Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hearing on CMS teacher assignment

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board will hold a public hearing tonight on a revised policy governing how the superintendent will assign teachers so that students get  "the best education available anywhere."

The policy requires the superintendent to set up a framework  "that ensures that all students are taught by effective teachers,"  and report at least once a year on how his initiatives are shaping student achievement.  It eliminates some of the reporting details required under the current policy.  Former Superintendent Peter Gorman and some board members said that policy,  which focuses on teacher experience and credentials,  reflected the best thinking at the time but produced reports that said little about the quality of teaching.

One thing that doesn't change is the sentence allowing the superintendent to transfer or reassign teachers for the good of the school system.  And that highlights the big point:  The real meaning of this policy will be demonstrated in Superintendent Heath Morrison's execution.

CMS policy has long given the superintendent authority to assign teachers against their will.  Soon after Gorman arrived in 2006,  he began asking the board whether they'd back him up if he did so.  The answer boiled down to no.  Gorman adopted a policy of  "pull,  rather than push,"  with bonuses and other incentives to attract teachers to schools he deemed in need of help.

Teacher placement is one of the most sensitive and important decisions that district leaders make.  People who care about the issue may want to check out the policy and the public hearings  (if I remember correctly,  the final hearing and vote will be in November).  As always, you can attend the meeting,  watch it on CMS-TV Cable 3, or catch it online.  And then stay tuned to see what Morrison does with it.  Remember,  there are still six more town hall meetings for employees and the public to talk with him as he's figuring out his 100-day plan.


Anonymous said...

This is a crazy idea. Unless you are going to reassign the parents, it won't work. You could be the world's best teacher but you can't change in an hour a day, the damage that has been done over a lifetime, and in many cases still occurs the other 16 hours a day that the child is not in school. Parents need to be held accountable for their students. Not just the teachers.

Wiley Coyote said...


Parents being held accountable and assigning teachers where needed are two different things.

For years and years the excuse from many parents, the NAACP and other groups as to why kids in high poverty schools weren't learning is they didn't have "the best teachers".

I have always disagreed with that argument. Hhowever, if certain teachers who possess skills are needed in those schools, then the superintendent should have the power to assign them there. If a teacher refuses to go, then they should be terminated from employment at CMS.

In the private sector, refusing to go to a different division or department in your job means you'll be shown the door.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see an end to the bonus or pull system. It was a bad idea to begin with. For the most part it meant that principals brought along their posse to share in the gravy. The most effective teachers were not chosen. That is why schools such as Spaugh were closed before the "ineffective" results could come in.

I am in favor of teachers being required to accept the assignments offered or be let go. That should weed out the bad ones and leave the educators who like a challenge and love teaching.

Anonymous said...

It's just a shame that we don't put more focus on our "best" students.

Surely they are worth a little extra effort, too.

I just think we need a special group of remedial teachers to help the strugglers.

I don't know if these would be the "best" teachers or not. Seems to me that would depend on a lot of factors.

The "best" teachers for a school like Ardrey Kell, for example, may not be the "best" in an "urban" setting.

Anonymous said...

Love the tough guy comments about teachers having to take assignments or be shown the door.

This is a great way to lose the BEST teachers in the school system. Make them go where they may not/do not want to teach. Sure, make them drive an extra 45 minutes each way for a job that doesn't justify it.

Many schools had 30-40% turnover this year, high performing ones.

The only way it works is with incentives, not threats.

BolynMcClung said...


CMS Policy Committee:

This policy change started-out as a routine review of an old policy. There was a new person at the top.

But during the Policy Committee discussion on why teachers and principals would tell the superintendent why they would not transfer to a school, District Two board member Richard McElrath said that if schools are to be improved it is important to know why CMS employees refuse transfers. There was immediate agreement at the table. Then came the hammer.

One board member said that if CMS published refusal reasons, that the board would be immediately swamped with student transfer request: if a teacher won’t go then why should a student.

In the end the report won out but not stated were the specifics of it. I suppose that meant the board expected the superintendent would be less likely to light that fuse…..but you never know!

The committee discussed a number of legit reasons for refusal: bell schedule for teachers with school age children and driving distance. But the members were very open about negative school characteristics. They said knowing them, with all the sour details, could be a direct link to better schools.

That’s what the policy change is about: better schools not draconian leadership.

I support the policy revision.

Bolyn McClung

Wiley Coyote said...


Try working in the private sector.

If I told my boss I didn't want to do this or that, I'd be shown the door in two seconds.

There isn't one company I've worked for in the past 40 years that operated the way you feel teachers should be treated.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why no great math teachers want to teach high school math at Northwest. It has one of the best principals in the system. As far as discipline, it's one of the best examples in CMS. Oh there's teenage drama to no end, but the kids are basically devoted to an art form enough that it keeps out all the other 'bad' influences in their lives that cause discipline issues at school. Art & math go hand-in-hand. But one of the teachers has constant complaints for years from parents and students about her abilities and another is so uninspiring the parents were drifting off on Parent's night. How a teen can sit through Geometry for over an hour is beyond me. Like another poster said, teachers need to be the best for the school. I would think someone who can tie in the relationships to math and art and be creative enough to inspire kids to see the beauty in math would be a great fit for NWSA. Years ago, there were teachers like that there, but one's a principal in another county now and another passed away.

Ann Doss Helms said...

9:47, on the plus side, the superintendent's son goes to NWSA, so he should be highly motivated to find teachers who are the right fit!

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous @7:o6 and Wiley Coyote. Parents need to be held accountable. There is only so much a teacher can do without parental support. Even though parents treat the teachers like baby sitters, the parents need to step up and take responsibility.

Anonymous said...

What about the schools that lost 30% of their teachers last year? Those schools brought in "new" teachers at last minute this year. Thye have little to no experience in the class room. What is CMS stance on that old move of lack of planning?

Anonymous said...

The exodus of good teachers and middle class students accelerates!

Bill Stevens said...

Sorry I can get my mind around CMS demanding a "good/great" teacher (especially) be terminated because they refuse to be transferred.

You are willing for a talented, dedicated teacher to walk out the door because you can not tell them where they teach?

Bill Stevens said...

Sorry within the espcially perenthese I meant to add math or science teacher.

And we all know that the urban schools have lacked the best teachers is garbage. How many teachers have we accelerated their burnout but got them to these schools by the carrot instead of the stick?

Anonymous said...

A great article on the state of teachers in the US: http://theeducatorsroom.com/2012/09/the-exhaustion-of-the-american-teacher/

Wiley Coyote said...

Until government gets tough on parent, student and personal responsibility, any conversation regarding teachers and education outcome is irrelevant.

As has been stated, you cannot hold teachers accountable for what they cannot control.

People who believe teachers should be held accountable in the present state of public education only need to look at Chicago and Detroit.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:40.

Of course it's the parents and personal responsibility behind kids failure.

Always has been and always will be.

We cannot turn other people into responsible parents.

The best solution we've found is to just move where there are more parents who care.

Wiley Coyote said...


No, the solution is to require a higher level of accountability, stick to it and if parents don't get it, let DSS handle it. If the kids don't come to school, so be it.

We've been using income, diversity, race and zipcode for excuses the past 40+ years.

It's time to end it.

BolynMcClung said...

JUST CURIOUS....$3,223,557?

In today's agenda for the board meeting is a $3million program funded by the Feds.

anyone know what that is?

FY 2012-13 State Operating Rev. increased by $398,348
FY 2012-13 Federal Operating Rev. increased by $3,223,557
FY 2012-13 Other Operating Rev. increased by $53,037

FY 2012-13 State Operating Exp. increased by $398,348
FY 2012-13 Federal Operating Exp. increased by $3,223,557
FY 2012-13 Other Operating Exp. increased by $53,037

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...


Sounds great, but there is no will for such things.

That's why moving away from the problem has worked so well.

That, and the old standby, prison.

Anonymous said...

Boylyn, that is the policy committee? There is not one brain among all of them added together much less any common sense!

Anonymous said...

9:47 AM

My theory regarding math at NWSA after serving as a host mom to a recent graduate:

NWSA is an interesting school because it's overall standardized test scores defy conventional wisdom and research regarding the relationship between race, poverty and student achievement. Even though the school is majority-minority and located on Beatties Ford Rd., students here outscored students at South Meck. H.S. on last year's EOC's. According to standard research and entrenched beliefs about "The Achievement Gap", South Meck. should have come out ahead. It didn't. As expected, Providence High and Ardrey Kell High came out on top but this shouldn't surprise anyone. As far as math at NWSA, here's what I think based on personal observation and experience: I think students here often default to the false notion that "we're an art school so we can't do math". I've repeatedly heard students say this. I'm sure you've heard this too. If math achievement is lower than students want, its because this is the culture students at NWSA have created - themselves. Math is math. Yes, it would be wonderful to "integrate" math and tour jetes on a daily basis but sometimes you just have to suffer the old-fashioned way through the finer points of the pythagorus theorem. I think it's awesome that math is important to you. It should be even if your "passion" lies elsewhere. Be a catalyst for cultural change and go ahead and blow Myers Park IB out of the water on this year's Geometry test!


Anonymous said...

Perhaps that is the total $ we have spent on Muri , Baxter and the rest of the lame cohorts that raped the county tax payers.

Anonymous said...

Teachers are leaving the system due to the longer elementary day and ridiculous late bell schedule. www.change.org/petitions/change-cms-bell-schedule

Anonymous said...

A teacher who is good at one school may not be good at another. Why not? Different populations, different issues, different needs, different training, among other reasons. It's not just so black and white as some would lead us to believe. Maybe teachers aren't as easily replaceable as some would think they are.

The system needs to identify teachers strengths and put them in situations where they can succeed.

I think they do that in the "real world" don't they? Or is it just profit no matter how we achieve it?

Anonymous said...

So Wylie/Kwazie,
Do you think that Ms. Watts will get the brightest and most experienced people clamoring for a job at WC. Based on the current departure rate one employee wondered if half the faculty would be left by the end of the year. A question for Heath? Ann, a candid answer of departures at the Lift schools is probably not going to enthrall contributors after only a quarter but the standard "it's a personnel issue" reply would be telling.I was under the impression that Pete's Posse eliminated bad teachers some time ago along with administrative incompetence, e coli, CMS TV, and propagandist communications.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 10:00...

If you want to see why LIFT will fail, read this:


Watts says nothing about succeeding and how to accomplish it, only living in the past and seeing LIFT as the "civil rights issue of the 21st century"...

Bill Stevens said...

LIFT schools have a few peripheral things going on that will be interesting to track. One, there is a move a foot to ensure the teachers "look like the students". Read into that what you wish.

Second, several of these schools have an environment I would characterize as the sorority sister effect. Maybe this is the new version of the old boys network but none the less, there are risks with this kind of setup.

Lastly, I would wonder why you need a talented Calculus teacher when most ogf the students cannot grasp Algebra? There are numerous parallel examples of this same type of "overqualification " in science, English, etc. fields.

Anonymous said...

None of this matters.
When Obama gets a second term we will have even fewer jobs available in the USA.

Anonymous said...

Project Lift is just more of the same old crap.

I hope they succeed in making the teachers "look like" the students.

Because I do think that is the SOLUTION.

To all the whining, if not the actual problem.

This sounds like the "blame racist whitey" theme being pushed by Glenn Singleton with his "cowardly conversations" that do not address the REAL, self-perpetuating, causes of black failure.

But, at least, when they still fail after making everyone "look" the same, they won't have whitey to blame.

But somehow, I still think they will find a way...

They'll have to if they want more liberal guilt money.

Yeah, this will be the "civil rights" movement of the 21st century.

Because somehow whitey has to keep paying...

Anonymous said...

They want equal outcomes. No matter the effort.