Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why does CMS want to open charter schools?

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has had an uneven relationship with the growing number of charter schools in the area. But within the district's legislative agenda approved Wednesday is a request that CMS be able to open charter schools of their own.

Board member Ericka Ellis-Stewart asked the question: Why would the district want to do that?

Charter schools are public and operated with tax dollars. But they are exempt from a number of requirements that traditional public schools have. They're not required to provide transportation, for example, or meals.

CMS associate general counsel Jonathan Sink told the board that those things aren't what CMS is trying to avoid. What they want is the ability to tweak its calendar, or alter the curriculum in a way that's different from state mandates.

"We're looking for those pieces of educational innovation they were created to have," Sink said.

Board chairwoman Mary McCray said one concept they've looked at, by way of example, is an all-boys middle school.

The district has not yet come up with any specific programs or features it would want to have in a charter school should they be granted the ability to create one. It would require a major change to state law, Sink said.

Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark, who has assumed the duties of the top job after Heath Morrison resigned, said CMS will be bringing in Cindy Loe, former superintendent of schools in Fulton County, Ga., to help district leaders think through what they'd want to do.


Anonymous said...

Will Ann appoint men to any top positions?

Anonymous said...

Andrew Dunn,

I noticed that CMS has open positions posted for the Chief Human Resource Officer and Executive Director of Accountability. Are Terry Cockerham and Frank Barnes leaving or being shuffled to new positions? Could it be that CMS is reducing its bloated administration?

Wiley Coyote said...

It's called losing market share and your customer base.

That's why CMS is pulling out the stops so don't kid yourself.

They're losing White shoppers to the competition....

Unknown said...


So CMS wants to have some schools that are Charter-like. Probably every parent would support that if that meant a change in discipline policy.

Let’s see if CMS is a good fit to have Charter schools.

The perception is that Charter school classrooms are safe, not just safer than CMS’.

How do Charters’ get that reputation? They send the undesirable students back to CMS.
Where would a CMS Charter send its problem students?

Charters have a reputation for paying lower wages because the schools are emotionally better places to work.

Does CMS want to be Charter School-like so it can pay lower wages?

Charters are able to escape the expense of transportation and food service.

Does CMS want to go down that road…no pun intended?

Charter schools receive no public funds for school construction.

Does CMS intend to quit asking Mecklenburg County for capital construction bond money?

Charter schools don’t have to bid-out the purchases of anything. Toilet paper or Computers.

Do we really want a $1.3 billion organization spending without competitive bidding?

What CMS really wants is for Charters to stop stealing students it believes are theirs.

Parents have the Charter choice because in 1995 feed-up folks were pushing the General Assembly for school vouchers. Raleigh was opposed to handing out cash so it allowed 100 alternative Charter schools.

Nothing has changed in the 19 years since. Parents don’t want to go to send their children to bad public schools. It is hard to believe that just because CMS would put “Charter” on the nameplate of one of their schools that it would fool any parent.

CMS doesn’t need to ask the General Assembly for permission to satisfy parents. It just has to do it.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

A few questions..

Isn't charter enrollment down from what operators originally projected?

Would these charters be overseen by the elected school board or a private operator with an appointed school board?

If this "flexibility" is seen as a positive, why not let all public schools benefit from it?

Larry said...

They want Charter Schools to compete and provide for the majority of the students who want to learn.

That was part of my discussion with Morrison and Winston a few month ago.

They want to have less policed schools and open environments where kids are able to learn.

I am sorry folks are upset with Morrison, but he was trying to get some fresh air into the old system..

Larry said...

Charter enrollment is down for the new schools, all of which you will notice are designed to accommodate the areas of Charlotte which claimed they were being ignored by Charter Schools.

It seems saying you want something and actually signing up has a disconnect with folks.

Maybe the Churches in those areas could embrace those new schools and help them along.

But since most of those Churches have Political Action Committees most like they only support government schools.

Anonymous said...

I work for a public charter school exempt from the shenanigans of an elected Board of Education - not to say that Mark Twain wasn't right even at my school.

"In the beginning, God created idiots. This was for practice. Then he created school boards".

-Mark Twain

Who will oversee CMS charters? The usual district elected suspects? Thanks, but I'd rather poke myself in the eye with a fork.


Larry said...

Charter Schools can lease any empty old School Building the current School Zone has, so that is what CMS is looking at using.

Unknown said...


Buildings, yes. Cash to fix them-up, no.

There is always a cost to reopen a public school. Recent examples are Starmount, Amy James and Oakhurst. You could even throw-in the moving of trailers from one school to another.

Since CMS has no taxing authority it is limited to the goodwill of the county, bonds, operational dollars and grants. It’s been a long-time since there was a state-wide school bond. And of course, there’s the lottery money. All public money.

Charter school capital expenses aren’t allowed to come from public money. Anything CMS did to join the Charter movement would still be a public expense. And with that public expense comes all the baggage of the bad side of CMS’ reputation.

CMS has for years tried to have a CMS foundation built on private donations. It is not a success. Could be, but Charters own that dimension of parental generosity.

CMS is trapped in a want to be Charter-like. It is spending millions of public dollars right now to fight the growth of Charters north of I-85. All the while, Charters are competing through donations.

It is incumbent on CMS to show that if it wants to be Charter-like it can do it without public money.

Yes, the best thing that could happen in public education is for traditional schools such as CMS to compete on a level playing with Charters. I agree. But I also know that CMS will never be able to cut itself free of public funds.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

Responding to an earlier comment, Terri Cockerham is retiring after 32 years of service in CMS.

Anonymous said...

My question for CMS with regards to charters schools is that a charter school has to do a tremendous amount of fundraising to make up for what they don't get from the state.

Is CMS really in the business of fundraising? I guess they can just go ahead and proclaim that Hawkridge is a charter school then with the amount of money they try to make the parents give and collect.

Anonymous said...

CMS wants to control the money going to charter schools - they can hire non-certified teachers and pay them less than state salary schedule.

Then they can control who gets into the new CMS charter school.

Barnes is not the executive director; that position is subordinate to his.

At the Board meeting yesterday, Mary kept referring to 8 members of the Board. I wonder who that other member was??

Anonymous said...

I am surprised the Observer has not reported on Carolina Business Journal's program or, at a minimum, that Eric has not interviewed those panel members and asked his own questions. The panelists seemed to agree that the board's firing Morrison likely has seriously negative implications on Charlotte's ability to recruit. Maybe the Observer's scared of a battle?

Anonymous said...

I heard Ann's interview on the radio this morning I could not have been more disappointed. She sounded guarded, hesitant to answer questions directly.

The one direct answer she gave to the question about speaking with Morrison since he left CMS about summed up the interview, though. NO!!

I agree that Morrison was "trying" to change the tone of CMS' relationship with CMS' outside constituencies, such as parents, community members, local and state politicians and apparently was making progress.

He seems to have fallen victim to the internal CMS members reaction to his effort to make changes.

Was once an advocate for Ann Clark getting her shot. Now, after hearing her this morning, she is clearly a member of the "CMS Old Guard".

John said...

Frankly, I'm at a loss to think of one single thing that CMS has done which would lead me to expect them to do any better running a charter school than they've been doing with traditional public schools! The history of arrogance, incompetence and lack of transparency, would seem to make them a poor choice for a movement to a model with LESS oversight!

John said...

On a related topic, has anyone asked if it's appropriate for Ann Clark to be the interim considering reports that she was aware of and participated in the pressure on Guy Chamberlain to retire after he expressed concern over the way Morrison was allegedly concealing the cost overruns from the board?

Wiley Coyote said...


Sorry, but I don't want to hear that "expenditure for moving mobiles" garbage.

The BOE made its own bed and they can lie in it.

MIE, again, is a perfect example.

Anonymous said...

1. By law, charter schools can not pay less than the NC state salary schedule. My charter school does not offer additional local supplements but does pay me additional money for having a master's degree.

2. My charter school offers bus transportation from consolidated stops. Our buses our discarded school buses from other NC counties. Our furniture is also recycled.

3. Students must provide their own lunches.

4. My charter school has and does permanently expel students with chronic behavioral issues. Students may re-apply for admission the following year.

5. Grade 5 (which I teach) has 16 and 18 students respectively in each class with a commitment from our school board to keep classes small.

6. We have a strict uniform policy.

7. We do not offer an after-school program but do offer numerous clubs free of charge including an equestrian club, Thespian club, robotics club, chess club, pep squad, x-country, etc... Teachers are expected to run at least one club during the school year.

8. Charters are allowed to hire up to 50% non-certified teachers which typically only applies to specialty area teachers at higher grade levels.

9. Students at my school take art, music and P.E. 5-days a week based on a "classical" curriculum that believes that these subjects are an important part of a comprehensive education. My 5th grade classes are concurrently learning about the Renaissance in social studies, science, art and music based on a cross-curricular philosophy.

10. Our students are required to take the EOG's and EOC's but are not beholden to Common Core standards. Our school is committed to limiting excessive standardized testing practices.

11. Teachers do not receive tenure or "career status". Teachers may be dismissed at any time. Teachers may leave with a two week notice.

12. Our new K-12 school building - opening Fall 2014 - will be modular in construction with everything except a cafeteria. All classrooms will have video cameras for the safety of students and teachers.

13. About 25-30% of our school is low-income.

14. I am allowed to take my students on as many field trips as I like and have the freedom to go "off-script" as it applies to what we're learning.


Unknown said...

TO: ANON 10:15a

Subject: Ann Clark on radio

Last night I sat for four in the audience listening to the Board of Education's regular meeting.

I did not hear the radio interview.

My observations from last night are that, yes, Ms Clark is tied closely to the folks in CMS. That was a plus last night.

I remember thinking that thank-God there wasn’t going to be another 100-day honeymoon with a learning and listening tour.

Since next year is reserved for the election of At-Large members, for the school boundaries for 2016-17 and maybe just an inkling of budget drama, I'm guessing the person you heard on the radio this morning is it for a while.

There is going to be another challenge where Ms. Clark will be helpful. The Board wants to work closely with the City and County to do better planning. While you may hear about this as more of a political issue, it will be up to staff in each group to pull-it-off. It as much a historical thing as what will happen going forward. I like our chances with Ann Clark.

So as you likely heard on the radio, “Stay tuned.”

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

I am thankful that my son is one of the 25,000-30,000 of local students who are either homeschooled or attend a private school.

Could you imagine the mess within CMS if they had 30,000 more students to deal with, I mean educate?

What a breath of fresh air to leave CMS after 5 years. It won't get any better folks.

Anonymous said...

Private schools may be a better option than CMS if one can afford. Homeschooled? Meehhh...I guess it depends on the education of the parent teaching the homeschooled kid.

Larry said...

McClung, has apparently very little understanding of how Charter Schools are funded.

You can get the community to invest or finance the building or upfitting, and pay for it with your operational cash.

And note while systems like CMS get the full amount per student, Charter Schools get 30 percent less per student, yet are able to do so well.

Unknown said...


Larry is correct that state funds may be used to pay back operational and financing leases for real property or mobile classroom units for use as school facilities.

However, Charters State funds shall not be used to obtain any other interest in real property or mobile classroom units.

It's a fine line. If the Charter is Lake Norman with many students, the state student funds will work for a loan to upfit. However, small schools don't get enough state money to pay salaries and capital repairs that are expensed.

The Charter schools have to raise funds. Failure to do that is how one Charter failed to open at all this year. It used-up too much of its state money before classes started. There were few donations. And it is the story behind numerous Charters that announce grand projects like multipurpose building and then have to delay openings while parents donate cash or sweat equity.

The fact that money may be used for operational improvements is a fantasy for the small Charters. It's either pay the teachers or don't open the doors.

My point is most valid. Charters are dependent on donations...even "require" it. CMS will aggregate State student money from 20 miles away to build a Charter Island Academy.

CMS doesn't want to join the Charter community. It wants to make it go away. And the method will be our tax dollars.

Bolyn McClung

Wiley Coyote said...

Speaking of "our tax dollars"...

Expanding the "non-traditional high school".

Currently, we have 162 students for a student/teacher ratio of 15 to 1.

Expanding the school to 400 students will require an additional 15 teachers to keep the 15 to 1 ratio.

The question is, where are these teachers coming from? Will they be transferred from existing schools or will CMS use this as an opportunity to hire more teachers?

The teachers should be moved from other schools and the funding should follow the teachers and the students.


Shamash said...

From reading some of the comments here, maybe CMS should open a Charter REFORM SCHOOL.

That way, everyone would have a "charter" school to send their discipline problems to.

Then everyone would be safe and happy.

Or at least they could contain the problem.

Tacos said...

anon 2:38 - you would be surprised at how much financial aid and assistance can be had at local private schools. Do not let the price tag be a deterrent.

Anonymous said...

Wiley nailed the number one challenge facing CMS when he pointed out that only 30.5% of the students in CMS are white. This charter school talk is nothing more than a lame attempt to market to white families.

Alicia, since you enjoy discussing your charter school so much, please tell us which charter school you work for. I would like to compare your school against other schools with the same demographic make up to see if our school is any more effective than the traditional schools.

Personally I am not sold on the charter school concept. They have their own set of problems, much higher teacher turnover, excessive parental influence and not to mention they are not proven to be more effective when serving the same demographic groups as their traditional public school counterpart.

Larry said...

Sorry Charter School are proven to be more effective and do so with a lot less money.

This has been reported even on even by the observer when confronted with the actual numbers and facts.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, why would CMS be wasting their time, money and effort on starting Charter schools? What is wrong with this school district? Please focus on one, maybe two things and do them right. You cannot master 20 different types of schools. Focus on educating the students you currently have.

Wiley Coyote said...


I don't disagree with your opinion, but the sad fact is, that will never happen.

Public education has been dismal for over 40 years and is only getting worse.

With the new "no suspensions and expulsions for minorities" craze sweeping across America and the continued dumbing down of students, public education is headed for a freefall.

....In Minneapolis, teachers and principals are no longer allowed to suspend a Hispanic or black student, but suspending white students is just fine.

Suspending “non-white” students now requires approval from the district superintendent.

It’s an odd case of reverse discrimination, but is the result of Obama’s Department of Education’s intervention in the district’s suspension policy.

The school superintendent, Bernadeia Johnson, is herself a black woman. She contends that suspensions handed out to Hispanic and black students are unfair and disproportionate.

About 70 percent of the district’s 32,000 students are considered “minority,” and Johnson says that they are being suspended for disciplinary behavior that would only merit a warning if done by a white child. So they’re going to put a stop to it by banning teachers from suspending black and Hispanic kids.

It’s overt racial bias, unconstitutional and likely illegal....

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:09,

You have spoken the truth. The last thing CMS needs to do is open charter schools. We need to get back to the basics. Students in their seats, on time and following instructions. Once we create an environment that rewards academic achievement and good character instead of pandering to the least productive members of society, then we can discuss alternative forms of education.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Minneapolis scenario: If the behavior would get you a serious consequence at the grocery store or the local shopping mall, it ought to get you a serious consequence at school.

Wiley Coyote said...


I agree, but take a look at Ferguson and see our AG, President and others ignore the fact that they, nor us, know the facts.

...But that doesn't keep them from stirring the pot by saying the "police department and mayor and council is not reflective of the community", even though people can apply to become an officer, run for office and God forbid, actually go out and vote.

Shamash said...

Anon 5:31pm.

"Regarding the Minneapolis scenario: If the behavior would get you a serious consequence at the grocery store or the local shopping mall, it ought to get you a serious consequence at school."

I'd like to see a more consistent standard than that.

Have you been shopping in some of these neighborhoods?

I have and have seen plenty of things I wouldn't want to have going on in a school.

As someone who has done a lot of shopping in a lot of places over the years, I began to notice a trend in shopping malls a few decades back (which may not be as true today...).

But I'm going to tell you anyway because I'm just that way.

Basically, any mall WITHOUT a BOOKSTORE was more likely to be filled with delinquents and people who just flat out did not know how to behave in public.

Not sure exactly how that plays into things, but one of the surest way I could tell that a neighborhood was going downhill was that the mall bookstore(s) would close down.

Of course, that was back in the day when people couldn't read as much online, but I think there was something to it.

I'm not sure what business serves as the canary in the coal mine for malls today, but there is probably something.

But it's probably NOT shoe stores or anything to do with alcohol or short term loans.

Anonymous said...

Larry, with regards to academic performance, charters schools do not out perform traditional public schools when you compare schools with similar demographics. I have seen the test results of both charter and traditional public schools.

Where I will agree with you is the cost involved, charters are much less expensive to operate, and there are many reasons why. For a starters most charters do not offer bussing, operate cafeterias or offer free and reduced lunch. Not to mention that most charters demand the parents volunteer their time to handle important functions at the charter school (free labor). For example, Bradford Prep asked their parents to donate their time for tomorrow in order to assemble furniture and I think they may also be doing some landscape work.

The sad truth about education in this country is that black children have under performed, they are woefully behind their white counterpart, 40% difference in student performance. The elephant in the room for cms is that white families have left the district, thus they are left with the under performing back student population.

Anonymous said...

Charter schools don't thrive in Mecklenburg county because there are many solid neighborhood schools, and failing that, good and innovative magnets that parents can readily lottery their kids into. This isn't Detroit, NYC, or New Orleans. If CMS wants another feather in its quill let them have charters as well. They can do no worse that the private sector operators have done so far. I find that to be a testament to the quality of the competition.

Anonymous said...

Only one in 5 charters are successful. They are cheaper but they do not have the mandates the public schools have. The courts have ruined public ed.

Anonymous said...

I agree.. If you live in a decent area... The school will be good. I loved my kids schools. The difference in schools is the difference in parents.

Anonymous said...

And charter schools don't (or wouldn't) start at 7:15am. Another bonus for our high school students.

Wiley Coyote said...


Get out of Ballantyne much?

Unknown said...


In this week's Observer is a story about moving the PLC from Graham St. to Derita. This includes some other classes:

It's a great move. PLC is successful. The PLC teachers and staff want to take on more students but the circa 1920's building can't handle it.

"The cost of the move and the expansion will be about $536,000, the district said." Comment supplied by Observer.

At the Wednesday night Board meeting, staff reported PLC as " about a 100 plus some virtual students."

That is $5,360 per student.

The PLC is as close to a Charter as CMS has. There isn't a chance in the world that a current 100 student Charter could handle that financial burden.

CMS needs to forgot about the Charter initiative. As demonstrated by the PLC, it doesn't need to go to Raleigh for permission.

Bolyn McClung

Larry said...

Note how I provide citations on my assertions on Charter School success, yet we have a few folks just post how they know things with no citations.

How about a real discussion on Charter Schools with your citations.

And as far as feeding Children I hope you do know who pays for the food, it is not out of our CMS pocket but is paid for by the Feds.

And the buses are given to the systems from the State, which makes you wonder why they do not give them to the Charter Schools.

So it is a good idea to spend a few years researching Charter Schools, like I did, and you will find they also take students from those very groups which you say are so far behind and catch them up, most often within the same year.

I bet you could ask every last African America who is Charles Tindley and they and their children would not know, even though we have all those special lessons in systems like CMS.

The reason I mention that is you should go and visit this School

Oh and Charles Tindley was the Pastor who wrote We Shall Overcome You. And that is just a taste of what is taught in Charter Schools.

Larry said...

Using any estimates for any work needed for any building by CMS is a waste of time.

I have dealt with them when they spent almost as much to upgrade Clear Creek when they could have built a brand new school right behind it.

That was a few years ago when they sent all those kids to the old school near Eastland Mall after building a brand new one in front.

The reason they said they could not change the money was that it was from a previous bond approval that was not spent in time and they could not go back and ask for the change.

So today you can go out to Clear Creek and see just how much of a waste that money was back then.

In fact I believe Clear Creek is one of those on the list they want to build a new on behind it.

My what a couple of years and millions in waste can do.

Anonymous said...

There are at least 4 to 5 on staff at every high school in a supplemental position that could be done by only 2.

I am sure there is waste such as this on every middle and elementary school in CMS.

Cut out the administrative waste in the Ivory Tower and in the school buildings before you look into Charter Schools.

It is like implementing Obamacare before you fix medicare and medicaid.

Shamash said...


Most of these folks who aren't looking at charter schools fairly are usually parroting Diane Ravitch and her supporters.

Ravitch, of course, supports the "poverty" excuse for failure above all others.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, of course.

Like how the "poor" of certain demographics do better than the similar, or even MORE, "poor" of others.

It's all there in black and white if you just check.

So, she isn't much better than the people she criticizes for similar oversights regarding their pet projects.

It's all polemics which put a nice chunk of change in her pockets from the lecture circuit, I'm sure...

While I doubt that the "type" of school makes as much difference as the families and attitude of the students (so consider "charter" vs. "non-charter" pretty much a wash), if a school can do about the "same" for less then it IS better.

Sure, maybe these charter schools are not the Mercedes or Lexuses (Lexii?) of schools, but if you can get essentially the same results for less public/tax money, then why wouldn't we support that?

For the "we" who pay taxes, I mean.

Shamash said...


If you want some concrete evidence of one "problem" with charter schools, just look into the charters run by the Gulen Movement (even if they "deny" any connection to the schools.)

Gulenists are behind one of the largest chain of charter schools in the US, Concept Schools.

They have some fairly convoluted ties to a Turkish religious leader, Fethullah Gulen, in exile in the US, which they try to hide.

But the FBI is on to them, so I doubt they will keep out of trouble much longer.

So what are we supporting this fellow (and/or his "followers")for?

One of the problems with charters is the same as the problem with other public schools.

They can spend money without much real accountability if they know how to game the system.

Anonymous said...

You said it, nailed it actually, it is all black and white and has little to do with poverty. Black kids are 40% points below white students, white students are above 80% proficient where black students are just above 40% proficient.

and for goodness sake larry, get off this kick about charters, they are no more effective than regular schools, they are merely cheaper. I know you hate cms( I have watched your ridiculous interviews with cms on youtube) and perhaps you have just cause to do so, most cms schools are under performing. Keep in mind those schools serve mostly african american students, the are going to under perform by default.

Anonymous said...

Why are CMS officials trying to destroy Charter Schools in NC? Isnt this the real reason they are talking up this concept? They want Raleigh NCDPE to end all Charter Schools in NC because they are making them look so bad but as we know this has now backfired on them
They have been trying to accuse them also of the card using public funds but we know it is now a moot point and a scam after the CMS-Morrison massive scandal that followed the Cannon scam still under investigation by the FBI.

The word going around Raleigh
and the state is CMS is riddled with corruption scandal and fraud after the Morrison termination similar to Gorman and the threat ofh blackmail and lies plus ruin their careers if they breath a word about CMS pay for play scam.

The crushing defeat in the mid term election was a shock to them and instead exposed extortionists Battle and McCray and the sorority with rigging the "gap" to keep the status quo to continue rape billions out of taxpayers and firing both Gorman and Morrison who were on the verge of exposing the corruption in CMS.

Both Gorman and Morrison have been warned to keep quiet or else. Neither are afforded any security protection so are on their own entirely.

This was stated in so many words notwithstanding their careers would be destroyed should anything be said negative about the CMS scandal and the school board or attorneys who are in the scandals is clearly seen.

The FBI is now secretly investigating in case the media is to ignorant to know this. The Cannon mayor scandal is also still open. Battle and McCray are in the cross hairs with a few others.

When will the Disturber stop protecting these elected criminals and get out of bed with these Marion Berry DC, Detroit and Chicago politics not to mention Atlanta and others?

It has been proven that certain type people cannot be trusted to lead anything and always end up as being exposed as thieves liars drug addicts or homosexuals etc who cannot govern and this includes the WH.
We also know it was minority professors who set up the UNC scam for football and basketball that blew the 225 yr schools reputation.

Time to cleanse the corruption and expose the criminals.
Select quality trustworthy leaders for the city and county and school board etc through appointments only.
Voters cannot be trusted to make the right decisions in a transitional demographically changing city for the worse.

Otherwise ongoing white flight will more quickly facilitate and look worse than Detroit or Chicago or so many other corrupt extortionist cities in America. Liberals cannot be trusted anywhere.


Anonymous said...

It is not about we the taxpayers it is about them the Board of Education.

Do you think that the bullying of staff in our schools has stopped? Think again. If the pawn teachers do not follow whatever flavor of the month education policy is put out there then they are come down on verbally or worse with the inordinate paperwork that is already CYA joke within the profession.

Larry said...

From the very fingers of Anne

"I was interested to see that statewide, charter schools served a slightly higher percentage of low-income and special-education students than district schools. As the report notes, that can vary widely by school."

And it is from this link

Now as far as these CMS schools, I have volunteered in CMS and talked to so many folks who are on the lines, so I know it from the very inside what is happening while most of you have to wait and hear it in print.

And why are we so scared to try something new at CMS? Right now we have a system that encourages doing nothing but compliance with out creating even a spark of interest for these kids, in so many schools in the system.

You know the problem with Conservatives is that we do not try to sell concepts in a nutshell like liberals, because we feel all folks are intelligent and caring Citizens of the World who want the best for everyone like we do.

Maybe we could try that here. Charter Schools, save tax money. And they make a better free thinking citizen.

Now if you want to show me a child who came into the Charter School from a system like CMS, and had been in a Charter School for a few years.

I will show you a Child who if they went back to CMS would blow the Bell Curve off the charts. Especially like so many of the current Asian Children currently do who attend CMS.

Yes I added that one at the end for a little spicy discussion.

Anonymous said...

Will CMS ever address the overcrowding at Community House Middle and AKHS?

I would consider Hawk Ridge a partial charter as the parents pay for everything there including furniture. Do a in-depth story about that school! Parents are extremely upset at the changes.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 1:48 and other Hawk Ridge commenters, I would love to talk with you about the school. Please give me a call or send an email.

Larry said...

Now, now, Andrew, if you start talking to anyone but groups like MeckEd (old CMS folks living off of non profit dollars) or those others who always end up quoted in this blog, you are going to end up with some interesting goings on in CMS.

So buckle your seat belt, I bet you will be in for a bumpy ride from the powers at the observer if you pursue this course.

But at least you will know you did what you started out to do and be a journalist to present things in a fair and balanced manner, no matter what.

I had a person in the media tell me that news is only attacks or public relations. That to me showed why we have the kind of media we do today.

So all the best.

Wiley Coyote said...

...Perhaps the BOE could hold a Kool-Aid summit to discuss the state of affairs within CMS...

Anonymous said...

Andrew had already drank all their kool aide and there arent many cookies left either.

Take back our schools said...

Hmmm.... CMS and a charter school. But isn't a charter school run by the teachers and parents? The principal/director is mostly a figurehead?

Anonymous said...

10:44 PM,

The Charlotte Observe did, in fact, report that NC charter schools (generally speaking) do more with less money.

I didn't say it, the "liberal media" did.


Anonymous said...

Which brings us back to the original discussion...

If charters schools in NC weren't (generally speaking) successful operating and producing more with less money than traditional public schools, then WHY on God's green earth would CMS be remotely interested in operating their own charter schools?

Help me here.

Change is happening. It just isn't happening from "change agents" American education "leaders" want or would expect. Ain't America grand?


Shamash said...

"If charters schools in NC weren't (generally speaking) successful operating and producing more with less money than traditional public schools, then WHY on God's green earth would CMS be remotely interested in operating their own charter schools?

Help me here."

(I'll take a swing at that slow pitch...)

Because CMS is all about promoting failure?

(You KNOW it's not because they think it's a better way...)

Shamash said...

"I will show you a Child who if they went back to CMS would blow the Bell Curve off the charts. Especially like so many of the current Asian Children currently do who attend CMS.

Yes I added that one at the end for a little spicy discussion. "

If anyone is looking for an atypical "challenged" Asian group, I suggest they check out the Hmong immigrants.

Unlike the other Asian immigrants of stereotypical folklore in education circles, they mostly come from poor, less educated rural (or even tribal) families.

And, yet, they seem to be doing better here as well.

Even though they DO NOT come from a "culture" which "values" education (yes, ALL ASIANS ARE NOT THE SAME...)

They STILL have a way to go to catch up to even the blacks and Hispanics in their education levels, but they seem to be improving rapidly.

I wonder why?

If they continue on this path, they may make a good group to study to see just how they did it.

Since they came here WITHOUT all the so-called "advantages" of being "born on third base" as some have said about the other Asians who perform well.

Anyway, just another canary in the educational mine (or minefield)...

Anonymous said...

I think we have a winner!

Interesting you should mention the Hmong people. California's "Hmong-American" demographic group was mentioned quite a bit in my post-bacc. teaching licensure program which annoyed the heck out of me - since I live in NC and will most likely never teach anyone of Hmong decent - but was better than being force-fed NC's usual white-black "achievement gap" propaganda that 90% of America's white female teachers have supposedly caused and deliberately promoted. (Dare I say for the lucrative financial benefit of black males with names like Glenn Singleton)?

The chairwoman of my post-bacc. education licensure program was very proud to have a son teaching at a charter school in Arizona.


Anonymous said...

Something that is lost on many of the people who post comments on this blog, or perhaps choose not to comment, the failures of CMS can be attributed to one major factor, demographics. The white kids are all but gone, except for three high schools, AK, Providence and Hough, and guess which high schools are the top performing high schools in CMS?

There are a couple of schools in the middle of the spectrum, such as South Meck and Myers Park, but both of those schools appear to be trending downwards as the demographics are changing.

The surrounding schools systems all appear to be doing quite well, any thoughts as to why?

Anonymous said...

anon 1:48 With more and more apartments and houses being built in the Ak, Chms district, we will all have a real mess on our hands in a couple more years. You think it's bad now?

Larry said...

I once said to a group of parents at West Charlotte, that if they left the auditorium that night and over half the cars would not start, would they want to know why.

Well it seems we have not challenged these parents enough, and I am not talking about those who showed up for that event, but the parents of the half of the kids who drop out at West Charlotte.

We are quick to provide such an easy way for them to get out under the responsibility and upkeep of their children, so it is only natural they just give into letting things flow with the least amount of effort from them.

Starting today, every last church in those communities should disband every last Political Action Committee and use all those folks to make trips to the schools as volunteers and mentors everyday.

They should be updating the people in that Church on how the local schools are doing and keeping people on fire for education.

That is what it is going to take.

Anonymous said...

great post Larry, probably one of the best comments you have ever made. I tend to disagree with many of your ideas, but you are absolutely correct with the role parents play.

I tip my hat to you for taking the time to attend such events at West Charlotte.

Sadly, I see a similar attendance at our local schools, African American parents(parent in most cases) are not very well represented on teacher/parent night. Our principal has come to the conclusion that in order to get the african american parents to attend is to offer them a free dinner, pitiful I know, but true!

However the hispanic parents support their children, I have been very impressed with their level of committment to their children!

Anonymous said...

It is sad that our government has conditioned the AA parent with the years of handouts literally trillions of dollars worth of handouts since LBJ.

It did not make a "Great Society", the consequences was a demographic that has relied on government assistance and handouts for generations. They only took what they were given and will keep on taking what they are given. The government itself has done an extensive harm in the generational aspirations of this demographic.

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he may feed himself for life.

Anonymous said...

I am laughing at the reports about the Niche high school report rating AK as number 6 in NC. So what? Only 36 respondents out of 2700 students, and thousands of parents. Was there an area on the report that talks about the high drug and alcohol use at the school?

Anonymous said...

I just read your report about Concrete Roses. I was just wondering, as it seems obvious, that the director committed financial fraud and probably obstructed justice for destroying audit records, are there going to be any arrest? What are the states laws or protections against the charters schools or individuals for money laundering ?

I don't remember the state going after the charter school that broke apart in April or never read if the state was putting in specific laws about charters schools squandering of money.

I think charter schools are important as an option, but the possibility of squandering of money should be a high concern for the state. Give some guy like the director at Concrete Roses that much money and just wasting it and stealing it, is the easiest form of financial fraud. What laws are there? Who is overseeing this? (I mean the exact person in charge at the state level).

Anonymous said...


Just read your article on Clark. So which one is telling a lie between their teeth? Battle, Clark or BOTH ?

No I aint gonna work on Annie Clarks farm no more !

Shamash said...


There are Hmong in North Carolina, even in the Charlotte region.

So, who knows, you just might run into a few some day.

Not as many as in the Midwest, though.

It seems that a lot of them moved to Minnesota and Wisconsin to "escape" bad living environments elsewhere.

They apparently learn fast.

Also, I noticed (after posting my comments) that there are several Hmong churches in the area and a Hmong Student association at UNC Charlotte.

Here's their facebook page:

The first time I knew of the Hmong was during a trip to Thailand a few decades ago where I visited a Hmong village before they became popular tourist traps.

(Well, maybe they were a bit of a tourist trap, but I didn't see many tourists other than myself and my buddy at the time).

I saw how many of them lived back in their "homeland", if, indeed, they can be said to have one since their various groups span several countries in the SE Asian region.

I'd say many have come a long way from their beginnings in a relatively short time.

And I wish them well here.

Shamash said...


"Starting today, every last church in those communities should disband every last Political Action Committee and use all those folks to make trips to the schools as volunteers and mentors everyday."

If they did that, who'd be watching and benefitting from the Ferguson trial?

They know how to get more butter on their bread for the least effort.

And tackling the education problem is NOT the way.

Besides, everyone knows that if you educate those kids they just leave the "community".

Where's the benefit for "community" leaders in that?

It's a system that works well enough for many just as it is.

I seriously doubt that they will do as you suggest, even though it is probably the best thing they could do in the long run.

Aside from taking individual responsibility and parental involvement, that is, which DOES NOT need a "village" nearly as much.

In fact, you may need to move away from your existing "village" to a new one.

(In my opinion, at least...)

Anonymous said...

Hmong Schmong

What about Clark and Battle. I thought Cannon was a crook. Charlotte hasnt seen anything yet. Where is the independent investigator or Dunn or Ann ?

Anonymous said...

7:31 PM

My children attended CMS (6 years), Charlotte Christian School (6 years) and the Mecklenburg Area Catholic School system (7 years).

In my experience, drug and alcohol use and abuse among teenagers is universal. Drugs "of choice" might be different at wealthier schools vs. lower income schools but the consequences are universally the same.


Anonymous said...

If CMS creates a charter school, will that school eliminate over the top testing, common core restrictions on teachers and other roadblocks that get in the way of teachers being able to teach, that is pervasive at CMS now??

Shamash said...

Anon 7:55pm.

"I don't remember the state going after the charter school that broke apart in April or never read if the state was putting in specific laws about charters schools squandering of money."

Which school was that?

I remember a Kinston Charter Academy which went under last year after being put on "financial disciplinary status" in March.

Their Chief Operating Officer, Ozie Hall, has reincarnated as the "senior administrator" of a new charter school called Anderson Creek Club Charter.

Based on this, I'd say the oversight is very "forgiving".

This fellow used to rant quite a bit about "reparations" a few years back, so I'd consider him a school leader to watch.

But we shall see...

Anonymous said...


And I learn something new everyday...

I've yet to run into Mennonites in the Charlotte area (going back on my paternal side of the family) but would be happy to take you to the farm my grandmother grew up on in PA that currently has an Amish family living there. I suspect the Amish don't worry about academic achievement gaps although many of them were willing to be arrested and thrown in jail when our government wanted to force them to send their children to traditional public schools. The Amish won their court battle. My grandmother was a school teacher in a one room school house in rural PA. My "diversity" sensitivity training included learning about the Hmong and the Amish. I'm not sure why we didn't cover Southern Baptists although the Judaic studies course I took as an undergrad (the Rabbinic period through Zionism) has me covered here.

I'd love to visit China one day.


Anonymous said...

Shamash...that would be Student First Charter.

I just want to know if the state is going after Mr. Stone for money laundering. Who is in charge of prosecuting these criminals? Is it a local jurisdiction or state?

Anonymous said...

Yea whatever.Total rigged pre-meditated hatchet job on this fine competent ex-superintendent conned into the job 2 yrs ago as a temp after Gorman was also run off.

Every knows now Morrison was a token tool possibly on the verge of exposing the money gap game conspiracy so he had to be taken out in a messy way.

Morrison knows he was conned out of his Reno position to come east but cant say a word or else he will be flippin burgers or cleaning stools in the ladies room at Jack In The Box. Mums the word.

And dont buy this Ann Clark lie either who brought up the "culture of fear" BS but now tries to back off. What a crock. She's in on the scandal but jumps ship like'rats. Too late for poor orphan Annie. Def a major playa in the pay for play scam.

Anybody with half a brain knows home boy is next superintendent come Aug 2015 to preserve status quo gap to keep that milk and honey flowing like clockwork. Gotcha back.

Mo's work in GC has been a perfect status quo complete with required gap plus loot growth every yr. Def the man for the job.

If the media was serious they would have had 50 scampering reporter mice on the scene at Morrison's (whatever)sick mother's home in N Virginia or Maryland like they did with pay for play Cannon headed to the W Virginia pen.

Telltale. Clearly the paper in bed with the board and its cronies keeping CMS status quo and the gap alive and well plus your wallets cleaned out.
The media always feeds well on scandal.

Wiley Coyote said...

What would really be resfreshing is.... have a Superintendent and a Board of Education that that: calls a timeout and states the facts of the matter.

That we've spent ourselves into oblivion trying to close the achievement gap, force Blacks and Whites to attend racially balanced schools that failed miserably, that culture- NOT lack of diversity - is the primary cause of the failure of many minorities and that students with issues have been coddled long enough in the mainstream and should be held accountable as well their parents.

Money is not the problem.

The last fact of the matter is the school system does not reflect the makeup of the county because CMS sucks badly because of the above mentioned facts of the matter.

...ahhh.... we need "refreshing"....

Nah...educrats and politicians are incapable of telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

So the holy grail sacred GAP is really just another bogus reparation extortion scheme gummint pigs can feed off of.
Pathetically despicable.

The Taxman cometh.

Anonymous said...

anon 7;31

It is a culture of disrespect and "affluenza" at a couple of south charlotte high schools. Yes, I presume there are alcohol and drug problems at many high schools, but heroine use is on the rise (AK), disrespect is on the rise in the class room and a sense of entitlement and privilege will certainly not benefit these kids. Parents need to be aware of who their kids are hanging out with and make the necessary changes.

Anonymous said...


"Yes, I presume there are drug and alcohol problems at many high schools".

There are drug and alcohol problems at ALL high schools.


Shamash said...

Anon 9:22am.

"Shamash...that would be Student First Charter. "

"Who is in charge of prosecuting these criminals? Is it a local jurisdiction or state?"

Ah, the other failure...

That one was a real mess.

Not sure who prosecutes them.

All I've been able to find is the breach of contract lawsuit filed by Handford and Moss and that the oversight is supposedly done by the NC Office of Charter Schools who seemed pretty clueless about the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Republicans. Hopefully we can get you in office before all hell further breaks loose as the socialist in chief tyrant DC loser holds America hostage taking out his hate ful radical vicious revenge using usual the same old phony bogus lies abusing power on national cable.

Will the CO ever investigate this incredulous obvious racist termination of Dr Morrison and get to the real truth for once by talking to him? It is what it is but his silence is deafening.

Clearly everything is done to continue the rape taxpayers "status quo" and "gap" allowing the Obama socialist "culture of welfare" to continue to permeate society and be used as an economic weapon falsely accusing benefactor taxpayers of holding the socially disadvantaged down in order to continue extorting billions?

Is anyone with half a brain still tricked by this incredible scam and the so called phony gap they are holding sane citizens hostage to on a national state and local level?

Do taxpayers want anyone other than another outsider brilliant Dr Morrison type to run the show since Ann Clark has proven to be unworthy with her fickleness? Can she really be trusted now? Is there a qualified candidate for the job now who will risk it all at the hands of the CMS extortionist manipulators?

It is imperative that the tax paying public be involved and make sure the correct CMS superintendent is hired and not just another token after this Morrison scandal and certainly not an unqualified crony of the board and legal dept who cannot be trusted at this time.

Never allow tyrants to rule at the national state or local level and continue their criminal illegal unethical outrageous violation of ethics. Detroit deja vu.

Very precarious time to say the least.

Your friend, Bill J.

Anonymous said...

Good call. They only hurt the children they profess to help.

Bring back Dr Heath Morrison NOW !!!

Get on your hands and knees and beg him to return if you have too. He was the right man for the job.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Dunn,
Since the main topic of this article involves charter schools, I am asking you to consider publishing an article about charter schools in this region. To include the following information:
teacher effectiveness, academic achievement when comparing charter schools with a similiar diversity with traditional public schools,information about teacher & administration turnover.

I have asked my local paper, the Independent tribune to include our local charters when providing info on teacher turnover, however, to date, they have refused to do so.

Parents need this information in order to make the most informed decision about their chidlren's education!

to give you an example, the new charter in my area is Cabrrus Charter Academy, parents are saying the school has experienced a large teacher turnover rate which includes the fouding principal, Rebecca McCall. Yet we see no reporting at all about this school. Charter schools USA is working to open 10 more schools in NC, one in Kannapolis and a second in Mooresville.

Anonymous said...

I have always wondered why
Ann Clark never got to be superintendent.Now it's clear she cannot be trusted.Time for Clark
The board and Battle to be put out to pasture.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Morrison spoke to Tuesday Morning Forum a week before he resigned. Here is the link: Scroll down to second video, which is question and answers. First question is a question about why so many blacks have left his administration. He refutes this but also seems perplexed that this was brought up. Is this a clue to what is going on?

Anonymous said...

I work for a CFA charter school in it's 5th year of operation. We have sister schools located in Forest City, Brevard, Charlotte and one preparing to open in Raleigh.

You bring up valid questions that even I'm curious about. My job, and everyone else I work with, is dependent on making our school a highly competitive option for families seeking choices. Knowledge is power and having knowledge of what we're doing right and how we can improve helps make us stronger.


Anonymous said...

TEAMCFA charter schools in NC:

1. Forest City
2. Lake Lure
3. Brevard
4. Charlotte
5. Morganton
6. Gastonia
7. Greensboro

8. Raleigh-Durham
9. Haywood County

I would be interested in a story about this network of charter schools. What are we doing right? How can we improve?


Anonymous said...

The main reason why i asked this of Mr. Dunn is because I believe that charter schools are going to change the landscape of public education, whether I agree with the concept or not.

The issues and questions surrounding public education are confusing and complex. I am concerned about the impact charters will have upon local smaller schools systems. How will they effect my children's education when funding is diverted from their school to support for profit charter school company such as Charter Schools USA.

Shamash said...

I think there is definitely an information gap regarding charter schools, both individually and as systems of schools.

I'm fairly sure there are good and bad individual charter schools as well as good and bad systems of charter schools.

It's an area that no one seems to have really tackled just yet.

And since the charter schools are using public money, maybe it's time to do this.

I'd certainly favor as much information as possible on how our tax dollars are being spent.

Because I don't think putting the name "charter" in front of a school (or an entire system of schools) makes them automatically better or worse.

Since funds are being diverted from the "standard" public school system to "charters", there should be as much accountability and transparency as in public schools (not that CMS is a great example of this, especially lately...)

But where is the consumer (and taxpayer) information?

Is it the NC Office of Charter Schools?

They seem to be a bit clueless when something bad happens to charter schools (based on recent news reports of charter school financial problems, that is).

Anonymous said...

I think some districts in Virginia have done this. Not sure how successful they've been. But I'd much rather have charters controlled by a school board that we've voted for than the ones controlled by private organizations.

Anonymous said...

I can assure you there are plenty of struggling charter schools, most of which serve minorities, as we see with struggling traditional public schools. For example, there are two such charters in Charlotte, Crossroads Charter High School and Kennedy K12. My question is why are these schools still open, is there something I am missing? I was under the impression poor performing charters were supposed to be held accountable and yet these two schools are still open.
I may be mistaken, but all of the charter schools that I have seen shutdown were closed due to financial improprieties (owners and principals stealing the funds). They were not closed due to academic reasons, even though they were performing very badly!