Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Education activism gears up

After last year's legislative session brought sweeping changes to public education,  no one wants to get caught napping this year.  Here's a sampling of groups that will be pushing their causes and offering reports as local governments and the General Assembly begin their 2014-15 budget talks.

Moral Monday protest last July
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators and Mecklenburg ACTS,  along with teacher associations from surrounding counties,  are sponsoring a rally for teachers and public education at noon Saturday at Marshall Park.  The goals appear to be broad,  such as  better pay and respect for teachers,  as well as undoing "damage done"  last year.  Click here for details.

Meck ACTS is also pushing for changes in the state Read to Achieve program and a reduction in standardized testing.

MeckEd is pushing a  "Get on the Bus"  advocacy campaign that's focused on Mecklenburg and state budgets. The group's online toolkit includes stats that can be used for making points,  tips and contacts for lobbying elected officials and a #onthebusNC hash tag for social media.

CarolinaCAN,  the relatively new NC offshoot of 50CAN,  has posted a 2014 policy agenda that includes changes to teacher pay and the charter school system.  The group carries weight with some of the GOP leaders who will be making decisions in Raleigh.

The Raleigh-based Public School Forum of North Carolina keeps tabs on the state legislature and is pushing teacher compensation proposals that are also backed by the state PTA,  Professional Educators of North Carolina,  N.C. Association of Educators,  N.C. Association of School Administrators,  N.C. School Boards Association and the N.C. Justice Center.

Local families rally for teachers in November
Meanwhile,  NCAE has a  "We Heart Public Schools"  campaign going and is planning a  "day of action"  for May 14,  when the legislature convenes.

Mecklenburg teachers and parents are among a new coalition of  "teachers and their allies"  following legislative actions on

CMS lawyer Jonathan Sink says he also plans to revive and update his legislative blog once the session cranks up.

Some will note that this list is heavy on critics of the budget passed by the GOP majority last year and may see that as a sign of my personal agenda.  In fact,  it's more about the nature of these things:  The folks who have power use it and the folks who don't try to sway things their way.  It looks like we'll get competing GOP visions for boosting teacher pay today.  I'm heading to Greensboro to hear one from Gov. Pat McCrory,  while my colleagues at the News & Observer will check in on one coming from Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and Sen. Jerry Tillman at a legislative committee meeting.  Stay tuned.


Larry said...

We all know that this is window dressing, keeping our schools from any real change.

The folks who use to be at CMS are now in nonprofits which do nothing but support the status quo.

Sadly the Kids and their futures are the real hostages in this battle for just more and more money, not results.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...


Attended today's monthly CMS Intergovernmental Relationships Committee.

9AM Room 528 at the Ed Center Uptown.

Same building as the semi monthly Board meetings, but on the 5th floor. Take the elevator to the 5th floor, sign-in.

One of the great advantages of attending is getting a copy of the Board's legislative agenda and hearing the point by point updates on each.

It's an open meeting.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

Sounds like this female blogger is fanning the flames equivalent to a similar radical leftist community activist named Obama. Bad choice of words for title.
Somebody must be upset Tillis won and will kick the Obama minion Hagen out of the saddle who voted 97% of the time for her incompetent in chief who fans the flames on all race problems with his big mouth.

Not once did Hagen try to get federal raises for teachers from Obama who has been spending like a drunken sailor doubling the 10 trillion debt to 20 trillion in his first term and not a dime going to teachers pay. Yet he pretends to support education?
But lets not tell the truth about all this.

Kind of weird too that Obama/Hagen never breathed a word about the monster albatross pro sports racket costing the masses trillion in cable advertising and salaries that run as high as 50 million each with endorsements?
All of this is paid for by You Know Who aka 300 million legal citizens.

Republican control of DC will end the rape of the masses by these pro sports rackets and outlaw cable contracts.

The laughable teacher raises proposed currently is less than peanuts compared to 14 hour work days 10 months a year while pro athletes hyped as gods in this media outlet work 3-4 months 16 times on Sundays.

Where are the decent federally funded teacher raises Sen Hagen after spending 10 trillion over and above what was taken in by the IRS? Why should it all be on the states when you are doubled the deficit by 10 trillion in 4 yrs?

Wake County observer

Pamela Grundy said...

Now that Thom Tillis has won the Republican nomination for Senator, voters will have the opportunity to see how serious he is about education issues. Actions speak louder than words.

If education is a priority for him, and for the other members of the General Assembly, they will act to stop the drain of teachers from NC schools, as well as end Read to Achieve and other programs, such as A-F school grading, that have exacerbated the problems of testing and test prep in our schools.

Voters should let their representatives know about the importance of education, and watch carefully to see what the General Assembly does.

If you have children at an elementary school and are dealing with the problems of Read to Achieve, please write your representatives about the grim realities of this program, and encourage others to do the same.

Wiley Coyote said...

Stand in the front of the Ed Center, pull out your wallet and empty the contents into your hand. Wad up the cash and with your best Nolan Ryan fastball pitch, throw the money at the building.

There. You've protested and done exactly what will happen no matter who is in power, Democrat or Republican.

At least YOU get the satisfaction of throwing money at the problem yourself instead of a politician doing it.

Anonymous said...

How about educators (adults) make some common sense decisions for our children? Why is my son's CMS middle school showing the movie Hotel Rwanda to 7th graders? No, my son will not be participating.

Anonymous said...

Education activism, I'm all for it. CMS can start by changing the high school start times. There is virtually unanimous agreement in the research community that later start times in adolescent education would produce a positive change in adolescent learning, health and safety. The real hold up on this issue are the school athletic directors. Where are our priorities folks?

Anonymous said...

Vote for Tillis. Whatever it takes to get him out of this state. He has done enough damage to education and our once great state already. He deserves to go to Washington. I wish Berger and some of those other idiots would run for something up in Washington and take their show on the road to.

Wiley Coyote said...


Bev Perdue's answer to improving education was to throw more money at the problem instead of fixing the system.

During her campaign, she pledged no new taxes, yet raised the sales tax and other taxes totalling $1 BILLION dollars.

She wanted a sales tax increase instead of cutting fat.

Also during her campaign she stated she would: "propose a constitutional amendment to make sure that lottery funds stay dedicated to education".

Just one month after being sworn in, Perdue wound up raiding the lottery twice - the first time for $50 million dollars to be used for other state services. She raided the Lottery again the next year with both raids totalling $110 million dollars.

Perdue also froze teacher pay.

Yeah, let's get Tillis out of the state and get more status quo politicians in power to continue throwing good money after bad.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, status quo is better than regressive. You must be one that supports raising taxes on the middle class so the rich can get a cut. Bottom line is they cut revenue on top of an already fragile economy. Yep, that is pure genius....if your goal is to give and give some more to the wealthy. Don't make this partisan, I'm a middle class Republican that is fed up with my child's school being make a scapegoat because they want me to take my child to a charter or private school. I like my little old neighborhood school and I want proper funding for it. That's all...nothing more, nothing less.

WeLikeItThatWay said...

My wife is in CMS. Has been for 18 years. I take my hat off to her.

Could my family use more income. Sure.

But I for one do not want them to throw good money after bad at a problem.

Right now across the board in CMS the failure rate is so incredibly high....

So less than half of the population is at level for anything.

You should get compensated for a job done well....

if that many kids are failing.... then we aren't doing anything right.

Throwing money at my wife is pleasant but it will fix nothing.

There should be clear goals. If your kids are at level. And you do your job 2 terms in a row you should get a raise. (showing that it is your norm to over achieve and care... not just show up for the raise) You get a bonus.

They fail you fail.....

There should be accountability in what we do from the top of CMS to the Janitor that helps clean the halways.

Wiley Coyote said...


Being a Republican makes you partisan.

I'm unaffiliated and don't subscribe to either party platform.

I am fiscally conservative. I'm not against spending money, but believe money spent should be targeted and scrutinized for its designated use and any abuse or fraud met with swift consequences.

Interesting you say taxes shouldn't be cut in a fragile economy, but others say raising taxes in a fragile economy is not the thing to do either.

Still others say a combination of spending cuts and tax increases is the best approach long-term.

Who is trying to make you send your kids elsewhere? Your neighborhood school is yours to make anyway you want.

I disagree with Pamela Grundy on many issues, but one thing I will say is that if you're looking for a textbook case of how to support the school your children attend, she's it...

Big yellow pencil optional.

Anonymous said...

Check the teacher salary list - some teachers are overpaid, some underpaid.
Check administration pay - almost all are way overpaid.
The money is there - let's get it to the correct employees.

Anonymous said...

I did not say taxes should be raised. I said they should not have been cut in a fragile economy. There is a time to cut taxes and I support that in almost every case, but not here and not in the last couple of years. You chose to make it partisan when you brought up past leaders, specifically democratic ones in response to my criticism of Tillis, whom you appear to really like for some unknown reason. I let you know my affiliation only so you could see that those in his own party do not support what he (and his buddies in Raleigh)has done to this state. I would feel the same if they had a D or an R beside their name. As a fiscal conservative you should be fuming at these folks for raising your taxes so the rich could get a cut. And schools suffer in the process. Since you seem to support them so, I guess you are one of the rich who got richer as the smoke screen got thicker.

Anonymous said...

The majority of Republicans don't value education. NC voters now have a Legislature and Governor who tow the national GOP line. Anti science, anti women, anti middle class, anti minorities, etc. What you see is lip service. Nothing will substantially change.

Wiley Coyote said...

I brought up past leaders, Democrats, to show both parties are hypocritical on taxes, etc.

Of the top 10 richest people in congress, 7 are Democrats.

Regarding Tillis, I would much rather have him in Washington than Kay Hagan. We've seen the damage Obama and his minions have done to this country and our children's future. We can't take anymore of that.

If you want to despise the "rich" then so be it. You can tax them to death and it won't make your life any different tomorrow than it is today.

As far as being rich, I'm FAR from it. 14 years ago due to some really awful circusmstances within a 2 month period of time, my wife and I both lost our jobs and our cars. Mine was a company car, hers a lease when an ILLEGAL hit her, totaled her car and he had no insurance. I was 46 and my son was 7 at the time. When my wife went back to work after the accident, she and her assistants were let go due to cutbacks. A $142,000 household income gone in about 8 weeks.

Try taking all that on. We could have easily declared bankruptcy but didn't. We used what little savings we had and that was gone in no time. We paid our bills, I worked two part time jobs while looking for work as did my wife.

It took me almost 8 months to get full time work making about half what I was making and the same for my wife.

We fought back and just within the past couple of years are back to a point where we can save a little money.

So I cringe everytime I hear someone whine about what they make or should be getting paid.

I fume when educrats and politicians say we need more money for education when BILLIONS are wasted in entitlement programs such as Bright Beginnings, More at Four, The National School Lunch Program, Race To The Top, tying teacher compensation to needless testing, keeping open schools that need to be closed and so on and so on and so on.

The dismal state of public education, especially in NC, didn't happen overnight or when Republicans took over this state. It's been going on for decades.

Anonymous said...

to "we like it that way",
I agree, there should be accountability with regards to children's education and let's start with the PARENTS!

Like one poster said,my family is also Republican, this is not partisan, we love our local neighborhood schools and just want them and the techers to be treated fairly and with respect. Secondaly, I realize that most of the people who post on this blog live in the CMS region, but please stop equating all of traditional public education with CMS. My kids attend KCS schools and we couldn't be happier, our children are excelling. I am sure there are many who feel the same way about their local school system.

Shamash said...

"The money is there - let's get it to the correct employees."

The larger the bureaucracy, the more likely those at the top "justify" their large salaries.

Smaller districts would mean smaller salaries for fewer administrators with smaller fiefdoms.

And most likely get the same job done (as far as educating the children goes) for less.

You don't find too many studies touting the cost effectiveness of school districts having 100,000+ students.

In fact, I haven't found a single one. If anyone else HAS, please let me know.

The most I've seen is around 25,000.

Of course, you'll never hear the brass at CMS say anything about THAT.

Anonymous said...

Why not, seventh grade is a good age to learn the horrors of man. Have to let the bird fly sooner or later. We where watching holocaust films by 7th grade..

Anonymous said...

Bev is gone Wiley, Tillis has been in control with burger since 2011.. Please stop talking about her. Its like Obama talking about bush, get's old. I'll vote for him over Hagen but it has nothing to do with Bev.

Anonymous said...

I would agree if the individual student didn't play a role. Milton Friedman, talked about education being an individual choice. When I here teachers talk about student success, I usually hear, "that student worked hard". Education is a choice. I believe much of the teacher bashing in the last decade has come from a place of confusion. If a teacher is doing nothing, fine, fire them. If a teacher is teaching, the student should be learning. If a student choices to sleep, not read text, be absent or use drugs, the student has made a choice. The confusion comes when young adults or parents in early childhood make poor choices and expect a different outcomes. The "blame someone else tactic" is nothing new. We see it all over our modern society. The great generation believed in freedom, choices and personal accountability. Today we blame the other guy. I also believe we cuddle our children to much. 40 years ago it was not uncommon for a 10 year old to drive a team of mules or a tractor. Today we cry about wood chips at playgrounds being to hard.

Anonymous said...

I agree smash, I also agree with parents being happy with their children's school. I think smaller systems are better. The mega districts are to big. I don't see what the benefits are. 80% of CMS parents are happy. I am happy with my sons school. We use the online system to check his progress and make sure he completes his homework. When he was struggling in math, he stayed after with his teacher. I didn't have such an option growing up. Teachers do way more then they did when I was a kid. What bothers me is all the teachers we are loosing. Is Mcorys new plan going to help now? Are teachers going to have to wait much longer for significant raise's? I don't think, 1-2% is going to get the job done.

Wiley Coyote said...


Bev is brought up to make a point regarding other comments. She is relevant when talking about the recent history of education in NC.

Anonymous said...

Ya, but how long can you go to that well? It was the start and middle of the great recession. Did the lottery money she used got to saving teachers jobs? IDK, but it's time for Burger, Tillis and Mcory to take some accountability. Time will tell.

Zoolander said...

80% of CMS parents are happy, say what? I'll believe that number just like I believe the 81% graduation rate number.

Anonymous said...

CMS needs to get creative and cut some of the high paid admin staff. Heath would have some credibility then with his staff.

And while they're at it, cut 25% (that's 4-8 buses per school)of the buses running in the south charlotte area, where 50% of students are being driven/picked up to school on a daily basis (at ES, MS and HS). It is a total waste of money to have buses driving all over the county with a handful of students on them.

Anonymous said...

The data is there.

Larry said...

This might help with the confusion over satisfaction at CMS

Anonymous said...

Larry @ 7:22pm - thanks, I checked my son's suburban CMS middle school on the great schools website. 60% satisfaction rate, that sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

Wasted spending on education?

Nothing here, move on !

Right past the trillions wasted on the war on drugs and the war on poverty.

Unknown said...


In the past CMS has had some great examples of staff, teachers and administrators being overpaid.

In 2006 I visited a school and found a principal who I swear was watching the second hand of the clock tick down to retirement. That was in the second week of September.

The most critical role outside of finance and superintendent, HR, has been a disaster forever. Either no experience in the field, no sense of the job, unqualified or a good person in over their head. That experience with the south Charlotte teacher lied to and wrongfully forced out took the cake.

Until two years ago, the legislative lobbyist position was a necessary evil that got CMS nothing.

The money spends on Weighted Student Staffing is a terrible waste. The proof is that CMS turned over the management of nine WSS schools to an Educational Foundation with little educational background.

And last? All of the effort that has been put into complaining about and fighting Charters is surely the worst use of taxpayer dollars.

For some time, there has been recognition that over-weighting the pre-K through 3rd grade budget is the best way to lower the cost of middle and high schools. I see this applied equally at all family income levels. I would hope everyone agrees this is the area that should never be impacted by a thin budget.

Maybe one day, after all the dust is settled over K-12 funding, the state and CMS can create pre-K policy based on good data.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

Teachers in this state are under paid. I am a conservative but see the need for a republic to have a strong education. Really I think we never need to go back to the basics. Get rid of administration altogether. Tell DC to go to .... Schools where best when you had kids and a teacher. When a teacher looked at you and said "Mr., your daddy sat in that same chair and he listened. You better fallow his lead." Have individual townships come up with buildings and let the teachers teach. Federal intrusion and administration started this mess. Teachers should judge and observer each other. This state is a strange bird. Why all the hatred towards teachers? Coming from out of state, NC had a good reputation for education. Living here, you would think the whole systems in shamble's. I like my kids school. Their teachers work hard.

Anonymous said...


What a JOKE at the county meeting last night. There is only ONE way to make anyone listen to you that has the power to change anything.


Shamash said...

You'll never get an accurate "satisfaction" rating without a proper survey.

None of these self-selected surveys are worth a thing.

So pick your own "percentage", you're just as likely to be right.

Anonymous said...

Now, now people. Calm down. We have intelligent, educated people in charge. Everything will be alright.

Anonymous said...

Money maybe there but it doesn't seem to be getting to teachers.