Friday, December 13, 2013

CMS watching the clock, making its list

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials are hustling to name the 25 percent of teachers who qualify for small state raises by the June deadline,  but they say they expect  --  even hope for  --  last-minute changes.

This summer,  the state legislature ordered school districts across North Carolina to select 25 percent of the teachers who meet experience and proficiency standards and offer them four-year contracts and $500-a-year raises.  It's part of a plan to phase out teacher tenure,  or career status,  by 2018.  (Read the CMS presentation here.)

CMS recently polled teachers on options for making the selection and plans to analyze the results before winter break.  In January,  Superintendent Heath Morrison will bring the school board his plan for making the cut,  and in May he'll bring them the list of names as required by law.

Meanwhile,  CMS lawyer Jonathan Sink said he's been talking with legislators about some of the unintended consequences of the mandate,  and they may be willing to tinker and clarify in 2014. But the session doesn't start until May,  which means any state changes would come as local districts are wrapping up their process.

For teachers there's another time pressure:  If they're offered the four-year contract,  they have to decide whether to sign away their rights to career status.  The law passed this summer says that protection will go away for everyone in 2018,  when those four-year contracts expire.  State lawmakers have appointed a task force to look at performance pay and other compensation and recruitment issues. But for now,  nobody knows what will replace the current system.

"I've seen many programs come and go.  This is going to come and go just like the others,"  said board member Joyce Waddell,  a retired teacher.

Several teachers have said it would be foolish to sign away career status protection for an uncertain future.  The N.C. Association of Educators is reportedly planning a lawsuit to challenge the elimination of tenure.

Morrison acknowledged the likelihood that a significant number of teachers who get the contract offers will say no.  He said the district's interpretation of the state mandate is that once the teachers who make up the 25 percent are chosen,  the list can't be expanded.  That means the actual number getting contracts and raises could end up well below 25 percent,  he told the board.

CMS has more than 10,000 employees who qualify as teachers under the state definition  (which includes licensed support staff such as counselors and librarians),  and almost 6,000 who meet the state eligibility standard of proficient job ratings and three consecutive years of employment.  According to this week's presentation,  that means CMS will be able to offer contracts to about 1,500 people.


Anonymous said...

Drag it out.

What else does CMS do?

BolynMcClung said...
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BolynMcClung said...

If I were Dr. Morrison, I'd not worry about who is in the top twenty-five percent. I'd spend my time with the following Common Core math problem.

There is a school that has only four teachers. All the teachers were hired the same day. All have master degrees. All are National Board certified.

Teacher 1's students were all 4's, made straight A's.
Teacher 2's students were all 4's, made straight A's.
Teacher 3's students were all 4's, made straight A's.
Teacher 4's students were all 4's, made straight A's.

Teacher 1 got a multi-year contract and was promised a bonus,
Teacher 2 got no contract and no bonus
Teacher 3 got no contract and no bonus
Teacher 4 was put on probation.

Explain why teachers 2, 3 and 4 got the better deal.

Hint: After 1 year only one teacher was working at the school.

Bolyn McClung

bobcat99 said...

What an absolute disaster for teacher morale. Most of the teachers who accept these contracts will do so because they have no other place to go. That means teachers who can't move or those near retirement anyway. The more mobile teachers will go somewhere where they can get some respect. Most superintendents across the state are just shaking their heads. If things do not improve in Raleigh, look for Morrison to leave.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, how did it come to this? It makes no sense, yet here we are.

This is a result of too much government in Education.

Anonymous said...

All this trouble for 50.00 (pretax) a month! Most will surely turn it down. Just have a lottery and be done with it. This is what happens when lawmakers who haven't stepped in a school since the Beatles were around try to meddle.

Anonymous said...

If so many teachers meet or exceed fully successful and exemplary why are we only at about 50% on grade level ??? Ratings should be a real reflection not a popularity contest

Anonymous said...

Wow - a whole $500 a year. Party time!

Shamash said...

Anon 10:39.

My guess is that there are problems on the other side of the education equation.

I still think there is a lot of underused capacity in students and parents.

But who holds THEM responsible nowadays?

Anonymous said...

What DA comes up with these ideas.
and I do not mean District Attorney.

Why would anyone accept that offer.

Shamash said...


I was never good at multiple guess.

Was teacher 4 (the one on probation) the one left at the end of the year?

My reasoning is that the other three were competent enough for other jobs and the fourth couldn't be fired for "diversity" reasons.

(Gee, I hope that wasn't too "pithy").

Pamela Grundy said...

Of course, the challenge with multiple guess is that the "right" answer often depends on the test-taker's prejudices and predilections. I'd guess that teacher 1 stayed, and the other three left for better jobs.

Pamela Grundy said...

The whole thing is an example of what happens when policy-makers don't consult with folks on the ground (as with the crazy RTTT testing policies). I predict that if there are any takers it will be people just a couple of years from retirement, which is pretty much the opposite of what the legislature wanted to accomplish.

Shamash said...

Well, if teachers really didn't like these shenanigans, then none of them would take it.

If anyone takes it, then it just undermines them all.

But maybe they don't have a choice.

However, if you have four equally qualified and equally effective employees and reward them differently (and everyone knows it), something's eventually gonna break.

(Again, no "right" answers, just my prejudices speaking.)

Also, the local decision makers could just decide to exclude anyone within X years of retirement if they wanted, so teachers near retirement might not even get the offer no matter how they rank.

I think the whole thing sounds like a disaster for teacher morale as well.

BolynMcClung said...

To Shamash:

Pam Grundy had the correct answer. The better economic package was offered to 2, 3 and 4.

She gets bonus points for using Common Core logic to explain the answer.

She gets double bonus points for suggesting teachers and administrators know how to game the system.

I also give Joyce Waddell points for saying the obvious.

Bolyn McClung

Pamela Grundy said...


Your talents would have been wasted on the school board. I predict a bright and far more lucrative future as a test consultant : ) Happy holidays to you and yours.

Anonymous said...


No response or any statement in regards to the PowerSchool mess with teachers,parents and gradebooks ?

I hear the high school seniors cannot even get their transcripts to send to the colleges. Any investigation into that subject?


Shamash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The third paragraph in the article states that CMS polled employees. In reality, employees received an email with a link to an unsecured survey which could be filled out multiple times using the same link. Wonder which educrat sat downtown and answered the survey hundreds or thousands of times to skew the results the way CMS wanted. This happens with many CMS surveys. Don't trust the results of this so-called poll.

Shamash said...


Sorry, but my bidness training must have clouded my thinking.

I was thinking of the opportunity costs for remaining a teacher (if you are the least bit competent at anything else), considering the weak payout for staying in the game.

And I was also taking into account the risk-averse reactions of CMS management to lawsuits.

And, of course, in standard economic terms, I was also assuming that these were rational players working in their best self-interest.

(Oh well, I have been accused of "over-thinking" answers on multiple choice questions before...)

Next time I'll try Common Core logic.

And perhaps a Pearsons test-prep course.

My bad...

Anonymous said...

A "close to retirement" teacher should NOT take this offer. By waiving the right to "Career Status (NOT TENURE)for a meager $500 dollars makes it WAY to easy for the State and district to "get rid of" the highest paid teachers and hire more TFA's for peanuts. The 25 plus year veteran then finds him/herself cheated out of the full retirement pension. No due process when you waive your status. Essentially a $500 buyout offer. Crazy stuff.

Anonymous said...

Tillis explained that voting to take away teachers’ rights while they slept was convenient and should have come as no surprise. Donna Hayes, local NCAE president, responded that “Anything that happens at 1 o’clock in the morning is a surprise because, normally, people do not do business that way.

I am a conservative, I vote for conservatives. I have always distrusted liberals because of there tactics. LATE NIGHT SNEAK ATTACK VOTING IS NOT CONSERVATIVE. men of truth work in the light of day. This carpet bagging,mountain bike park, building beltway boy must go. He does not represent conservatives or North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

Teachers and opportunity cost equals them leaving for an assistant manager job at Burger King.

Just ask the teacher of the year how much money and opportunity he left on the table by staying a teacher. Best and Brightest ?

You may get a very small percentage of "BEST" to work for you CMeS. The ones that do however are surely not the "BRIGHTEST". Explain how anyone with student debt would work for you?

Anonymous said...

I wonder why only the first year of the $500 "bonus" is funded?

same as it ever was....

Anonymous said...


PowerSchool down again. Still no comment.

Anonymous said...

Teachers are already dismayed. It will be interesting to see how CMS handles the student fighting the substitute at Harding High. To ignore it sends another message of disregard to teachers and others who work with our students.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:27

When discussions take place on the topics of teacher morale and student achievement the one common thread is the lack of administrative support in properly managing severe behavior and disruption to the learning environment. The primary reason for our best teachers and students exiting the public system has little to do with money. Teachers and families who are committed to the success of our community are fed up with the ultra liberal(not in the political sense) policies used to deal with the small number of students that have led to the deterioration of our schools. As a teacher at South Meck High school I am sickened on a daily basis by the ineffective way violent and highly disruptive students are dealt with.

I truly wish this would become the focus of Ann's investigations instead of what the clowns on the school board are up to.

Wiley Coyote said...


As with most things related to public education, common sense is non-existent.

Administrators and BOEs are impotent when it comes to discipline. All one has to do is look at the expulsion stats for the state and see that.

Below are examples of no common sense in the worst way.

~ Jordan Bennett, 8, was suspended from an Osceola County school for making a gun gesture with his hand while playing with friends

~ A 6-year-old boy was suspended from his Maryland elementary school last month for making a gun gesture with his hand

~ A 5-year-old boy is suspended for making a gesture of a gun with his hand in a Grady County classroom

~ 6-year-old suspended for kissing a girl on the hand

~ A 7th-grade student in Virginia Beach, Va., suspended from school for shooting an airsoft gun in his OWN front yard

Anonymous said...

Power School was down from Sunday until Thursday. Teachers could not access it to enter grades or create progress reports. We know it was CMS-wide; was it state-wide too?

Anonymous said...

So test scores are one criteria for this new contract . . .it would be nice if I actually got to see them. As a third grade teacher I had 0 access. I had to hunt this information down. These are results from last June! My class took the reading BOG grade test and again do I get a class report - NO. It seems to me that CMS and NC want to keep me in the dark on where I stand . . .not that I would even consider taking the contract if it was offered to me. No, I think I will follow the other 7 teachers who have resigned so far this year at my school. Ann - what about all the mid-year resignations going on??? Come on - do some real reporting! There is so much more going on at our schools than what the general public knows.

Anonymous said...

Let me explain why this system will fail and why absolutely no one at the upper state level will be held accountable. I have a major problem with students at my school coming to class late, however parents are allowed to sign students in late without any type of doctor's note. When parents sign students in it is considered excused! It is a matter of routine for 30 - 50 student per morning to come late, sometimes at late as 30 - 40 minutes. Some do this every morning.

Put two and two together. 20 times late x 30 minutes = 600 minutes = 10 hours of class time = 5 entire class periods missed = bad test scores. Who is responsible for this? Yep, you guessed it "THE TEACHER!" I will held responsible for a middle schools kid's test scores when they or their parents don't arrive to school on time. This is why I have made the choice to leave NC after this year ends. I never thought I would say it, but SC makes NC look like Mississippi in both pay and dedication to improving public education.

Anonymous said...

Citizens of North Carolina, wake up! Realize that public education is being made a dumping ground for poor and under-performing students. Private school vouchers for public school students???? What poor kid do you know who can take the 4,000+ thousand dollars in vouchers and afford Charlotte Latin at 20,000 per year? Where will these poor kids get the other 16,000? Republicans have made this a tax break for the wealthy families who run from problems and shelter in private schools. The bill was never, I repeat never passed to improve public education.

Anonymous said...

Ratings are not true ratings. Teachers should not be held responsible for factors that are out of their control....

the parent who decides not to give their child the medication that enables them to focus on the day of the test,

as mentioned earlier excessive absences and tardies,

students who have no support at home and don't believe they can pass so they have a "why bother" attitude,

students who have no rules or regulations at home and decide to stay up until midnight or later the night before the test,

students who begin the year more than a year below grade level...

Until you can find a way to factor out all those types of variables, you can't seriously expect all students to magically be on grade level at the end of the year.

Anonymous said...

Re: 8:14's comments....Could someone please find out what happens to the voucher money that is not used?

Just because a student has voucher money doesn't necessarily guarantee acceptance into a private school does it? Or is the State going to mandate that private schools admit everyone?

Oh, wait, would that make them not private any more? Hummmm....

Anonymous said...

Lateness, students who act out, and Power School being down are major problems for CMS more than the public realizes. It's scarey how that student knocked that teacher to the floor at Harding! This is why CMS is having difficulties keeping substitutes. Teachers are constantly covering for other classes during their planning periods.

Anonymous said...

Back to the subject at hand. You will undermine your staff with this minimal "bonus" and lose more teachers than keep. This is really a non factor in the grand view of offering a quality education. Fumble! Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

I didn't see the Harding substitute incident in the news.