Click above for archived editions of Educate!, the community journal on education in Charlotte-Mecklenburg published by the Fellowship between September 2000 and September 2005.
July 24, 2014
Well, here I sit at this computer in the early morning. I attended the last monthly board meeting of the Swann Fellowship, and was not surprised to find that we have now dwindled down to three members who made the effort to come together (meet) at 7:30 in the morning, and three who could not attend this meeting, for a total of six board members. It was a wonderful day, the sun was out and the traffic had not reached its frantic worst as Charlotteans bustled to work.
For the last 5 years, I have been actively trying to recruit honest, concerned people to assist the existing board in the fight, yes, fight to insure all of our children are being presented with the best product that CMS can muster – Education that will allow these children to become viable, authentically educated citizens of my, yes, my city, Charlotte.
What happened? It seems that all of the can-do, concerned adults have disappeared from this commitment. As I look around, I find that I am the only person of African Heritage that is left on the Swann board. There seems to be no interest from the community that one County Commissioner has colored as a moral sewer, in helping those among us most in need of our help, our children.
Now, it even appears that some of our elected officials want to dismantle the public school system. If we starve it and refocus our attentions on pay and other adult issues, no one will question why the children are not performing on all of those tests geared to determine whether or not the teachers are effective, or whether we are giving little Johnny what he needs to succeed. We have known that one size does not fit all, but we continue to try and use one educational model which continues to underserve most of our children. Why?
As for Swann, was there rapture? Where did all of the people go? Why aren’t more people engaged and involved in this battle that is vital to the future of our community – ALL of our children?
Well, I am tired; maybe it is time to do something else. Revolution is painful when you find that you are alone. If the parents are not willing to get involved, why should I care? Maybe because I am tired of seeing the CMS system failures going to jail, or worse, the morgue. I am tired. I am very tired.
Moral issues: WWJD?
I AM SO CHARLOTTE THAT I CARE ABOUT ALL OF OUR CHILDREN!
'Hot Topic' of the day is...
July 6, 2014
“Welcome to my new page!” Heath Morrison wrote as he launched a “Heath’s Hot Topics” blog last year. “So much of my job has to do with communicating information….”
In a May 2013 communication, CMS said the superintendent would “share his
observations, his thoughts on big issues and initiatives impacting our
district, what inspires him and what he anticipates for the future.”
Morrison wrote that the blog “will allow me at least once or twice a week to share my observations….”
The Observer’s Ann Doss Helms took note of the new blog in May 2013. At that point, several posts no longer in the blog archive had already been posted. The archive now carries two posts in November 2013, one on December and two in March 2014. The series ends in March 2014 as the superintendent must have been working virtually nonstop on the budget.
I’ve noticed this pattern of broken public communications before. Peter Gorman’s speeches that were noteworthy enough to be posted on the CMS website fell by more than half in the second year of his superintendency, and continued to fall until he departed. What’s perhaps notable about the collapse of Morrison’s blog is how it came so much more rapidly.
What I miss about Morrison’s unfulfilled intentions is the window he promised on “what I see in the future.” The discipline of a deadline is always good, and to have something forcing our leaders to think – and communicate – a bit beyond the crisis of the day seems a public asset.
Success on the biggest issue facing CMS – how to make “educating every student” not just a slogan but a reality – won’t come without a revolutionary culture change in this community. And the community has precious few voices raised in support of that culture change.
I wish Morrison would lead that change. Or at least he could blog about it.
– Steve Johnston
'Don't ever, ever shy away from a good struggle'
"Science actually shows that when you’re struggling to solve a problem or to
understand a concept, you’re forming new pathways and connections in your
So struggling isn’t a bad thing. It is not a sign of weakness – in fact, it’s a sign of growth. It’s a sign that you’re expanding your capacity to handle the hard challenges that you will inevitably face throughout your entire life. So don’t ever, ever shy away from a good struggle. Instead, I want you to seek it out and dive in head first, because that’s what truly successful people do."
– First Lady Michelle Obama,
addressing the District of Columbia
College Access Program graduation celebration June 19
at Washington’s Wardman Park Mariott
Tribalism in CMS: An update
June 16, 2014
In a school district in which no racial or ethnic group accounts for a majority of the students, more than half of Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, and more than half of schools in each grade span, draw a majority of their students from one race.
CMS continues to be the district that made resegregation work.
About a third of K-5 schools have a white majority. Another third have a black majority, while 7% of the K-5s have an Hispanic majority.
About four-fifths of the K-8s have a black majority. Eight of those K-8s are 80% or more black.
High school programs include not just the big regional high schools, but lots of small programs within them. By program, 54% of the programs now are majority-black, 14% majority-white.
By grade structure, 61 of 87 K-5s have a majority race; 13 of 14 K-8s; 18 of 27 middle schools; and 19 of 29 high school programs.
Of greater interest than the schoolhouses is the toll on individual children: that is, how many or what percentage of them are going to schools where public policy has led to them being sorted out so thoroughly by race.
The results are in the adjoining tables, based on the recent release of CMS demographic data for the 3rd month of the 2013-14 school year, which is here.
Overall, 63% of white children attend majority-white schools; 59% of all CMS black children attend majority-black schools. Since there are only 8 majority-Hispanic schools, only 13% of Hispanic children attend majority-Hispanic schools.
So 34,677 of the 58,888 black students in CMS are in majority-black schools.
That’s because, when the