Friday, May 24, 2013

Rumor buster, hot topics and CMS en Español

No one can accuse Heath Morrison of being stingy with communication.

The superintendent's web page has added a "Heath's Hot Topics" feature,  with graphics suggesting someone was drinking a lot of caffeine during the design. Early topics include the budget process, an update from Raleigh and the threats at Hough High earlier this month.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has also added a "Rumor Has It" feature for district officials to address questions and controversy.  I can claim the distinction of kicking it off;  the first entry was in response to my reporting on a Providence employee who was still listed on the CMS payroll 10 years after he left on worker's comp.  Other posts have addressed questions about extra pay for National Board Certification and the raises proposed for 2013-14.

(The item about  "selective raises" reminded me of the flap over last year's market-adjustment raises,  which bumped up some salaries by as much as $17,000.  Chief Financial Officer Sheila Shirley says there are no market adjustment raises in the 2013-14 plan.)

The CMS web page has also added a prominent link to  "CMS en Español,"  with several key documents translated.  It's a recognition of the growing international population here,  with Spanish speakers as the largest language minority.  It'll be interesting to see whether CMS adds options for some of the other 165 languages spoken by students.  The Portland Public Schools site,  for instance,  has links for Chinese,  Russian,  Somali,  Spanish and Vietnamese.


Anonymous said...

While we've heard plenty about tge Hoax High bomb scares, what about the gun at Ashley Park?

Not a word since.

Just something about an "older student" being the culprit.

Was Malik involved?

It was the first thing that came to my mind after reading the special story about the "bright, thoughtful
" guy who was suspended 13 times.

That and his "poem" with its refrain of "I am always being judged" reminds me of most the problem people I have known in my life.

They just can't see what they are doing that is wrong, so they feel like they are "victims" of everyone else's poor judgement.

Makes me wonder.

If he was the one, it sure was bad timing, eh? If not, then there is more than one "bad boy" in that bunch.

Though I'm sure we'll never know the truth with the way things are today.

But, personally, I think that if a kid brings a gun to a school, their names and photos should be plastered all over the place so everyone knows who they are.

Because they WILL eventually become high-schoolers and adults.

Wiley Coyote said...

Perhaps Heath could solicit the help of the Language Academy at West Meck or South Meck to manage some of the other languages on his site.

Anonymous said...

Ann - See if you can find Heath's email on the webpage,, if it is there, its not in the 2 or 3 obvious places one would look

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 7:43

This lat week from the LA Times:

L.A. schools will no longer suspend a student for being defiant

...The proposal would ban suspensions of students for "willful defiance," an offense criticized as a subjective catch-all for such behavior as refusing to take off a hat, turn off a cellphone or failing to wear a school uniform. The offense accounted for 48% of 710,000 suspensions issued in California in 2011-12, prompting state and local efforts to restrict its use in disciplinary actions.

School officials will instead focus on positive behavior incentives, which have reduced office discipline referrals by up to 50% in 13,000 schools using them nationwide, according to Fix School Discipline, an initiative of the Public Counsel Law Center of Los Angeles.

"Now we'll have a better chance to stay in school and become something," said Luis Quintero, 14, a student at Augustus Hawkins High School in South Los Angeles. He attended the board meeting along with dozens of other students and community activists who have been pushing the proposal by board members Monica Garcia and Nury Martinez.

At Ashely Park, the one student who was suspended last year 13 times because "he was angry" is still in school....Why?

Because school districts are deathly afraid of actually disciplining students for bad behaviour and holding them accountable for their actions.

Based on the 134.99 suspensions per 100 for CMS last year, that translates into about 186,000 suspensions, of which, the kid from Ashley Park was responsible for 13 of them.

Do you know how many expulsions there were last year in North Carolina? Only 30. None in CMS and of the 30, 4 were special education students.

Until we start holding students and their parents accountable for their actions, it's only going to get worse.

Ann Doss Helms said...

No, Malik was not the student who brought the gun. If he had been, I'd have reshaped the story to reflect that.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Email: Click "management team," then "contact Dr. Morrison" next to his photo. You'll get Now ... will those emails be vetted and possibly answered by staff? I'd guess yes. Given the volume in an organization that large, there's got to be a lot of delegation going on.

Wiley Coyote said...


Alex, I'll take CMS for $200:



What is too much or not enough?

Yes, go again Wiley....

Anonymous said...

Well, with an actual stabbing (with actual scissors) AND an actual gun at this ELEMENTARY school, I hope the discipline is as harsh as for the pretend bombs at Hoax High.

I know they published names of the Hoax High culprits even though one was 16.

How old was the Ashley Park guy with the gun?

It would only take one failing year to make him around 16 (assuming that they actually FAIL kids today).

And from the sound of many parents at Ashley Park and their concerns over mixing with "older" students, I hope they EXPEL the kid from CMS who brought in the gun and don't just whisk him away to the nearest High School and consider the problem solved.

The schools set the tone for society.

When kids learn that they are "untouchable" by the law in school, they carry that attitude into adulthood.

I've seen it happen more than once in my life.

Anonymous said...

Well, Wiley, we all know that "defiant" is just part of some people's "culture".

And we MUST be sensitive to everyone's "culture".

Except the culture that wants a peaceful environment for learning, of course.

Because they've been running things for too long around here...

I'm not surprised to see California as the bellwether state for this, either.

Ann Doss Helms said...

On the defiance issue, I expect that to be part of upcoming discussions on school climate and cultural competency. Heath Morrison has mentioned that kind of thing as a possible cause of disproportionate suspensions for minority students. I think the key question is whether putting kids out of school is the best way to deal with that kind of issue. We'll see how it shapes up in CMS.

Wiley Coyote said...

CMS is 42% Black.

The student suspended 13 times at Ashley Park is Black.

Explain to me how this is disproportional.

Again, it's this kind of thinking that is killing public education.

Perhaps we should start looking at suspensions by a child's weight and see if those over 100 pounds are being disproportionally suspended.

Perhaps all of the suspensions are accurate and the numbers aren't lying.

Anonymous said...


Defiance is definitely a "cultural competency" issue.

Those who are NOT competent in any culture are typically defiant.

Criminals and criminal cultures support defiance against the mainstream.

Defiance is one of the hallmarks of a failed society and culture.

It's about time we decided to let defiance reign in our schools, though.

That is exactly what most people have been predicting anyway.

And it caters to the demographics that seem to have the most "problem" in school.

So, I'm sure the results will be just wonderful.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty apparent to me that the de-segregation of the Civil Rights era has pretty much run its course.

At one time blacks thought that getting into the white schools would solve all (or most of) their problems because ALL their problems were due to "separate but UNEQUAL schools".

Especially as far as money went.

Then, when they got into those schools, they found that they couldn't keep up academically or behaviorally.

And when the blacker schools started getting MORE money than the whiter schools, they STILL didn't improve.

They've been fighting to close that "performance gap" for decades with little progress.

And now they're working on eliminating the "behavior gap" by simply changing the definition of acceptable behavior because of "disparate impact".

Not realizing (or maybe they do realize...) that the bad behavior goes hand-in-hand with the poor academic performance.

So, now the people who don't want to adopt the habits of the failures of our society are re-segregating themselves.

And now we're back to square one.

Except we're spending a lot more money on the failures than before.

And, now, of course, we have added illegal immigrants into the mix of "problems".

And this is progress?

Anonymous said...

I sure hope he is paying to create that website and its content. If not Eric (unlimited budget) Davis can pay for it. Not a dime of taxpayer money should be used for this useless webpage.

Anonymous said...

Expulsion is the right thing if you want 30 other kids to learn.

Anonymous said...

Great comments. Real numbers never lie.