Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On schools and cities

What follows is my Twitterstream from a panel discussion today at a luncheon put on by the nonprofit Teach for America. On the panel were Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Peter Gorman, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, Teach for America founder and CEO Wendy Kopp and moderator Mike Collins of WFAE's "Charlotte Talks" morning show.

It should give you a sense of the panel discussion, as well as a sense of what it's like to read an event being covered by Twitter. (Follow me on Twitter at @marynewsom.) Despite what you may hear, Twitter is not all about what you had for lunch today.

- At Teach for America lunch/panel talk w. Supt Gorman, Mayor Foxx & Wendy Kopp, TFA founder. Wanna know who's here? Stay tuned.
- Johnny & Deborah Harris, CMS' chmn Eric Davis, Tom Tate. Also Harvey Gantt, NC Sen Ruth Samuelson. UWay's Jane McIntyre. [Foundation for the Carolinas' Michael Marsicano and Laura Meyer, MeckEd's Kathy Ridge, POST's Claire Tate were also there, among others. The speakers started and I stopped tallying the crowd.]
- TFA Teacher Emily White [teaches 10th-grade English at Phillip O. Berry high school] tells moving tale of student w. drug mom who's teaching HER to read. She [White, not the druggie mom] gets standing ovation.
- Gorman: 60% of CMS kids who are below grade level are in 25% of CMS schools.
- Moderator Mike Collins asks the gutsy question - Was it like that before end of court-ordered integration?
- Gorman response to deseg question: "Ah-ah-ah-ah." When thru stuttering says "I wasn't here then." ...
- Gorman's recovery: something abt how it wasn't all that great for a lotta kids back then either. & "I totally dodged your question, Mike."
- Foxx gives shoutout to his 9th grade algebra teacher, David Butler (namesake of Butler Hi.) [Then I got a Twitter note from another West Charlotte alum, Decker Ngongang (@ngongang), saying "that was my Geometry teacher yr before he passed, push ups if you were late for class." No word on whether Decker, or Foxx, ever had to do push ups.]
- Foxx says need for strong schools is one reason he's asking #cltcc [Twitter lingo for Charlotte City Council] to look at city's housing locational policy.
- Foxx (Teach4America panel) says achievement "gets in the water in the school" & an important factor in success is when kids mentor others.
- Wendy Kopp, T4A founder: We need longer school day & flexibility for principals.
- Gorman: "staggering" amount of budget reductions will be on the table at sch bd bjt talks this afternoon. #cmsbrd [Twitter lingo for CMS school board]
- Gorman: Yes, there's resistance to T4A from some teachers and some principals.


Larry said...
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whitsmom said...

How were things before busing ended? From the State Report Card, 1996-1997:
Reading: Black males,34.8% passing; white males, 77.8% passing
Mathematics: Black males, 39.7% passing; white males, 82.2%
Similar spread for females.

As you can see, there was a big problem under busing but it was nicely hidden by averaging test scores at individual schools. Dr. Gorman was right--it wasn't that great for a lot of kids back then.

Tests were not the same ones used today so can't really compare results from then and now, but obviously the achievement gap was pretty dramatic, after 20 some years of busing.

j said...

Told my wife:
Good thing Larry's not on the school board any more.

She said: but the quality of his comments have not gotten worse.

I said, but he really cares.

She said: About what?

whitsmom said...

Again, how were things under busing?

From Observer archives:

Charlotte Observer, The (NC)-August 20, 1997
Author: FANNIE FLONO, Associate Editor

Did your mouth drop when you heard about the condition of some Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools? Mine did.

Come on. Brown drinking water? Peeling plaster? Leaking roofs? Filthy bathrooms?

The glimpses you got of some Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools this summer seemed more like surreal visits to troubled, neglected inner-city neighborhoods than places of learning in one of North Carolina's wealthier counties, an area often noted nationally as an exemplary New South city

Charlotte Observer, The (NC)-August 27, 1997
Author: DEBBIE CENZIPER, Staff Writer

N.C. students have posted gains for the eighth straight year on the Scholastic Assessment Test. (However)

Charlotte-Mecklenburg scores on the nation's most closely watched test remained stagnant this year at 991, the same as last year. Educators are particularly worried because scores among African Americans dropped seven points.

Lana said...

The "gutsy" question to ask is:

How many $80K+ pencil-pushers at the EdCenter will be included in Peter Piper's "staggering" budget cuts?

My prediction: 0.

Karl said...

Until CMS starts making meaningful cuts in the areas of paper-pushers and wasteful spending, such as CMS TV, they are not worth listening to. I see no need to reward someone with MORE money when they've demonstrated no ability to properly spend the massive amount of money they've already been given.