Thursday, July 3, 2014

Student assignment, crime and moving vans

A couple of recent academic studies provide intriguing looks at the impact of  "resegregation"  in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools 12 years after the district gave up race-based student assignment.

In a newcomer-rich community like this one, the 2002 demise of court-ordered desegregation and the long legal battle that led up to it may seem like ancient history.  But researchers take the long view,  and both papers used years of individual data for CMS students before and after the switch to a race-neutral system.

For those who missed it,  CMS used school boundaries to achieve racial balance from the 1970s to the 1990s.  At that point,  magnets began to play a growing role in efforts to encourage voluntary desegregation.  Lawsuits by white families seeking to end race-based assignment  led to the end of court-ordered desegregation. The ensuing assignment plans, which combine neighborhood schools and magnets, created a rapid and dramatic increase in mostly-black and mostly-white schools. (Both papers give a more detailed history.)

"School Segregation,  Educational Attainment and Crime:  Evidence From the End of Busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg"  draws a striking conclusion:  The strongest,  most lasting impact of sending students to high-poverty,  mostly-minority schools is a rise in crime among minority males who live in poverty.

"The results show clearly that it is the combination of race and income segregation that leads to 
increases in crime.  Minority males have significantly more arrests and days incarcerated when they are assigned to schools with more poor minorities.  However, we find no impact on crime of being assigned to schools with more non-poor minorities or poor non-minorities,"  says the study by Stephen Billings  (UNC Charlotte),  David Deming  (Harvard Graduate School of Education)  and Jonah Rockoff  (Columbia University Graduate School of Business).  It's published in the February issue of The Quarterly Journal of Economics, but the link above takes you to an earlier working paper you can read free.

The report also found negative academic impacts on all groups assigned to such schools,  but found that those disadvantages faded over time.  "Our results suggest that equal or greater resources combined with active policy efforts may be able to reduce the impact of school segregation on academic outcomes, but not for crime,"  the report says. "To the extent that crime is driven by social context and peer interactions,  it will be difficult for schools to address racial and economic inequality through means other than deliberately integrative student assignment policies."


"Does School Policy Affect Housing Choices?  Evidence From the End of Desegregation in Charlotte-Mecklenburg"  acknowledges that housing patterns shape the racial composition of schools.  It then examines a follow-up:  Does student assignment also affect housing decisions?

The conclusion:  Yes  --  for a relatively small number of white families.

The study by David Liebowitz  (Harvard University)  and Lindsay Page  (University of Pittsburgh)  found that African American and Hispanic families are more mobile than white ones,  and their moving patterns didn't change significantly when student assignment changed. But they found differences for white families after 2002,  when moving became a practical way to seek a higher-quality neighborhood school,  "even if one criterion was racial homogeneity of the school."

Even during race-based assignment,  whites who moved  "exhibited a strong preference for communities that were less integrated than their starting community."  After 2002,  the researchers found,  "White families were much more likely to select into a Whiter but worse performing zone than their current one.  However,  they were no more likely to select into a Whiter and academically stronger neighborhood than before the new assignment policy."  Despite those trends,  the researchers found that the numbers were too small to affect the district's overall level of segregation.

Please note that I am simplifying two long,  complex papers about touchy subjects.  There's no way to crunch some combined 80 pages of academic analysis into a blog post and catch all the nuances.  I can't find a free version of the second article,  which is published in the American Educational Research Journal, so it may be tough to read the full thing.  Just know that both papers contain a more sophisticated analysis than I can summarize here.


Anonymous said...

Should have read, "The conclusion: Yes -- for a relatively small number of white AND BLACK families." Our neighborhood has great schools and blacks move into it IF they can afford it so their kids go to these schools which are filled to over capacity. Come one now ....

Wiley Coyote said...

Did they just change the dates on these papers from 1970 to 2014?

Same excuses then as now.

All the while districts like CMS are running out of White people to compare against and blame for the ills of minorities.

Do you know if they plan on doing the same study in Chicago and Detroit?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:26, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest your neighborhood was not part of the study.

But, your point is well made.

There was a time, just a couple of generations ago, that most parents of all races, considered education as the stepping stone to a better future. And the children of these parents were pushed to do well in school. Now for many parents, that no longer seems to be true. Whatever happened to that notion?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, the demographic make up of CMS schools almost ensures that CMS is going to struggle when compared to surrounding schools systems. It's depressing to see what has happened to so many historic schools around Charlotte, most of which are now in pathetic shape.

Take back our schools said...

Seriously? You expect us with any history and personal experience with CMS and UNCC to take this report seriously? UNCC has always been the lapdog to CMS and integration policies. They take pride in the circle of backslapping, consultants feeding from the taxpayer's trough, etc.

There was even one UNCC professor who mischaraterized data from the original trial in the 1999 trial that the judge had to call down.

CMS's policies after the 2002 began deplorable when it came to education. Despite tons of extra money thrown down the drain at urban schools, rarely did any results even show for it much less rise to the standard of any ROI. CMS systematically strangled learning opportunities in the suburban neighborhoods so families moved to where there was enough of them in a school that they could deploy more of their personal resources to make up for the clear CMS violation of the state constitution for providing a solid education for these suburban children.

The conditions of the neighborhoods spoken to in this study has more to do with the exodus of solid middle class black fmailies from these neighborhoods. These "criminals" became more agressive with the exodus of solid role models and the increasing in number of the single female households. The increase in crime we are seeing has more to do with the decreasing number of grandmothers in these neighborhoods who have become the "raiser" of thes children.

Anonymous said...

As a student during Busing in Boston forced desegregation bothered me I went to a predominately Black Junior High and then on to a public admissions school were many of my friends also attended. Fast forward I moved to Charlotte in 06 with 2 babies they started school in 2010 2011 school year. The school is named after the community where we live. 1st year the school was balanced 2nd year the school had demographics of 37% light skinned 55% dark skinned (my kids definition of color) 2012-2013 school year the ratio was 17% 74% I don't know what the ratio was this past year since we chose to attend another school. This happened while the community was still growing. The PTA 2 years ago raised about 10k last school year they may have raised 3k. There are a lot of good kids at this school and some great teachers but there are way to many EC children per teacher ratio. The teachers are spending more time dealing with the EC children because they don't have help in the classroom. Much of the change happened because there were parents that sold for a loss so they could move to Fort Mill and claim it wasn't because of the school makeup. Others lost their homes because of jobs etc but most bailed because of CMS and their practices. We choose to drive our kids to a Charter that is 20 miles each way away. No public transportation and no free meals Parents have to be committed and are expected to contribute to the school. I hate the fact that this is what I need to do to ensure my kids get a good education. The way I see it CMS is the problem with bloated supervisors making $130k plus per year and not returning parents emails, visiting their assigned schools etc. If you want to fix the schools get the teachers the help they need in the classrooms so that they are not constantly being disrupted by children that really need to have their EC needs met

Anonymous said...

thank you, "Take back our Schools" for your post.

And to another person's question, as to what happened with the parents. I will give you my opinion as to what happened, the breakdown of traditional family unit, especially in the African American community. Until this culture changes, this community is destined to struggle.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I'm not sure people will be able to see this photo -- I'm just getting a spinning circle -- but they can try.

Anonymous said...

One of the many cartoons upset about the elimination of busing. Busing is a educational solution that doesn't work (and never did). Spreading a problem out doesn't actually solve the problem. Still, you can see in the cartoon the anger of liberals in 1999. Bill James - County Commission

Anonymous said...

10:15, that's an interesting link. I heard some similar comments when the TBF met with Heath Morrison. However, I wasn't all that surprised. In the 12 years I've been covering education I've always heard people in the black community talk about the importance of family and community support for children and education. It's just that many of them think that doesn't preclude the need for additional support or action from the public school system.

bobcat99 said...

This is a difficult issue to parse. It is also a difficult issue personally. I don't like living in a largely segregated section of the county (Matthews). One difficult issue for me is the overt and covert racism I encounter here on a frequent basis. I'm white and have a rural accent so I guess some folks think I am "safe" to be open with. But I love it that my child attends schools in our area. The schools are good, yes, but I also like knowing neighborhood parents and their kids, watching the kids grow up alongside my child, and the sense of community that comes from having a neighborhood school. The only answer I can think of is to build up the bad schools. But I'm running out of space.

Wiley Coyote said...


To the point; additional support for "those schools", how much in the way of money and like kind have we as a country spent/given in support over the past four decades?

It's like Bright Beginnings. How much more money and how much longer are taxpayers going to have to fund this program and others like it?

I'm all for extra funding for those who need it, but at some point, hard choices are going to have to be made to stop the continued enabling of the public education system as it has been for years.

The extra funding and hopeful thinking that by 2014 people getting help will then "get it" and pass "it" down to subsequent generations, would greatly reduced the amount of extra funding being spent.

It hasn't.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Larry gauvreau' lasting legacy is that he asked for and received as a parting favor for his neighborhood to be reasoned to the 97 percent white hough high school. He threw all of his , and bill and Jim's , lasting "neighborhood" cause and self righteous mandate out the door upon stepping down from the school board. Shame shame

Anonymous said...

several years ago, a former associate/friend of mine learned a valuable lesson when purchasing a home in Charlotte, a lesson that coincides with this article.

He and his wife purchased what they thought was a really nice house in a great neighborhood ( it really was a good looking neighborhood). Since the home was being sold for less than market value, they jumped on it before researching the local schools. When they took their daughter to enroll in the local school they understood why their new home sold for well below market value, they were were one of the very few white families at that school, Steele Creek Elementary. They were not comfortable being in the extreme minority at the school (she was one of only two white children in the class) and as such, they moved within the year, but in doing so, had to rent the house, they were not able to sell it for quite some time.

one of the most crucial details most parents consider when purchasing a home is the local school.
CMS is in trouble, like Wiley has stated, 30.5% is not a good number as far as CMS is concerned. I think the new principal at North Meck is about to discover this herself with that number being 20%.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that we hear so often that AA students must have white students in their schools to do well? Do they think it better to expose AA students to white cultural values? If so, does that imply that AA cultural values are not as conducive to educational achievement as are white cultural values? If so, why should white student parents want to have their children's cultural values degraded by exposure to AA student cultural values? That is the elephant in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Like you, I am white and I would agree with you, racism is present in our community. However, it is worth noting that whites are not the only ones who are racist.

with regards to public education, I think white kids actually get the short end of the stick with regards to funding. Yet white children vastly outperform black children despite this funding discrepancy.

Take back our schools said...

12:06, I will ask your question a little differetn way. It takes white students, white parents, and white people's money for AA's to be successful?

Take back our schools said...

10:34 and others, be careful interpreting what you have read from the Charlotte Observer during the 1999 trial. Remember the editorial staff at that time was the lapdog and cheerleaders of CMS and integration. And one of their board lived in a gated community and sent their kid to a private school. They refused to print many facts presented during all the contentious student assignment hearings during the 1990's. Everyone knew the CMS BOE could only move students around regularly to hide the fact they still could not educate AA students.

Louise Woods told me to my face that they needed to keep moving my neighborhood from school to school to keep scores from looking too bad too long at any one school.

Take back our schools said...

You may want to go back and read the 1965 paper called "The Negro Family: The Case For National Action".

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the entire community in being under-served by our public education system. The black students and the white students alike.

The bureaucracy always seems to want to provide a disproportionate share of the resources to those who it feels will continue to be most dependent upon it, because that is how the bureaucracy grows its' power and influence over the population.

To the bureaucracy, providing each student their fair share of the resources is seen as a waste of resources, since the majority of the white students continue to demonstrate that they have a better chance of becoming independent of it. It's about increasing the population's dependency on the bureaucracy...

Anonymous said...

take back our schools,
you raise an interesting point, I lived on the west side for a few years during the 80's, I remember some of my fellow white classmates were bussed all the way from the Scalely Bark area (South BLVD) to attend Spaugh Middle and later Harding. During the time, there still were many white middle class families on the west side, just not enough to "balance" the numbers. By all rights, those kids should have attended either Quail Hollow or Smith jr High and then to either Olympic or South Meck.

As a parent, I will admit, I would not care to have my child bussed across town to attend school on the basis of race/balance.

Anonymous said...

I would leave the state before I bussed my child. Who wants their child ridding on a bus all day. Bussing doesn't work. The most important time in a child's life is the years before school. The latest research has come to that conclusion. All the buses in the world can't change that.

Unknown said...


Here is the authors’ one line conclusion:

“We find that the resegregation of CMS schools led to an increase in racial inequality.”


….We find that once the Unitary Decision was made, middle and upper income students no longer were subjected to classrooms where teachers were forced to teach to the lowest common denominator. The Gap widened. CMS never found enough teachers who were effective at reaching poverty students. CMS’ reluctance to force teachers to where they were needed the most was the critical, no, fatal mistake.

The CMS Board of Education’s huge failing after 1996 was to equate shiny new buildings with better education. From 1996 to 2006 CMS spent $300,000 a day – 365 days a year building mostly urban classrooms that eventually were half-filled. If only the money had gone for teachers. Imagine what $300,000 a day would have done for improving instruction.

Bolyn McClung

Shamash said...

Anon July 3, 2014 at 12:06 PM

"That is the elephant in the classroom."

Oh, you mean dragging one group down in order to "lift" another?

No one would EVER suggest doing THAT...

Shamash said...

Anon July 3, 2014 at 4:21 PM

" The bureaucracy always seems to want to provide a disproportionate share of the resources to those who it feels will continue to be most dependent upon it, because that is how the bureaucracy grows its' power and influence over the population. "

Sadly, you just might be on to something there.

I think people are wising up to this, but what to do about it?

Shamash said...

Take back our schools said

You may want to go back and read the 1965 paper called "The Negro Family: The Case For National Action".

Unfortunately, many of those problems have only spread and grown in our whole society.

So I guess we ARE more "equal" in some ways.

Wiley Coyote said...


And how did it get to that point?

Because voters get shamed into the "it's for the children" BS and vote FOR bonds nearly every time.

The $290 million in bonds for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools won 74 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting. That was the largest margin of victory for a CMS bond vote since the 73 percent approval in 1997.

In 2005, 56% voted against a $427 million dollar bond package because they felt CMS was using resources (tax dollars) inefficiently. Waddell High School was a perfect example.

Throw in Vilma Leake, George Dunlap, Larry Gauvreau and Kaye McGarry just to name a few and that also added to voter displeasure with CMS.

But of course, you know all this.

Two years later, 68% of voters approved a $516 million dollar bond package.

What do we have to show for it?

Nothing and CMS still continues down it's inefficient and ineffective path to an even larger majority minority school system.

Anonymous said...

Bolyn, Conclusion should also include:
The anger of the press, school activists, many school board members, and community "builders" over the unitary decision further fractured this community. The damage done by portraying suburbanites as selfish and probably racists continues to this day. The aforementioned led much of the public to believe that the suburbs received all the goodies (had to be true because suburban schools were doing so well, right?). It took years for them to admit that urban schools received much higher per pupil spending than the 'burbs and that possibly buildings were being improperly placed (Waddell anyone?). Hard to believe that this is all being resurrected by academics and a willing press.

Shamash said...

Bolyn McClung said July 3, 2014 at 7:48 PM...

" CMS never found enough teachers who were effective at reaching poverty students. "

Does anyone REALLY KNOW who is effective at reaching poverty students?

The only thing I've heard is that the teacher should "look like" the student.

Maybe that contradicts the other idea of putting the "best" teachers where they are needed the most.

Because the "best" may not look enough like the kids they teach.

And we all know how horrible it supposedly is for white women to teach black boys.

And so it goes...

Anonymous said...

I think many who voted for the bond believed teachers would see some of that money. I believe money could be spent better in most school districts. CMS is too big for its own good. Too many people with too many ideas and opinions. Resources need to be pushed into the classroom's. Students and teachers should be the focus. That would be real change. I think the senate has a better hold of the issue then the governor. Mcory want's to support the establishment. The Senate seems to understand that the money needs to be in the classroom. I don't understand the tenure argument. NC does not have strong teacher protection. Everyone deserves basic due process. If I knew non of the bond money went to teachers, I would not have voted for it.

Anonymous said...

In regards to earlier posts that suggest that AA's need white's in order to do well. Look no further than Phillip O'Berry and prior to that Harding University High. Both Schools did fairly well with majority AA.
Also, White parent's mask their children's learning disabilities by placing them in private schools and or sending them to Sylvan in return for a grade.

Anonymous said...

what I find ironic in this discussion is even though CMS continues to spend more money on black kids than the white kids, the achievement gap is actually growing, not shrinking. This indicates to me that much of what Bolyn and Wiley point out, is true. CMS has passed the point of diminished returns, in other words, the more they spend, the worse the results. The reason is simple, CMS has focused too heavily on minority students and as a consequence, whites have left the school system. I think some have opted for expensive private schools while others have moved to surrounding school systems. CMS is in bad shape and is almost surely going to be in much worse shape in the coming years.

Anonymous said...

I think Wiley is absolutely correct, CMS is in big trouble especially when you compare them to the surrounding school systems. CMS has lost the white middle class family for good, there are only a handful of the high schools that still serve this demographic and even there, those numbers are gradually shrinking. To be fair, I don't think this is all the fault of CMS, the city government has played a big role in the flight of the middle class, in the form of taxation for example. Families have relocated to areas where the taxes are lower and the schools look more attractive (fewer minorities).

Anonymous said...

As the parent of a very bright child who also happens to be on the high end of the autism spectrum, let me assure you that CMS is also losing this demographic; one for which the federal funding received FAR outweighs the value of any services provided.

There is NO middle school (let alone high school) in this district to which I would feel comfortable sending my child. It's a given that bright boys are mercilessly bullied and not academically challenged in the mainstream classroom. The only other alternative available within CMS is to warehouse these kids in self-contained classrooms with severely disabled children. How much learning do you think goes on there?

Perhaps worst of all, it's a rare principal at the middle or high school level who has taken the time to learn about children with autism. Many middle- and high-school principals function primarily as prison wardens with their own team of enforcers, which is why male principals are moved out of elementary schools with remarkable speed.

As there's virtually no support for these kids after 3rd grade, and they are alternately bored and bullied (and not just by other students) after 5th grade, don't look for CMS to produce the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates anytime soon.

Unknown said...

TO: Anon 12:24P

Subject: Demographic shift is City/County’s fault. Not CMS’

Nothing could be further from the truth that CMS isn’t to blame for the shift in demographics.

In 2006 when I served on the School Building Solutions Committee, I learned that there was ZERO coordination between City, County and CMS for residential growth. New building permits were approved with no CMS input. CMS was just getting started on building schools for 12 year-old developments. And nobody had a clue about all the apartment complexes that popped-up every month.

CMS should have spoken-up every time a formally stable school was crushed with a 100 unexpected students on the first day of school….and it happened every year.

The only reason things are better today is that the Great Recession killed residential growth for a while. But as you can see from this Sunday’s front page, growth is back.

This needs to be discussed. I will give CMS some credit. It worked pretty hard during preparation for the last school bond to get the county to pay attention to what it saw as the growth areas. The county gave-in a little. But the whole process was validation that in Mecklenburg, the City and County are more concerned with how much CMS is spending rather than what they are spending the money on.

Next time this subject comes-up we’ll discuss At-Large School Board member Tim Morgan’s least favorite funding subject: Impact Fees.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

6:40 PM, Berry requires the students to have passing GPA's to apply. Second, Harding in its heyday was home to one of the most challenging and rewarding academic programs in the area. And its past magnet program also required passing GPA's. There was no nonsense put up with at these schools in the past.

So your run of the mill urban student only got in if it was also the neighborhood schools. Thus was the downfall of Harding.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:40,
Harding scored 22.6% as a school in 2013 with the new common core standards. Phillip O Berry is a different matter, you are correct, they are a magnet school and they were showing great results before the common core standards came into effect, the school went from 96.1% to 50.6%. Even at 50.6% Berry is still doing twice as well as any other CMS high school the serves majority AA students.

for comparison: 2013 test results
West Charlotte, 17.4%
West Meck, 27.6
Vance , 22.1%
Garinger, 19.4%

Anonymous said...

"White parent's mask their children's learning disabilities by placing them in private schools".

Huh? How, exactly, does a parent "mask" a learning disability in public school or private school?

I wrote my 1985 Master's thesis on the topic of arts magnet schools after attending one that was founded in 1972 as an alternative to forced busing in Connecticut. I'd be curious to know how magnet schools have impacted education and crime in Charlotte. How many magnet schools in Charlotte have successfully achieved the ideal of voluntary integration and do magnets have any negative impact on traditional neighborhoods schools after the lifting of court ordered desegregation?

I'm in the running for a dream-of-a-lifetime public school teaching position in NC. The racial composition of the student body is approximately 55% white and 38% black with a 38% FRL population. The student-teacher ratio is lower than the state average and every student is assigned a personal laptop. The two day interview questions were interesting (plus challenging) and reflected the kinds of relevant questions raised in these recent studies.


Anonymous said...

Oops, Master's thesis on magnet schools was 1987. Close enough.


Anonymous said...

I don't think kids can't do the work and learn, I think its that kids DON'T do the work and learn. A culture of success in school is no longer the norm.

If the kids had a better work ethic and would actually ATTEMPT to do the work then things would be much better. I have kids fail my class in middle school simply because they will not put forth the effort. Then they laugh every time we have a conference and warn them they will fail if things don't change. When they do fail the parents scream that they didn't know or they weren't told (Documented evidence of meetings, calls etc. kills that argument) (oh and please do NOT try to read any race/ethnicity into my comment as it is prevalent across lines).

And having my effectiveness based on kids test scores. What a joke. If the kids don't care I get punished??

Anonymous said...

"A culture of success in school is no longer the norm".

I was struck in awe by the magnificent stairs leading into the remarkable edifice I desire to teach in that was built when communities took great pride in creating public schools.

Comparing this building to some of today's school buildings - that resemble nothing but penitentiaries at best - makes me think you have a point. I still think what our community allowed to happen to the building at Garringer - which was once featured in National Geographic - is a civic travesty. The irony is that the police station erected down the street is notably "state of the art". Perhaps to demonstrate to the citizens living in this neglected school part of town that the cops aren't the bad guys as they are hauling off another youth crime statistic? Shame on Charlotte.

If adults don't value public education by erecting and maintaing decent school buildings, by withholding general respect towards the educational establishment, and denying a reasonable living wage to teachers, then how do we expect children to do the same?


Anonymous said...

it is sad when you think about it, a teacher's career hangs in the balance over test scores, even worse, teachers get blamed for the failings of the parents. But I will also say, from my experience, African Americans, as a group, tend not to be as involved as other demographics are with their children's education. I have noticed this trend over several years when attending teacher/parent nights at my children's schools, at orientations too.

and to the person who was speaking about Harding, during the years when the school was a magnet school, the demographics of the school were much different then than they are now.

Anonymous said...

Is the blogger not racist and colorist for putting a picture of a black male in cuffs with a white cop on each side of him hauling him away to jail unwillingly?

What are you people trying to insinuate here other than casually and blatantly infer that only black males are criminals?

This is so stereotypical and obnoxiously disgusting clearly showing racism and or the more pc acceptable colorism. This will be also be sent immediately to Rev Jackson, Rev Sharpton, Oprah Winfrey and AG Holder.
Lets all hope there will be retribution for such outrageous media abuse.
Sensitivity classes are clearly needed here.


Anonymous said...

12:07 Alicia, I know how Magnet schools have affected the neighborhood schools, it has caused the undesirable school start times of 7:15, 7:30 and end times of 4:15 for one thing.

Anonymous said...

6:08 thanks for your insight, as you are correct. You must think long and hard to put your child in with the general prison population of CMS schools, and that would be MOST of the Middle and High schools in the system.

Anonymous said...

Alicia, I agree about the new schools. The newest high schools look like prisons or factories to me, at least from the outside. But we both remember when CMS built brick schools with towering atria and lots of windows in the 90s and got criticized for "building Taj Mahals." I think the new design is meant to say "we scrimped."

Anonymous said...

What are CMS plans to handle to overcrowding at Community house middle school and Ardry kell high schools? More homes and apartments are being built in the area, where are all these kids going to go to school?

Unknown said...

TO: ANON 9:52

The last project on the recently passed school bond is for a “Choice” middle school somewhere in the area of ZIP 28277. The schedule is 2018. The new school would specialize in the technologies and would not serve the needed purpose of general overflow.

While the building is needed, what the CMS administration is trying to do is wrong. It wants to put a magnet format school in the middle of southern Mecklenburg County. This is clearly something families don’t want.

That area supports strong neighborhood schools that rely on vigorous parental participation. Magnets don’t fit the bill.

Here’s what is likely to happen.

In 2006 the area was facing a similar problem. All bond money had been exhausted. Three elementary schools were needed. Two were built with special funding by Certificates of Participations from the BOCC. Hope I’ve got this correct. The schools are Elon and Polo Ridge. Ballantyne was also quickly built but I believe that was the new proto-type from the first round of the 2007 Bonds.

In all likelihood the BOCC will be forced to fund a middle school in the 28277 area using COPS…even though they say they won’t use that method again. It is the only timely solution. But the school must be a traditional middle school to be the best solution. Otherwise it will be filled with students from as far away as Mint Hill, Sugar Creek area and Freedom Drive.

I suggest you contact your Board of Education members and express your desire for a quick solution that provides for a traditional school that serves the neighborhood.

Both the Board chair and vice-chair are residents of District 6. Your district member is Paul Bailey.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

On CMS' Madness Magnet Choices.

Here's a thought...

How about beefing up the successful and highly unique magnet schools we already have so they are actually competing on a national level, eliminating those magnet schools that aren't working or attracting students, and putting an immediate halt on adding any additional magnet schools until we've figured out what we're really doing and how all this is affecting traditional neighborhood schools after the lifting of court ordered busing?

Are 50 choices really better than 5 choices?


Wiley Coyote said...


How about the fact Coulwood Middle STEM School and Mountain Island Elementary, or er, soon to be STEM K-8 Middle School are 8 tenths of a mile apart and MI will be using some facilities at Coulwood and MANY mobiles will be added to MI?

If you look up the definitions of wateful spending, inept planning and stupidity, this example is featured in all three definitions.

...but "it's for the children".

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the student assignment office needed something to do once they were prohibited from force busing students all over the place. This way, they can still keep them buses rolling - all over the place. Just like the good old days.

Again, I support magnet schools. I attended one. I just think CMS has too many - especially at the elementary level. How about focusing on providing a STEM program, an arts program that includes instrumental music, and a foreign language program at EVERY neighborhood elementary school? Waddell Language Academy and Montessori schools make sense to me because they truly offer unique programing. Don't get me going on the "traditional" magnet in Myers Park or the IB "magnet" that only allows students who live in Myers Park (and across the street from Calvary Church on Hwy. 51) to attend - "due to overcrowding". I also prefer full magnets to the extensive mish-mash of partial magnets. If I ever work towards a doctorate, I can pick up where I left off on the topic of magnet schools.


Wiley Coyote said...


I support magnets as you do.

The new Charlotte Engineering Early College High School at UNCC is a perfect example of what CMS needs to be doing more of in addition to more vocational offerings.

The engineering program is somewhat similar to what I did back in 1970, when I signed up for an electronics program for the 10th, 11th and 12th grades.

If you were enrolled in that program, you have an excellent chance of being hired out of high school and going to work at Southern Bell as an apprentice and then onto full time employment. That was a great opportunity back then.

We also both agree that CMS wastes entirely too much money shuffling aroung and dabbling in some magnets just for appearance and placating.

The MIE/Coulwood example is a perfect example.

Anonymous said...

Cato Middle College is another example of CMS doing something right although, in this case, the definition of "magnet" is hybrid. It's a good thing CPCC and UNCC are expanding this successful concept.


Anonymous said...

I understand that I am extremely late to the game on this conversation, but I needed to comment when I read the post at JULY 3, 2014 AT 4:29 PM

"you raise an interesting point, I lived on the west side for a few years during the 80's, I remember some of my fellow white classmates were bussed all the way from the Scalely Bark area (South BLVD) to attend Spaugh Middle and later Harding. During the time, there still were many white middle class families on the west side, just not enough to "balance" the numbers. By all rights, those kids should have attended either Quail Hollow or Smith jr High and then to either Olympic or South Meck."

This kind of bussing is still occurring in CMS. My family lives south of Archdale in the Montclaire/Starmount neighborhood. Logic would tell you that our neighborhood H.S would be South Meck or Olympic like you suggest. Heck, we are probably closest to Myers Park. But guess what our "neighborhood" HS is? Harding. If my kids attended their "neighborhood" school, they'd be bussed even further than your Scaleybark classmates, who btw, would still be assigned to Harding today. And guess what else? Our kids can wave as their bus drives by Dilworth, whose students go in the opposite direction to Myers Park. I doubt no one will ever say money doesn't talk in CMS.

JeremyOlm said...

Policy makers all over the developed world seem to have adopted inept decision-making policies when compared to so-called third-world Asian schools, no doubt lacking in many areas particularly sporting facilities for example, they do not have segmentation problems unless you are going for a particularly religious one. Schools are not just schools anymore if you take a closer look at how things are run within; buses, vans, location in relation to surrounding real estate and even F&B are all individual components for the big money chomping machine.

Anonymous said...

Before leaving my comment, I want to give a brief background about who I am:

- I am an AA male
- I am a product of the public school system
- I am a former CMS teacher
- I am the son of an immigrant and a high school dropout

A lot of people are wondering while AA males struggle so much in CMS. This is why: school isn't engaging to them.

AA males make up a significant percentage of the students in CMS, but less than two percent of public school teachers are AA men. Givrn the fact that a lot of AA male students come from environments lacking positive male role models, attending schools where AA male authority figures are MIA further drives home the point to them that they aren't valued in society. It's hard for a kid to visualize himself as being something positive because he doesn't have any real life examles to emulate. Therefore, your typical AA male student aspires to be a professional athlete or rapper instead because those are the only examples of AA men he get to see who are "successful" and aren't living in poverty.

If he is lucky to have an AA male teacher or principal as some point in his life, it is usually at a time when a negative attitude toward school has already been developed, and that AA figure has to jump through a lot of hoops to get through to him. This is information I've experienced firsthand.

I was fortunate growing up. I had three principals who were AA males. My 4th, 6th, and 7th grade math teachers were AA males; my 5th grade math teacher was an AA female, who, coincidentally, was the wife of my 7th grade math teacher. The point is, I took an early interest to a core subject because the person teaching it to me was someone I could relate to and who could relate to me, a privilege that EA students get regardless of where they go to school. As a result, I was able to excel at something that statistics said wasn't possible.

Some may be asking, "Well, if you feel that strongly about the lack of AA male teachers, then why are you a 'former' teacher instead of a 'current' one?"

It is because the district, again from my own firsthand experience, does little to nothing supporting brand new teachers, especially teachers who teach at Title I schools like I did. Of the three math teachers that were newly hired at my school last year, none were back for this year, me included. One was a 10-year veteran, and he left midyear to get a teaching job closer to home. He no longer saw the benefit of driving an hour each way to teach students who didn't pay attention or give effort. Another teacher was a rookie like me. He, too, left midyear for greener pastures -- albeit to another profession altogether -- because his class sizes went from 30 to 40 and was continued to be offered no support. The school was two math teachers short, but rather than hire extra math teachers, they overloaded our classes instead. So while other subjects enjoyed typical class sizes of less than 20 students, we math teachers had 30 or more per class.

I managed to last the entire school year, but CMS decided not to renew my contract despite the fact that my students proficiency rate on the EOGs were no worse than my peer's who had over a decade more experience than me. (17 percent of my students scored proficient vs 15 percent for my colleague teaching the same grade level.)

Considering how much more difficult the curriculum is now with Common Core, how can anyone expect students to sit through class and be engaged when the vas majority are already one to two grade levels behind?

The current system is harmful to students in general, but it is even more harmful to AA male students.