the rest of us, but apparently middle school teachers actually are smarter than their students ... and their bosses.


Wiley Coyote said...

Ironic to have a fundraiser in a facility that cost $200 million dollars of wasted funds and will lose $1.28 MILLION this fiscal year, money that could have gone a long way towards those summer reading programs instead of supporting a dust collector.

Larry said...

I am not sure why but our stock is up two cents this morning. 1.37

So all I can say is good work Ann.

Oh and No Child Left Behind Is Going by the wayside according to Obama.

David said...

Please explain how CMS vs. CO could possibly involve brains?

Ghoul said...

Mybe some of the questions were asked by young, black makes. Ann and Rick pretend they don't exist and ignored the questions.

Wiley Coyote said...


Charlotte (Mecklenburg County) –

KAYE McGARRY, a Charlotte-

Mecklenburg Board of Education At-Large Member is scheduled to make an important announcement regarding her endorsements for candidates in the November, 2011, School Board elections. The media conference will be held on Wednesday, September 28th, at 11:00 a.m.

Who: Kaye McGarry

What: Media Conference

Date: September 28, 2011

Time: 11:0 AM

Place: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center
Lobby Atrium

600 East 4th Street

Charlotte, North Carolina

Ann Doss Helms said...

Thanks, Wiley! It's a strange media world these days; I have to read the comments on my blog to find out who's making press statements.

Wiley Coyote said...


I was taking a break from unloading another pallet of dynamite, anvils and road runner suet and thought I would pass it along.....

Road Runner said...

Beep! Beep!

Larry said...

Ann you know Hurley is now a Republican?

Ann Doss Helms said...

Thanks, Larry! Sure enough, that's what his registration says now. Just updated the story.

Anonymous said...

Keith Hurley is a Republican? He apparently wrote the following letter to the editor of the Obersver about a fellow member of the GOP.

"McCrory should butt out of the personal lives of other officials

Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, we appreciate your kind-hearted words for the current politicians who are sending their children to private schools. But Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon can send their children to any school they choose. That's a private matter.

It's easy for McCrory to throw stones since he never wanted to take any leadership with the schools and has no children. Maybe he should choose his battles more wisely.

Keith W. Hurley