Monday, August 12, 2013

'Burger King' teacher launches petition for McCrory

Apparently I wasn't the only one who was impressed by fourth-grade teacher Justin Ashley's letter to House Speaker Thom Tillis.

On Wednesday morning,  I posted his letter talking about his dedication to teaching and his fear that legislators'  action would discourage future teachers.  Within 48 hours,  "Burger King vs. teaching:  One man's choice" became the most-read item I've ever had on this blog.  By the end of the weekend,  it had been viewed more than 34,000 times.

Teachers,  parents and advocates around the state shared it on social media.  Superintendent Heath Morrison included a link in his Friday email to more than 18,000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees.  The Public School Forum of North Carolina copied the letter to more than 4,000 education supporters around the state.

Ashley,  who teaches at McAlpine Elementary in south Charlotte,  says he got dozens of messages of support and congratulations.  But by week's end,  he hadn't gotten a reply from Tillis,  a Mecklenburg Republican who was once an active CMS parent.

So he launched something new:  A petition on asking Gov. Pat McCrory to spend a day teaching his class. He had 670 online signatures Sunday afternoon.

"After you walk my kids to dismissal, you and I could have a conversation in my classroom about your experiences:  what you enjoyed, what was difficult, what you learned,"  Ashley's request concludes.  "In social studies, we teach our students a lot about revolutions.  Maybe it's time we start one.  Let's begin a new conversation about public education with you walking in my shoes.  Let's trade shoes for a day."
A little more about how this got started:  Like many teachers around North Carolina,  Ashley was dismayed by some of the actions taken in this summer's legislative session,  and he put his thoughts in writing.  Unlike many of them,  he decided to sign his name and go public.
Ashley said Friday that friends and colleagues advised him to make his letter anonymous or get a group to sign.  But his personal experience and credibility are what's grabbing people's attention, I believe.
It's one thing to cast teachers as  "unions and special interests"  who are interested in  "lining their pockets,"  to quote from Sen. Phil Berger's opinion piece in Sunday's Observer.
It's another to engage with a 28-year-old guy trying to support a young family on $39,500 a year.  Especially when that guy is the kind of teacher you'd want your children and grandchildren to have.  Ashley has been named the state teacher of the year in history and social studies.  He has dressed up as James Madison to do a rap video about the Bill of Rights. His kids re-enact Revolutionary War battles with water balloons. When he teaches about the three branches of government,  his students set up their own government.  "The kids pass laws like 'Don't pick your nose in class,' " he says.  Ashley is thinking how cool it would be to have the real governor show up for that one.
One theme goes through his lessons:  Regular citizens have a voice in democracy.  By writing respectful,  constructive letters and signing his name,  Ashley hopes to demonstrate that lesson for his kids.  "I just hope it raises some questions and opens some eyes,"  he said.
Some of his fellow teachers have been inspired to build on his example.  More on that to come.


Anonymous said...

Ann, thank you for the opportunity to "discover" this letter. Candidly, many times the letters are simply spleen venting. This was articulate and yet passionate. No name calling, no "liberal" vs "conservative" baiting. ISSUES. We can argue all day about who/what/why but the important thing is HOW. The big question is not the author choosing teaching over BK: we need passionate thoughtful and temperate leaders. I'm glad at least that he's a leader in the schools. Future superintendent? THANKS!

Anonymous said...

He cant be a superintendent...that would make to much sense because he has actually spent time in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

I admire this gentleman. However the reality is that a Burger King manager works 12 months a year and 60 hours a week. In addition - having several friends who have a Masters in Education - I have been shocked at the low quality of work necessary to earn that degree. It clearly does not increase a teacher's ability in the classroom.
Finally, this individual is exactly they type of teacher who should be receiving performance pay increases instead of tenure based increases.

Shamash said...

While there are always exceptions, the simple fact is that teaching is STILL one of the easiest "professions" to both enter and remain.

While the best and brightest of their profession may be a match for nearly anyone, the majority of those who choose that profession still are not.

The majority of students who choose education as their major come from the middle of the pack, not the top.

Their curriculum cannot be compared to that of an engineer, doctor, or lawyer for example.

Those are much more competitive.

There are no "elite" education colleges that I can name that are on a par with Harvard, Yale, or MIT which specialize in education and regularly produce top-notch "educators".

Perhaps teaching isn't really a "profession" on par with the rest.

And that explains why the public doesn't treat them the same.

Change this (and with it the compensation) and you will see a change.

Until that time, teaching won't be much more than a second or third tier career choice for "professionals".

Anonymous said...

I am so sick and tired of this talking point regarding teachers- "you don't work 12 months". IT DOESN'T MATTER how many days, but look at the TIME that has to be invested in teaching. Unless you have actually been a teacher, you have no idea. As in any profession, there are super stars, incompetents, and everything in between. Most of the teachers I know are fabulous at what they do. The point is, we TEACH others the value of an education, and yet there are people around us countering that by saying Masters Degrees are not important. Advanced degrees require commitment to bettering oneself, critical thinking, and collaboration with fellow degree seekers.

I believe that teachers are like doctors in the process of what both do. We walk into a room of "patients" and assess them by interviewing, observing, listening, and reviewing prior records. We order tests and examine the results. Based on those test results, we diagnose and prescribe treatment. Some patients take the diagnosis and treatment and begin immediately to improve. Others try it, but later you see they don't have the same results. Time to order more tests, reassess, or try another treatment. Others simply go home and refuse treatment. They don't want to do what the "doctor" says and then everyone around wonders why they are not getting better. Teachers face this every day. We often perform triage and prioritize those students who need the most help. Yet, we have our healthy patients that we want to continue to grow and thrive that we need to provide guidance, too.

I prepare students to be law abiding, tax paying citizens who can think for themselves. I think students deserve a well educated teacher who is compensated as a professional.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "teachers don't work 12 months a year" rhetoric:
You are correct. It doesn't matter. government/employer/taxpayer/citizen has every opportunity to extend the school schedule to 12 months a year. Teacher's employees do not have any immediate control over that.
The government/employer controls
when teachers get PAID for their work -Not when they actually work.

Teachers are salaried and work after school hours all the time. avg 60 hours during the school year. grading papers and planning curriculum is overwhelming for most teachers due to the beuocraccy and documentation involved
Extra curricular activities which *are required to be provided* and require managed fundraising consume much of our lives.
The summer includes no less than one day a week at school, fundraising, coordinating next years curriculum and special events/ (required) extra curricular events.

Anonymous said...

>> It's another to engage with a 28-year-old guy trying to support a young family on $39,500 a year.

Like my pops taught me as a kid, there are trade-offs in life. Welcome to reality.

Anonymous said...

Pay Teachers and bring back their benefits !


Anonymous said...

@8:07 - If the teaching profession i recruiting are pulling from the middle of the population of the best and brightest -
1) Who is teaching the best and brightest in their respective careers? I assume teachers...
You mention that there are no elite schools dedicated to teaching teaching...
First of all this is a ridiculous comparison to compare elementary education in public schools in NC intended to teach the general population with out regard to how slow, average, or advanced the students are - to ivy league private colleges (not in NC) that select from the population who they will accept to teach and who are adults ready to enter the workforce in a specialized profession.
Regardless, the purpose of schools like Harvard is to provide the best teachers to the brightest students - whatever the specialty is, I would assume harvard is able to recruit elite teachers - with elite pay - that are able to provide elite curriculum to elite students who pay an elite price for an elite education.
The public elementary schools in NC cannot select whom they will educate.

2) If other professions and curriculum are attracting the best and brightest in the population, then what would be the most obvious way to recruit? What is the most common way those industries recruit? Competitive pay... If you pay engineers more money, more people - esp. more talented people will enroll in that curriculum and enter that industry. That is pretty consistent with teaching.

Can we assume the your solution to recruit better teachers (from the best and brightest) is to lure them from other competitive paying professions Wouldn't the obvious solution be to increase teacher pay?

Anonymous said...

Go to work at Burger King


STRIKE for better pay

Otherwise shut the hell up and sit down. The legislature and people have spoken. Deal with it or move on!

Anonymous said...

Quit yer wimperin boy!

Anonymous said...

If teaching programs & the profession isn't able to recruit the most talented people when deciding their career path.
There is a positive correlation between money and the ability to recruit people in any industry. The most talented students are generally not going to enter programs that do not have competitive pay.
The answer is simple. Do what businesses do when they want to increase the quality and talent of their labor force.
Pay more money
If NC values elementary education they will pay market rate for the segment of the population they want to recruit.

Anonymous said...

@9:33 It is common knowledge (constantly reiterated in comment forums and the news) that in NC it is illegal for teachers to strike.
Low information voters...

Unknown said...

I wonder what level of education the "go work at Burger King...", and "Burger King managers work 12 months..." commenters have personally attained?

Come do what I do for one week, and tell me what job you think you are more equipped to do. And for the uneducated that smugly say that "...teaching is not really a profession on par with the rest,,,", how do you think "the rest" got where they are....not without educators!!

It's time we stop throwing stones at teachers, and use those stones to build something that will support all children, keep quality teachers in the classroom, and prepare students to thrive and participate in our global society.

Ad if you are really believe what you are saying in this or any blog, SIGN YOUR NAME!

Marie Calabro
4th Grade Teacher/EC Specialist
Supporter and Advocate of "Walk to the Sidewalk Wednesdays"

B.Garvey (A CONCERN PARENT) said...

You are so right, I'm sick of people talking about teachers. Until you walk in their shoes. So PLEASE SHUT your mouth. It take a special person to teach our children. How can you compare TEACHERS to a burger king managers. In fast food you only see your customers for a brief moment. Once customer order and receive
their food the job is done. Yes, the managers
does employees work scheduling, hiring and firing and maintain the flow of the restaurant.
But TEACHERS are teaching our children to become burger king managers, doctors,
teachers and etc. No teachers can not please everyone but neither can burger king managers Answer this question non believers. What will happen to our education system if our teachers quit to become burger king managers? Better yet what will become of our children future if no one is there to TEACH them?

schedule, do the hiring and maintains the flow of the restaurant. But our teachers prepare our students to become burger king managers, doctors, lawyers, teachers and etc. A

Wiley Coyote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wiley Coyote said...


Just because you pay someone more money for having an advanced degree doesn't mean they're the best and/or brightest - in any profession.

Anonymous said...

I think someone outside of CMS should organize a walk-out for CMS teachers during a day of school or at this mandatory pep rally we have to attend during our required "WORKDAYS." As a right to work state, we are not protected to strike so someone else needs to organize. Workdays are no longer "get things done in your classroom for kids" days. We sit in mandatory workshops/inservices all week. Without assistants and without getting paid , we are now going in two weeks before school actually begins to get our classrooms set up. Maybe someone will start listening if there are no teachers in the classrooms for a few days.

Cynthia said...

Do you have children?

Cynthia said...

My question, "Do you have children?" was addressed to those who think we should quit or strike and stop our whimpering. I have taught for 23 years and I think I may have taught your children, if you do.

Shamash said...

A few points in reply to several comments to my first post...

Yes, I do think the solution to drawing better teachers into the "profession" is to pay them more.

But we need make it more difficult to get into the "profession" as well, not just give more money to the same kind of people we have teaching now.

That's what doctors do through their "professional" guild system (AMA).

Doctors control the supply of doctors so their value doesn't drop.

Otherwise, we would probably be flooded with cheaper doctors with lesser degrees from developing countries or other countries with lower educational standards for doctors (like Ireland).

Much like we have seen in the computer and engineering "professions" with all the H1-B visa holders...

However, I don't think society values education enough to do (or allow) this.

And, unfortunately, most teachers are at the mercy of the government and taxpayers for their pay.

Few people seem willing to pay extra for exceptional educators outside of higher education.

And, while many of us can "thank a teacher" for what we know, for many professionals their professional learning takes place OUTSIDE what they are taught by teachers with Education degrees.

Yes, most of what professionals learn which is relevant to their professions is taught specialists in their fields, NOT "teachers" with "education" degrees.

So that argument doesn't fly.

I know that the public schools I attended did not teach me EVERYTHING I learned.

And once I left high school, I was NEVER taught ANYTHING by ANYONE with an EDUCATION degree.

I was taught Math by Ph.D's in Math and English by Ph.D's in English, etc., etc., etc.

Once I learned the basics of reading and writing and math, I also learned a LOT on my own which enabled me to score higher on the standardized tests (ACT) than most of my peers, so I can't even say public High School even prepared me very well to get into college, either.

It was mostly my own extra effort which made the difference.

Honestly, the education which I can trace back to my teachers mostly stopped in the FIFTH GRADE.

After that, much of what I learned was through my own efforts using what I had been taught.

Mostly through reading and thinking on my own.

Wiley Coyote said...

I've stated numerous times I believe teachers have gotten shortchanged under Democrat control and now Republicans in this state and that the legislature could have found money to give back what teachers have lost over the past few years.

However, those of you whiny teachers griping about what you make and how hard you work are spewing the same rhetoric others have spewed for decades, in this state and elsewhere.

This is nothing new. I was hearing the same stuff in the early to mid-80's from many of my ex-wife's fellow teachers.

You might want to reassess your position in light of the fact graduation rates in CMS and the state miraculously improved - during teacher layoffs, salary cuts, elimination of assistants, more testing, more TFA teachers, etc.

Begging kids to come back to school and the lowering of required credits to graduate are the biggest reasons for the increase, so as the state goes, teachers didn't have much to do with it.

Shamash said...


Yes. I have children.

However, I sincerely believe that I have taught them as much, if not more than any teacher has.

And I suspect they will also learn more on their own than you or any other school teacher will ever teach them.


Not to take away from what you are doing, have done, or will do.

Or what you may do for a few marginal children who otherwise wouldn't "make it".

But, based on my experience so far, don't be so sure the time you spend with MY child is THAT critical.

It wasn't for the teachers I had.

And maybe that's the real problem for teachers.

Most of us still remember school.

And, most of the time, it wasn't ALL THAT.

As an example, I have a son who is currently doing fifth grade level math.

He will start third grade this year.

His teacher didn't teach him that.

Unknown said...

You get what you pay for, Wiley. Teachers didn't lower the number of credits needed to graduate. The STATE did! Sham ash, I'm glad all of your own personal efforts paid whom ar what do you credit all of that drive to? It would be ideal if teachers monitored teachers like the bar association and the nursing field and the medical field who have boards and associations at the state level. Many teachers would welcome such a board run by qualified TEACHERS instead of legislators who have never stepped foot into a classroom but certainly have no qualms about regulating what we do and how we are
paid for the services we render - the most important of which is teaching students HOW To think and acquire knowledge and not Judy spewing back nonessential facts and figures ( hence my question, who taught you to teach yourself?)

Anonymous said...

Since our one term McCrory is not going to help teachers or education for that matter how about this. Step up and help a school or teacher to make it a better place. Everyone stop talking and squabbling over crap and roll em up to get em done. For the better educational needs of all the areas children. It will feel much better and more will be accomplished. With lower income to the County with the revalutaions demanded its not going to get better from a financial stand point anytime soon.

Wiley Coyote said...


I had good and bad teachers when I went to school. No doubt many of them had advanced degrees and took this professional course or that.

When I think back on the teachers I had, I can say there was only one who I really liked and admired, one who made me want to come to class.

It helped that the teacher taught the subject I was most interested in, but he really enjoyed it and wanted us all to succeed.

What you also have to realize is that during the time I went to junior high and high school, busing was the #1 priority.

Teachers and administrators were afraid of everything; afraid to discipline or say anything for fear of a riot, so many classes were in total chaos.

My ex-wife has a masters in early childhood education. Was she the best teacher? No, a good, caring teacher but she certainly wasn't the worst. She taught in some of the poorest schools in SC with the highest poverty rates.

During my son's time in the 13 years at CMS, he had many good teachers, but he also had some really bad ones who acted as if it was a chore to be there. One made over $80K per year.

Public education is changing rapidly in this country, for better or worse, but somehow, I can't see it being any worse than the past 45 years.

We'll see.

Wiley Coyote said...


"You get what you pay for" may hold true for certain things but just because a teacher makes $80K per year as I just said to Shamash doesn't mean they are a good teacher.

I would have traded 10 like her making $80K per year for 1 like the teacher she replaced making probably 1/3 to half what the replacement made.

Shamash said...


Who taught me to teach myself?

I did.

I was just naturally curious since early childhood.

I think most kids probably are.

Until something happens to them, I guess...

But on the subject of teachers, I don't think they will ever really take control of their profession as doctors and lawyers have.

It's a difficult thing to do today.

It's really a remnant of medieval society.

I'm not really sure doctors will be able to keep it up much longer with global competition in health care what it is.

At some point people will start opting for health care elsewhere and undermine the guild.

Anonymous said...

I have been an educator in both public and private school for over 17 years. I do it because I love it and I love the opportunity that I have to help grow the next generation. I did go to college to become an educator but I'm glad I did when I see my former students as business owners, doctors, lawyers and, yes, educators. As such, I get sick and tired of hearing the complaining of my fellow educators. I didn't expect to get rich as an educator. I made far more money from owning my own business that teaching but teaching has been by far more rewarding for me. If the education profession is as bad as some are making it out to be, choose another and leave this profession to those who have heard the call and have chosen to answer. Teaching....there's nothing better.

Shamash said...


I had the usual mish-mash of teachers as well.

Some were dumb as rocks, while others were truly inspired.

I was influenced by both I guess.

The dumb ones taught me that I just had to learn some things myself and that the "authorities" weren't always right.

The others actually helped me appreciate a few things I hadn't thought about on my own.

But they were more rare than the ones who were just barely competent and dishing out the minimum effort.

I'm also from the same era, but since we have children "late in life", I see what schools are like today as well.

I just try to do the best I can for my kids to supplement what they learn in school.

Shamash said...


Another thing I have taught my son is that the WORST excuse he can give ME for NOT knowing something is:


Ha. Sets me off every time...

Anonymous said...

And yet, Shamask (who posted at 8:07 a.m.), it is the teacher who PREPARES the engineer, doctor or lawyer.
Look upon teachers as those who lay the foundation!

Shamash said...


I don't think the pay makes the teacher.

Certainly not the way they are paid today.

People looking for money are smart to just skip that career.

The low pay goes back to teaching being "women's work" during a time when women had fewer options.

Now, they have options, so the teaching profession suffers a bit.

Paying existing teachers won't make them better, but paying more for future teachers could bring in a better group.

I don't think we'll ever see doctors go back to a "profession" where only those who have a "passion" for healing (and not a big paycheck) will go through the hassles like we expect of teachers.

Of course, I think a broader range of people could probably teach as well.

I'm not so sure of the value of the Education degree outside of elementary school.

Anonymous said...

1. The governor already failed once as a teacher.
2. The governor has very little experience with children unless they had a basketball near them.
3. One'll wonder if he'll bring a plate of Whoppers for the class and his teaching assistant, Mr. Pope.

Shamash said...

Anon 11:43.

Maybe the teacher PREPARES the doctor, engineer, etc.,etc., and maybe not.

Certainly they are instrumental in teaching the basics such as reading, riting and rithmetic.

But I'm not so sure they have much influence on the professional direction of their students.

Also, parents do a lot of that prep work as well.

I know I do.

And I really doubt that those whose parents DO NOT help educate them become doctors, lawyers, and engineers.

They are the ones that typically drop out or barely squeeze by with one of those watered down HS diplomas (that require remedial courses at CPCC) we keep hearing about.

Anonymous said...


People with masters degrees typically score highest on the Praxis 1 exam suggesting that having a masters degree makes a difference in scores on this standardized test.

Interesting to note regarding the Praxis 1 exam:
(white teaching candidates).

1. Science and Business majors typically score the highest in science and math.

2. Social Studies majors typically score the highest in reading tied with people who major in the Humanities.

3. Humanities majors typically score the highest in Reading and Writing.

4. Education Majors typically score the lowest in all areas (math, science, reading & writing).

I'm currently in a post-bac. K-12 teaching licensure program with a master's degree in the humanities (dance). I wrote a 200 plus page masters thesis on the subject of Arts in Education which may explain why people who major in the humanities typically outperform science and business majors in reading and writing and why science and business majors typically outperform humanity majors in science and math.

On the subject of why Education majors typically score the lowest compared to other majors on the Praxis 1. I think this has a lot to do with education department curriculum and how we train teachers and less to do with the innate abilities of education majors. For example, instead requiring education majors to take Diversity in Education, perhaps it might be better to require education majors to take an additional math class. Instead of requiring education majors to take Intro. to Education, perhaps it might be better to have education majors take an additional writing class. Instead of requiring education majors to take Educational Psychology, perhaps in might be better to have education majors take an additional social studies class and - you get my point.

This year, I'm taking ONE semester's worth of technique/methods classes (how to teach social studies, how to teach math, how to teach science and literacy and assessment) before I get thrown into a classroom to student teach. Personally, I would have preferred to have taken two or three semesters worth of subject area related technique/methods classes and ditched Diversity in Education, Intro. to Education, and several other courses state education departments deem necessary to teach. I think we need to rethink how we train teachers and overhall education department curriculum. As a dance major, I had to take 4 years worth of dance technique/methods classes. I never took Diversity in Dance, Dance Psychology, or Intro. to Dance to teach dance - which included teaching dance at Penn State University- University Park, The University of the District of Columbia, and George Washington University where I taught dance classes as a graduate TA because technique/methods classes ruled. It was about studying dance in technical and methodological depth and not about studying the subject matter as related to issues pertaining to diversity, psychology, and theory.


Anonymous said...

There have been raises !


All the higher salaries went to administrators and other who spend little IF ANY time within the classroom.

Only bleeding hearts or inept people stay as a classroom teacher for long.

Anonymous said...


Anybody can STRIKE at anytime. What is the BofE going to do ? They are relying on long term subs now to fill the exodus. How are they going to fill over 10,000 positions if they fire the teachers?

Unknown said...

My invitation to visit a 21st Century classroom stands. Teaching today is nothing like it was in "our day" (thank goodness). Come see and experience for yourselves what multi-leveled, individualized, problem-based, technologically savvy, service-learning and globally based classroom looks like. Until you have done that, commenting on what education is, should and should not be, and/or needs to be is futile.

To assume that all teachers still in the classroom are nothing but bleeding hearts is a laughable (and again, uneducated) statement. Anyone who is "inept" or has a milk toast personality would be chewed up and spit out within the first hour in the classroom.

There are a great many citizens, teachers, parents, and students who have a great deal to say about what is going on in education. Now is the time to do so. I encourage and welcome civil, respectful and OPEN dialogue - it is too easy to make disparaging remarks behind "Anonymous". Use you REAL name!

Shamash said...


I suspect that additional Math, History, and English classes would help many teachers more than, say a "Diversity in Math" course.

But, hey, that's just me...

The people who run our national education industry disagree, though, and think the "diversity" study is more important.

(Even though most people seem to be able to teach these subjects at the highest levels without the political indoctrination...)

A lot of the differences in skill levels in the actual subject matter has to do with the tired old saw, "those who can, DO, and those who can't, TEACH".

If you are a real math whiz, you will probably get a job in Finance or Engineering, not teaching elementary (or high) school.

And, again, I'm not saying there aren't exceptions.

But I was looking at the GRE scores, which, unlike Praxis scores are given across a wide range of graduate students.

And the typical Education major is not very high scoring.

And that's for graduate school, so I suspect it is somewhat the cream of the crop.

Wiley Coyote said...


Diversity in Education is a must, afterall, it's future teachers who have to carry the status quo cross for educrats.

We all know diversity is why public education has greatly succeeded over the past 45 years, right?

Anonymous said...

Oh with that pay scale you wont have a problem with diversity. What you will have a problem with is finding a teacher who can add in about 10 years. You wont have a male teacher or one with common sense. You get what you pay for. They pay more to stock shelves at Target that the state of NC pays a teacher on a hourly basis. Diversity thats another word for excuse you loser.

Shamash said...


What makes you think I haven't visited a 21st century classroom?

I'm an older guy who remembers the same bad old days as Wiley, but I also have young children.

So I've seen both sides.

And don't see much of an improvement except that they try harder to make school "fun" and entertaining with tons of extracurricular diversions (or "activities")

I have a rising third grader.

I don't know if it was a "multi-leveled, individualized, problem-based, technologically savvy, service-learning and globally based classroom" or not, though.

They did have a whiteboard and Internet access, though.

And a curriculum that wasn't so hot based on the books and homework my kid had.

Especially the math.

I can do better, so I do.

And so do my children.

I think anyone who relies primarily on our education system for their education is taking a great risk with their future.

I can look at our relatives in China and see a huge difference in what they are learning.

(And it's not all rote memorization vs. "creativity" as some would have us believe, either.)

Shamash said...


FWIW, I stopped using my REAL NAME in my opinions in the 1980's when I used to write letters to the editor to the Houston Chronicle.

I just got tired of all the death threats on my phone after they'd publish a piece.

And I don't think things have gotten better over the years...

Wiley Coyote said...

My son is two years removed from CMS.

I wouldn't call that the "old days".

Like Shamash, I've been living the public school nightmare for 45 years, going through it myself (actually 54 years if you count when I started kindergarten), an ex-wife who was a teacher in our marriage for nearly 12 years and then having a child go through CMS.

I've seen it all.

Wiley Coyote said...

To 4:43's point....

Go take a look at the salary database and explain to me the 4 pages of salaries in the Chief Information Office department.

If you have an extra air sickness bag laying around, grab it first.

Anonymous said...

Where was the petition for Perdue and the Dems when they were putting us all in this nightmare financial situation?

Anonymous said...

Shamash and Wiley,

Oops. I'm scheduled to receive a second B.A. in elementary education K-6 (not K-12) this May. Good teaching requires tangible and intangible skills. Teaching is an art, a science, and none of the above. Therefore, comparing a MCAT score to a Praxis score to determine who's more qualified to teach is a ridiculous.

However, I stand by my argument that education departments could do a better job training teachers which includes ditching diversity, psychology, and a few other state department of education required courses in favor of more core subject area methodology classes. I find no gender, racial or ethnic bias in calculating the area of a triangle, subtracting negative numbers, or pi to the 234th digit.


Anonymous said...

I like the way my wife's college did it. No education degrees. Get your degree in a subject and take education classes, student teach, etc.
Her degree was Bachelor Degree in Psychology, which turned out to be pretty darn applicable for teaching 4th & 5th graders. Statistics, birth order, normal (and abnormal) psychology, etc.

Anonymous said...

You would think the State's best Social Studies teacher would know the current situation was brought on at least partially by all those years out of control prior to the current state administration taking over.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Wiley, just FYI "chief information office" is the technology folks, not the communications (PR) department. You might know that and object to the number of techies, but a lot of people find it confusing.

Anonymous said...


I'm inclined to support the college your wife attended where students specialize in one subject area instead of majoring in general education.

I took Educational Psychology in 1984 and then again in 2012 at two different colleges in two different states taught by educaiton professors -not psychology professors. I found the class and the books we used - which were designed for education majors not psychology majors - irrelevant both times. Classroom Management is another one. I think a psychology course taught by a psychology professor might be able to more adequately and specifically address things like disciplinary techniques, motivational practices, and child and adolescent development better than a general education department professor. Which supports my position for majoring in a single subject area and then taking upper level methodology courses that bypass some education department pre-requisites. I don't understand why it takes the average undergraduate education major 3 years of general education courses before they can take "How to Teach Elementary Math". Shouldn't education majors be learning "How to Teach Elementary Math" starting their freshman year and continuing through their senior year? I think this should be a 4 semester course - not a one semester course.


Anonymous said...

It amazes me how uninformed some of the posters who claim to be teachers are.
Check the salary database - see where the money is going. Ask simple questions like why were 5 assistant superintendents added when we had no money for teachers? Use the critical thinking skills you are supposed to have learned in college. My guess is most have them - unfortunately many who are posting here show a lack. The problem in NC did not occur overnite - to put all the blame on a group that has been in office less than a year does not make sense. Let's get the state back on good financial ground after all the debt, etc than let's see what the priorities are. Just once I'd like to hear from a teacher that the Perdue education governor was a sham and really hurt

Melanie Miday-Stern said...

Doctors control the supply of doctors so their value doesn't drop.
-- AH, but a person who earns a D on their medical exam is called the same thing as a person who earns an A... DOCTOR!

As a person who has worked in the fast food industry as a low ranking manager, I can say that my particular job at McD's was way less stressful than a day in my classroom. The reason, there are 20 different personalities, 20 different values, 20 different factors working for and against me. I am in a self contained classroom. I keep all 20 of my KIDS.. yes I said MY KIDS with me the majority of the day. Not one manager can say that they have the exact same people around them day in and day out!

The 8-15 hats a teacher has to wear per day is crazy at best! When the nurse isn't at school, the teacher is the nurse. When the psychologist isn't at the school, we're a therapist. When the principal is a their 18th meeting for the day, we're administrator. Plus more. Now, with that said, I find my days more fulfilling teaching then I ever did working at McDonald's!!

To the people saying we do not need teachers, that's ok. When Harvey the ditch digger comes to teach your children, don't cry foul because he's not certified to teach your child!

We are people too! We have feelings, needs, and wants! How is it a crime to want a living wage to provide for our families? Why is it a crime to say that we're fed up with the cuts to education. I've heard more parents this year scream and yell about the amount of school supplies they have to buy this year. Well, you can guess why. The cuts to education. I'm not talking teacher's salaries or anything like that; I'm talking discretionary cuts for the arts, PE, extra curricular activities, etc. You can bet a pretty penny if parents had to pay for their child to play football, baseball, basketball, track, or any other sport; there would be more than just educators in the streets!

Anonymous said...

@Shamash: I made a 790 on my Math SAT and I teach 3rd grade in CMS. Just sayin. There are a few of us with some math skills teaching elementary school.

Wiley Coyote said...


I was looking at the number of people with very high salaries listed under the Chief Information Office department in the database, not the PR department.

The Chief Information Office has 94 employees with salaries totalling $5,664,265.

Is $5.6 million in salaries for 94 employees in the CIO department needed?

Does the CIO department need 9 Help Desk Coordinators making up to $53,000 per year, with the average being $39,366?

Wiley Coyote said...


Many parents are already picking up the tab for their kids to play sports while others get to play for free.

The ridiculous pay to play scheme CMS implemented a few years ago should be stopped. In fact, all sports should be shelved and the money put into the classroom.

Anonymous said...

The PRAXIS 1is what undergrads are required to take before they are admitted into the teacher education program. They must pass Praxis one BEFORE they are allowed to take any education methods classes. Passing Praxis two is required for licensure in NC and also satisfies the requirement of being "highly qualified" for NCLB.

Alicia, would you share your source for the Praxis statistics? I haven't seen that info before.

CharlotteObserver said...

As long as you can depend on the Observer to be fair and balanced, we can expect to see nothing but stories just like this one over and over again. Enjoy folks.

Anonymous said...

But Wiley, without sports many kids would have "no reason to be in school"...

Maybe not such a bad thing, eh?

Wiley Coyote said...


Sports obviously had no bearing in the 15 point turnaround at West Charlotte so yes, they can be eliminated.

The only problem is, the CMS Board of Education is collectively too chicken to do it.

It's the same status quo BS that keeps perpetuating itself.

Anonymous said...


Praxis stats can be found through ETS (Educational Testing Service). The report I read breaks down scores according to race, educational attainment, socio-economic status, and also college majors since it is becoming more common for people to attain a state teaching license lateral entry. I'm working towards my elementary education license as a post-baccalaureate student. The report I read primarily discussed the achievement gap on the Praxis 1 exam between whites and African-Americans. White candidates (if I remember correctly so please don't take these numbers at face value) have about an 80% chance of passing the Praxis 1 on their first try. African-American candidates have about a 40% chance of passing the Praxis 1 exam on their first try. Those who pass the Praxis 1 on their first try have a significantly higher chance of passing the Praxis 2. You can be exempt from taking the Praxis 1 exam at many colleges by submitting minimum ACT or SAT scores. I believe the minimum ACT score which exempts candidates from taking the Praxis 1 is a 24 at most schools. My 1981 SAT scores were too old to quality for exemption so I had to take the Praxis 1 which I passed the first time.


Anonymous said...

You get what you pay for. If you want the "best and brightest" to become teachers, you need to pay enough to attract the best and brightest.

Why are so many people leaving the teaching profession? You can pay people like crap or you can treat people like crap; but you can't do both!

Shamash said...


Here's one...

Performance and Passing Rate Differences of African American and White Prospective Teachers on Praxis[TM] Examinations: A Joint Project of the National Education Association (NEA) and Educational Testing Service (ETS). Research Report. ETS RR-11-08

Of course, this doesn't include those who were exempted via high SAT scores...

Shamash said...

Oh, and for comparison purposes, many schools exempt folks from the Praxis I if they have adequate ACT or SAT scores.

In NC a SAT score of 1100 on Math and Verbal together (with at least a 550 in Math) exempts you from taking the Praxis I.