Friday, May 25, 2012

Morrison chooses South Meck zone

Soon-to-be Superintendent Heath Morrison and his family have a contract on a home in the Rea Woods neighborhood in south Charlotte, which means his daughter will enroll as a 10th-grader at South Mecklenburg High.  His son, who will be in seventh grade, has South Charlotte Middle as his home school. But Morrison says Zach is interested in auditioning for Northwest School of the Arts (there was no waiting list after the first magnet lottery, so it shouldn't be hard to find a spot for the superintendent's son).

I asked Morrison if he'd chosen schools, then found a home in the desired zone.  He said he left the home-shopping to his wife and daughter.

Morrison is in town to present his entry plan,  which includes efforts to make sure all neighborhoods and groups  have a voice in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools decisions.  He's having dinner tonight with school board member Rhonda Lennon and some of her constituents from the north suburbs, and lunch Saturday with Carol Sawyer and Pamela Grundy from Mecklenburg ACTS, a group that's focused on equity for high-poverty urban schools.

Here's Morrison's schedule for this visit:

Thursday, May 24, 2012
6:45 pm Meeting with Dan Habrat

Friday, May 25, 2012
7:00 am Meeting with cabinet
8:15 am Kim Brazzell/Teresa Shipman/Vincent Smith – Orientation
10:00 am Meeting with Ericka Ellis-Stewart
11:00 am Press event with Board
11:40 am Meeting with Tom Tate
1:00 pm Principal interviews
2:00 pm Meeting with Eric Davis
3:30 pm Meeting with Mayor Foxx
4:45 pm Meeting with zone superintendents
6:00 pm Meeting with Rhonda Lennon
7:00 pm Dinner meeting with Rhonda Lennon and northern parents, businesses, etc.

Saturday, May 26, 2012
7:30 am Meeting with Ann Clark
9:00 am Meeting with Joyce Waddell
10:30 am Meeting with Richard McElrath
12:00 pm Meeting with Pamela Grundy and Carol Sawyer
1:45 pm Meeting with Sheila Shirley
4:00 pm Meeting with Tim Morgan
6:00 pm Meeting with Amelia Stinson-Wesley


Anonymous said...

Meeting and Dinner with Rhonda & District 1 first...!

Wiley Coyote said...

I see the neighborhoods in the West Charlotte, West Meck Zones weren't quite good enough.

Thank you Heath.

Your choice speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...

Ummm, exactly how do Carol Sawyer and Pamela Grundy rate a private meeting, when all other meetings except for the mayor's are with board members or administrators.

Patso4Teaching said...

Come on guys... He can't meet with EVERYONE "FIRST". Maybe??? He took it first come to make an appointment 1st serve???? I am not very happy with the Board's decision but he has to start somewhere. I am sure he will hear everyone's "voice". I am equally sure that it doesn't matter who is first or last he won't consider ANY VOICE wxcept for the BROAD voice that has been implanted in his head.

Ann Doss Helms said...

CMS has also posted this list of folks he has already met with on previous trips:

Wiley Coyote said...

Pam Grundy controls the Universe.

Not sure What Carol Sawyer controls.

Christine Mast said...

I see that Sheila Shirley has the longest session with him on this trip. I also see that he met with her back on May 11th.

There needs to be plenty more of these, as it's going to take the rest of the year (and THEN some) to even BEGIN to understand what goes on in that department.

I look forward to sharing my insights about the Finance area with Dr. Morrison, as well.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Christine, are you in tonight's D1 session?

Christine Mast said...

Ann, no, I had to decline the invitation. I will be making an appointment to meet with Dr. Morrison at a later date.

Pamela Grundy said...

Wiley, I see you have discovered my special secret. You might keep that in mind when you think about criticizing me in the future.

Carol and I received invitations to meet with Dr. Morrison the day that our editorial criticizing high-stakes testing appeared in the Observer. We have invited several other people to the meeting, and appreciate the opportunity to share our perspectives on what has gone on in the district in recent years.

Anonymous said...

Rhonda's area does include West Meck families. I am so happy our new house is in District 1, but unfortunately, West Meck is the home school. That's why I'm glad my kid goes to Northwest. I wish school assignment was by political district. I would love to have the choice of Hopewell over West Meck.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to agree with Pamela but she is "effective". In fact, I'd give her a "highly effective" rating plus bonus points for tenacity and stick-to-itiveness. If only my past 5 (in 8 years) District 6 school board representatives were this effective.

Welcome Dr. Morrison!

Alicia Durand

Wiley Coyote said...

Ms. Durand,

I actually agree with Pam on the testing issue.

It's her opinion regarding diversity at all cost I disagree with.

Anonymous said...

We now turn our attention to the front of the class...

Northwest School of the Arts (on Betties Ford Rd.) is a hop, skip and a pirouette from West Charlotte High (Vilma Leake's former District). Rea Woods is assigned to South Charlotte Middle School in District 6. South Meck. is located in District 5.

So, for Dr. Morrison's family, "Every Child, Every Day, for a Better Tomorrow" embraces THREE districts out of six! (which is probably a first). Given CMS's history, you've got to give this family some credit!

Anonymous said...

Hey Wiley,

Then we ALL agree on Pamela's position regarding excessive standardized testing!

Unfortunately, my FIVE District 6 reps. who were elected or appointed to primarily support neighborhood schools in the area haven't lived up to their promises. The last rep. certainly wasn't paying attention to a number of issues.

I'm not sure Pamela has ever advocated "diversity at all costs". If you've been paying attention, Pamela appears to have refocused her energy on the issues of poverty. Perhaps she can clarify?

I thought the viewpoint piece in today's paper written by the principal at Elizabeth Lane Traditional was right on the money.

Alicia Durand

Anonymous said...

You know? I actually like CMS's new slogan. It's humble and down to earth. Kind of a nice warm and fuzzy feeling. Much better than "Reaching Further", "Global Competitiveness Starts Here", "We Kick A*ss" and for forth.

Anonymous said...

"Every Child, Every Day for a Better Tomorrow".

I think the Arts and Science Counsel should have a CMS song writing contest. I can hear it now. ALL the little children. Spread the love!

Anonymous said...

Alicia, The piece today by the principal of Myers Park Traditional included this: "We also, as a community, have got to take on poverty." I would have to say that this community has been "taking on poverty" for quite a long time. People from all over the county and from many walks of life are participating in or contributing to a multitude of programs to help the needy. There has been a tremendous amount of effort directed towards solving this issue. Obviously nothing done so far has been able to eradicate poverty, but I don't think it's lack of caring on the part of the citizenry at large. So I do think it is inappropriate for the principal to suggest that the community has not shown concern for our neediest students and families.

Wiley Coyote said...

....Most of Obama's increases in welfare spending are permanent expansions of the welfare state, not temporary increases in response to the current recession. According to the long-term spending plans set forth in Obama's FY 2010 budget, combined federal and state spending will not drop significantly after the recession ends. In fact, by 2014, welfare spending is likely to equal $1 trillion per year.

According to President Obama's budget projections, federal and state welfare spending will total $10.3 trillion over the next 10 years (FY 2009 to FY 2018). This spending will equal $250,000 for each person currently living in poverty in the U.S., or $1 million for a poor family of four.

Over the next decade, federal spending will equal $7.5 trillion, while state spending will reach $2.8 trillion. These figures do not include any of the increases in health care expenditure currently being debated in Congress.

In the years ahead, average annual welfare spending will be roughly twice the spending levels under President Bill Clinton after adjusting for inflation. Total means-tested spending is likely to average roughly 6 percent of GDP for the next decade.

You can throw as many trillions of dollars towards poverty all you want, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what your skin color is, your household income is or where you live.

You still have to learn what the answer to 2+2 is.

To continue the lame argument we need to keep throwing more money at the problem is over.

Anonymous said...

I didn't interpret, "We also, as a community, have got to take on poverty" as an inappropriate statement suggesting our community has not shown concern for our neediest students. I believe our community has demonstrated great concern for people who live in poverty.

At the risk of getting decimated, I also believe the bible is clear that the world will ALWAYS have poor and needy people in it which, to me, means that no one will ever be able to eradicate the serious and expensive problems associated with poverty - ever. This doesn't mean we are supposed to throw in the towel. We're supposed to help other people if we're in a position to do so. At least this is what my 1st grade Sunday school teacher told me.

Alicia Durand

Wiley Coyote said...

Ms. Durand,

Many of us had the same Sunday school teacher.

I'm not against helping anyone who needs it.

The problem is, we have for too long allowed the status quo to continue to expand unchecked.

We've spent trillions on education, with a big share going to children in "poverty", yet the results have been mediocre at best.

We keep throwing money at pre-K and LIFT-type programs and the like with mixed results.

All of these programs rely on the same criteria - the FRL designation for funding.

Since there isn't a soul who can come up with a verifiable number of who actually qualifies for the benefit, it renders all data driving their funding useless.

There isn't a poverty number from any source that comes anywhere close to matching the number of students receiving the school lunch benefit, yet we blindly keep throwing money into these programs.

Status quo educrats, politicians and special interest groups keep it that way.

At some point, we need to say enough is enough and demand more accountability from parents and students who receive these benefits.

But first, government has to allow and demand that, which they will not do.

Anonymous said...


For future reference, I prefer to go by Mrs. or Miss. I've never gone by Ms. The hyphenated name thing never worked for me either. Hear me roar.

Before I sign off for the night - I think the issue of poverty in public education comes down to "how" not "if". It's not a question of if we should address poverty in public education it's how we should address poverty in public education. On this front, we can debate the "how" from here to kingdom come. I don't have the answers. However, I don't support just giving up because certain educational reform efforts have failed - OK, a lot of reform efforts have failed. I'm as skeptical about Project LIFT as you are. Unfortunately, I've yet to come up with a better idea.

Alicia Durand

Wiley Coyote said...

I use Ms. when there is a lack of information as to whether someone is Miss or Mrs.

I prefer it to "hey you" but your request is duly noted.

Anonymous said...

He would have liked to get his kid in Myers Park but it is so over crowded, due to the ridiculous boundry line, there was no room for her.

Anonymous said...

In real life, I go as Miss Alicia (private studio setting) or Mrs. Durand (educational setting). When I experimented with the hyphenated thing, students called me Mrs. C. At this stage of the game, I don't need to add a Ms. on top of the hot flashes.

Feel free to dispense with the formalities and call me Alicia. Although, I do appreciate the fact you're probably the kind of guy who still opens the door for women and picks up the check on a dinner date.

I'll continue to address you as Wiley here and Kwazzi Wabbit, your alter-ego, elsewhere. Unless you prefer Mr. Coyote?

Diversity Thought for the Day...

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

- Chinese Proverb

Anonymous said...

In 1998, my son landed 168 on the Myers Park Traditional "white" wait-list. I don't remember how long the "black" wait-list was. I do remember a very rude woman at the school refusing to give me a tour until I had an acceptance letter in my hand. Fast forward - my son landed on a wait-list for the Myers Park IB program after 2 contentious boundary reassignment controversies within a 4 year period. Welcome to private school. I'm so glad these days are over. It's unfortunate Dr. Gorman never got to experience this kind of CMS joy.

Forced busing is dead. Manipulated school boundary lines live on (see; Myers Park High School and South Meck's middle school split-feed pattern).

Wiley Coyote said...


Diversity...The most bastardized, hijacked word of the past 25 years,

Diversity as a driving principle behind public education continues to be its downfall.

An old Wiley Coyote Proverb:

"Give a man an entitlement and you feed him for a day. Never require a man to do anything for himself and you feed him for a lifetime."

How many more decades and generations are we going to allow to use poverty as an excuse for everything?

As we agreed in another post, poverty will never be eradicated. But as long as government doesn't require people receiving benefits to verify they qualify and we continue to give more and more handouts for everything, it's only going to get worse.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 was a success until Democrats began dismantling it in 2007.

Since 2007, food stamps are up about 135 percent, from 30 billion to 72 billion a year; disability payments are up 116 percent from a decade ago. More than three million American workers have signed up for disability since President Obama took office.

That's "social justice" for you.

Currently, the US Debt Clock stands at $15.8 TRILLION dollars and ticking.....

Anonymous said...

What does "Give a man a fish......." have to do with diversity?

Have to agree with Wylie about the word "diversity". I wish I had a dollar for every time the Observer has used "diverse" in an article or column in the past ten years.

Anonymous said...

A Chinese proverb isn't "diverse"?

I rest my case.

Gee, the educational establishment can't possibly be responsible for bastardizing the word diverse. It's the Observer's fault.

Anonymous said...

Today's education blog challenge:

A DIFFERENTIATED "Thought of the Day"!

Anonymous said...

OK Wiley,
After meeting a recent CMS high school graduate who couldn't calculate 10% of her $1,000 bail bond, your points are duly noted.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to tell Morrison that Rhonda Lennon does not represent the views of the parents in District 1. Her role in shutting down DIB (and particularly the underhanded methods that she used) alone was enough to ensure that someone will run against her. Her missteps have continued. I suggest that Morrison pay attention to District 1, but go beyond Lennon if you want to give the impression that you are really listening.

Ann Doss Helms said...

I agree that "diversity" is over- and misused. When people use it as a synonym for "nonwhite," you end up trying to say that schools that are 95 percent African American and low-income are more "diverse" than racially and economically mixed schools (and yes, those mixed schools are often in the burbs). I've actually heard folks corporate settings refer to individuals who are (or aren't) diverse. Huh?

Wiley Coyote said...

True diversity includes opinions and ideas from people and groups that 99%, 80%, 41%, etc, of us may disagree with. Or agree.

Detroit Public schools are 88% Black and 2.5% White.

Even though Detroit Public Schools is 88% Black, isn't that "diversity"? It (the schools) isn't 100% Black.

In CMS, Blacks are screaming we aren't "diverse" enough.

It goes back to point of view and what the agenda is as to what ones definition of "diversity" is.

Anonymous said...

Ann, I think we all know what it means to not be "diverse"--it means you're white, and to some that seems to mean you add little value to the social fabric. Years ago when I wrote a community column for the Observer about the diversity of backgrounds, interests, opinions, and nationalities that I saw among my son's suburban school friends a Davidson professor wrote in bemoaning his often all white classes--"what a yawn" was how he described it. I'm sure the parents of those students would have loved to hear that opinion. Another person wrote something to the affect that Sharon Starks would never speak to a person with dreadlocks so what did she know about diversity. Awfully limited views of humans relating to one another!

Anonymous said...

My 3 kids are only 7 years apart. We haven't moved, but they were assigned to 3 different middle schools and to 3 different high schools. So much for stability - which may be more important than diversity (which has some really bad connotations).

Anonymous said...

Diversity means lowered standards, lowered expectations, lost opportunity, less educated workforce, lost business to foreigners, lowered economy, etc.

Johnquis Jerome Dulin said...

I need money!