Char-Meck struggling to improve high-impact schools (CLT Observer)

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Apparently, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board met yesterday too, and they seem to be going through some of the same problems we here in Guilford are.

Case in point…today’s Charlotte Observer reports some board members openly challenged each other over ideas on how to improve these schools (click here for the article).

Let’s examine the issues here, starting with this first excerpt:

School board members and a top official with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools challenged one another Tuesday over efforts to improve high-poverty, low-performing schools.

The attempts to boost test scores and recruit effective teachers for the 11 schools, which form what’s known as the Achievement Zone, have been one of Superintendent Peter Gorman’s signature plans since he arrived last year.

But after listening to a presentation from a team spearheading the push, some board members who often disagree each indicated skepticism.

These struggles aren’t new, so why haven’t there been more results, the board members asked. How will the latest proposals be different? And with CMS launching an evaluation of which programs have been successful, there was reluctance to give more money to the schools.

Keyword…CMS is launching an evaluation as to which programs work and which ones don’t. This is a key component of my School Board campaign. GCS continues to have many programs that do not work, are money-wasting, and do very little good for our children or staff. If CMS can do it, so can GCS.

Next excerpt:

“I would expect you’d have more than enough money, and some left over, if you eliminate some of the programs,” said board member George Dunlap.

Board member Larry Gauvreau said he didn’t see anything “radically different” in the presentation.

“There are fantastic amounts of money going into this school system, into this zone, without result,” he said.

CMS staff members are normally reluctant to confront the board, but after the questions, area superintendent Curtis Carroll spoke up.

Stop the tape…if you eliminate some of the programs, you would have more money… there are fantastic amounts of money going into this system without result…What a concept. Curb what’s not working, you have more leftover. Eliminate the waste and you have more to work with. GCS can learn a lot from them.

On CMS staff being reluctant to confront their board, that, too, sounds familiar. GCS staff need to feel as though they can talk openly and freely to board members, without reprisals. GCS hasn’t reached that level yet.


Carroll reminded the board that many students in the schools do, in fact, succeed. But he also highlighted obstacles in those schools: less experienced teachers working with students who are less likely to have parental support, more likely to just be learning English and more likely to be absent or suspended.

That sounds eerily familiar to some GCS schools. GCS can learn a lot from our sister school systems if we only talk to each other. I will encourage more of that if I’m elected next year.

E.C. 🙂


One Response

  1. The difference between CMS and GCS is that the GCS Board is a collection of Grier Get-Alongs. No one on this board will challenge Grier on anything, and if one of them does, there will not be enough others to make it stick. Grier manages this board very smoothly. How many votes do you see on this board when it is 10-1?

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