Monday, November 28, 2011

Needed: Help for education advocates?

Newly-elected school board member Ericka Ellis-Stewart has been tweeting links to school advocacy guides she's coming across as she prepares for her new job.


Ellis-Stewart,  who has spent a good bit of time on the other side of the dais trying to sway board members' views , suggests it could be helpful for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to produce something similar to this  "Parents' Guide to School Board Advocacy"  created by the ACLU in Washington state.  She also tweeted this  "Education Advocacy Toolkit"  done by the League of United Latin American Citizens.

I forwarded the ACLU guide to Bill Anderson of MeckEd,  asking if he's seen anything like this geared toward North Carolina or Charlotte . "This is actually a very good idea and something we will certainly consider,"  said Anderson,  whose group is doing a presentation on advocacy for the Mecklenburg PTA Council tonight.

Meanwhile,  people who want a voice in the direction of CMS will have an opportunity at a series of public meetings next week to discuss the superintendent search.

At the moment,  there don't seem to be the kind of controversies that bring large crowds out to lobby the board on specific issues.  But a trio of community groups recently met to try to boost the voice of minority and low-income families in CMS decision-making.  And a coalition of families from various elementary and middle schools have been pushing the board to rethink the longer elementary school hours and later starting times rolled out this year.


Anonymous said...

When I first read that Erika was recommending something put out by the ACLU I thought to myself "Uh-oh, not a good sign". However after reading the Washington State ACLU's guide to parent advocacy I found it to contain very sound suggestions for approaching the board about parental concerns. Some of our local advocates, especially those who frequently address the board, should take note of one point in particular--"Remember to always be respectful".

Wiley Coyote said...

Define advocacy....

Since that seems to be the central theme of the ACLU guide, if parents decide they don't want gay history to be mandated in every classroom (as is now the law in California), isn't that advocacy?

Isn't that being vocal and active?

What if "advocay groups" decide they want a return to busing?

Does it boil down to who yells the loudest or has the most toys at the end of the day?

You get what you vote for and this is what you got.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...


Everything does not have a sinister intent. The goal encouraging parents and community stakeholders to get engaged with public education for the good of all students will have a positive impact on our school district. Your consistent negativity does nothing to positively impact children or our community.

Does the source of the guide matter when the information contained within is clearly beneficial and not geared towards any one issue? The goal is to encourage and educate parents on how to partner with elected bodies to make positive changes for children through active and constructive advocacy.

The definition of advocacy is as follows:

To speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly:

The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support

Anonymous said...

Actually Wiley, the ACLU guide does not recommend "yelling the loudest". And it contains a section emphasizing that school boards represent "everyone" in the community, not just a particular group of students. It recommends that advocates consider how their particular cause is going to effect the entire community. That's why I was surprised on reading it.

And Wiley, hush about the busing issue. Don't you know that a return to busing has never crossed any local advocate's mind since the court case was settled? So foolish to be concerned about that! (hah!)

Anonymous said...

Somebody tell Ann or whatever her face is that she needs a new pic. That one scares our two and three little girls year to death.

Bill said...


I feel for your daughters. Having to grow up in a household with such immature and cruel parents will be a challenge. We can only hope they are able to emotionally outgrow their parents.

Anonymous said...

Anon, 10:14: You are not a nice person.

Ann, I hope that kind of thing rolls right off of you by now. Some people really suck.

Anonymous said...

You miss the posters point.

Its not that Ann is so ugly that she would require facial recontruction like the "it" on the county commish Ms or Mr Roberts.

Its just that she has been on tv plenty of times and never looks as bad as that pic she refuses to change at this media outlet

Geesh you people need to get a life.

Be all you can be !!! That includes beautification or bad hair days or bad pics ....

wake up ... that was a compliment to Ann taken the wrong way and just says she needs a new pic

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a rationalization to me.

Like most folks, I was always taught that decent people don't put people down because of their appearance. Were you brought up in a barn?

By the way, I think Ann's picture looks decent. I'm not a big fan of all of her reporting, but the photo she has of herself wouldn't be something that I'd ever suggest changing.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Hey, I was just impressed that, if I deciphered that second sentence correctly, 10:14 has his/her preschoolers reading the Observer online! For better or worse, that picture looks like me. And as I've said before, if you're on the internet looking for pretty ladies, there are probably better sites than this blog.

Anonymous said...

Was anyone else blown away today by the email from CMS COMMUNICATIONS asking teachers to help recruit people into the TEACH CHARLOTTE program... yes, I am going to find people who aren't trained to do my job so you can train them in a bad TFA (I know, redundant) style to take classroom jobs while at the same time our pay has been frozen for a bit now and we have had RIFS for the past several years... Yes, let me get you the names of people I know right now who are just dying to learn how to be a teacher but didn't go to school to be one... SERIOUSLY?? Really, CMS---that's the email you send out to alllllll of your teachers and staff today?

Anonymous said...

Do you know someone who would make a great teacher? Refer them to TEACH Charlotte today:

You made the choice to dedicate each day to supporting education in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. You probably know other outstanding individuals who are also looking for an opportunity to make a difference by becoming teachers. While CMS currently has an accomplished group of professional educators, the need for additional high-quality teachers is always great. The TEACH Charlotte program is an aggressive campaign to recruit local and committed professionals, community members, and recent college graduates who have the potential to become effective teachers, joining us in our efforts to increase student achievement in CMS classrooms.

TEACH Charlotte is a highly selective, innovative path for talented mid-career professionals and recent college graduates to become teachers and make a measurable difference in the most critical subject areas of math, science, EC, and Spanish as well as elementary, English, and language arts. The goal of TEACH Charlotte is to recruit, select, and train only the most outstanding candidates who have the potential to effectively increase student achievement in their classrooms. Candidates do not need to have taken courses in education or have prior teaching experience, but they should be committed to ensuring the academic success of our students and our schools.

TEACH Charlotte participants will:

Complete a rigorous summer training to develop their ability to affect student achievement as a new teacher in a high-need school;
Achieve significant academic growth with all of their students and hold themselves accountable by measuring student outcomes in their classrooms;
Complete lateral entry requirements through the TEACH Charlotte TNTP Academy during their first year teaching to earn North Carolina licensure.
Committed educators attract other committed educators; therefore, principals and current teachers are the key to helping us attract the community’s brightest leaders to become teachers.

As soon as possible, refer any high quality professionals who you think would make great teachers to our website, to apply to teach or help share information about this opportunity to others who might be interested in applying. The early application deadline is Dec.19.

We know that teacher quality is the most critical factor in raising student achievement for all students, regardless of background or socioeconomic status. TEACH Charlotte is committed to recruiting and preparing high-quality, effective teachers who will raise student achievement in the classrooms that need them most.

Feel free to contact Mallory O’Connell, TEACH Charlotte site manager, with any questions or suggestions.

TEACH Charlotte contact information:
980-343-5886 | |
Become a fan of TEACH Charlotte on Facebook.

Anonymous said...

"We know that teacher quality is the most critical factor in raising student achievement for all students, regardless of background or socioeconomic status." --and yet if you read the requirements you only have to have 15 hours worth of English coursework to TEACH middle grades English or only 24 hours for HS English...I guess I wasted my time getting a BA in English, AP Certification, NBCT, etc. Who knew all it took was just a few hours and a cracker jack boot camp to teach in CMS! AWESOME! Teacher quality? Really--you don't even have to have a DEGREE in the subject area? WOW!

Anonymous said...

Do you know someone who would make a great teacher? Please, if you love them tell them to avoid at all cost working for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and the Hitler Youth from the New Leaders for Nazi Schools.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:48 p.m.


"Why would you ask someone you care about to put up with this??"

Wiley Coyote said...

"Yelling the loudest"..

from he Latin guide:

It is self-evident that multiple letters and phone calls have a greater effect than does a single communication.

From the ACLU report:

If you are going to a school board meeting, bring along as many other parents, students and community members as you can!

This is pretty much standard fare at many CMS BOE meetings, but all that advocacy doesn't amount to a hill of beans if little Johnny can't read...

Anonymous said...

“Candidates do not need to have taken courses in education or have prior teaching experience, but they should be committed to ensuring the academic success of our students and our schools.”

Only an Individuals who has not had a four year college/university degree in Education would think this statement makes since. A persons determination to pursue and complete a degree in Education (which pays poorly and is ridiculed by society) shows true commitment to ensuring the academic success of our students and our schools. Anything (person) else is a “shot in the dark”. And this is exactly what CMS is desperately willing to put in it’s classrooms trying to replace the quality teachers that were let go over a five year period.

Anonymous said...

Agree that is a just a ghastly terrible picture that does no justice even being as an obvious older female. She is clearly nowhere near beauty queen status but unquestionably needs a quick upgrade shot. And please do something about that frizzy hair. Clairol conditioner works wonders.
Also close your mouth to avoid showing the large somewhat crooked teeth on your next pic or see your orthodonist.

Thanks for your attention and cooperation..

Anonymous said...

split end city

Go Girl Go! M.E.D. said...

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act!" - George Orwell

CMS has countless education advocates. However, to advocate truth is to put paychecks on the line.

Erika is doing good for the community seeking methods to discern truth in a culture where manipulated numbers, turf, staged confusion and corporate dollars often set the bar.

May Erika find truth in Mecklenburg people, not corporate based spin doctors who care not for education.