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DigitalSky

Judge orders FOUR CMS High Schools to shut down

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DigitalSky    5

http://www.wcnc.com/news/topstories/storie...S.80c629b9.html

http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/liv...on/14011185.htm

http://www.wsoctv.com/news/7658088/detail.html

Ok.. this just sounds crazy. Our schools are overcrowded as it is.. In my opinion closure is not the solution.

The schools reccomended for closure are

West Charlotte High

Garringer High

West Mecklenburg High

Waddell High

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dubone    622

There is no other way to fix them. They have a terrible reputation, and the administrations compound the problems by hiding issues.

I'm for shutting those schools down for a year, and creating a brand new plan for how to consitute the leadership and staff and students to grow slowly back a couple years later.

Bad businesses shut down, but bad schools continue unto perpetuity. Judge Manning is doing great things for this county. Thank goodness someone is exercising power over the corrupt and inept elements of this system. I have close personal knowledge of one of those schools, and I am absolutely 100% convinced that there is no way to fix the schools problems without complete reconstitution.

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MZT    0

As easy as it is to bag on CMS, I don't think closing the schools and dispersing the baggy pants crowd to other ones, is going to change things. Heck, that's what CMS is doing now anyway.

The schools need discipline. STFU. Pay attention. Do your homework.

I know a lot of these kids have disruptive home lives. Heck, offer them subsidized dinners and let them use the classrooms again in the evening to study, if they are interested in learning.

But swapping principals around won't do the trick. There's too much inertia underneath.

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teshadoh    0

dubone, by that logic - should bad families be shut down? I only suggest that as an arguement b/c when it gets down to it, it's the family environment that influences the child to achieve or not to achieve. Unfortunately I don't think there is much that can be done at school if the child's parents are not actively involved with their education.

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dubone    622

Well, I have been observing this situation for years and I will say this. I am absolutely convinced that as horrible as family life might be in the roughest sections of the city, there IS a way run a school in a way that minimizes the impact of the negative homelife. There are "bad families" throughout the state and country, yet these schools and this district is less successful at providing even a basic education for those students. These schools are worse performing that schools in the poorest places in the state. It obviously always comes down to the individual, I definitely agree with that. However, there are ways to create an academic and disciplined culture at a school to allow students to overcome their obstacles at home. That culture begins and ends with the leadership at a school, through their discipline and academic policies, and their management of budget resources, teachers and students .

I have heard close to a thousand (I'm not excaggerating) of stories demonstrating the utterly wasteful, incompetent, and absolutely corrupt nature of the administration. I know of stories where certain gang members consistently are not punished, almost certainly due to payoffs or gang affiliation of assistant principals. The administrators themselves are so ignorant and poorly educated that they could not even likely pass the end of grade exams that the low test scores represent.

The system itself is a significant source of the problems, but even that can trace to ignorance of the administration, as they typically did not have the intellectual capacity to debate counter-productive downtown directives. You better believe that Providence and Myer's Park ignore all sorts of nonsensical requirements from the downtown bureaucracy, or better yet downtown ignores those schools because they aren't a political problem.

Every year, the administration pushed away or transferred the best performing teachers for petty personal reasons. Typically it was because the high quality teachers conflicted often with the incompetent leadership. They were either removed or pushed off by horrible working conditions created by administration. Every year in that department, the teachers that managed to keep discipline issues low and extracted higher that even district average for test scores ended up having to leave.

So many people seem to assume that simply because a school is poor or black or minority, and/or has significant numbers of students with very difficult home lives, that the school is bound to fail. That has been the operating model of the school system for a long time, to get the low-scoring demographic out of other schools so that those schools can "improve", even if there area few extremely bad schools. The system then does everything it can to blame teachers for the low test scores, while also giving them the most impossible micro-managed and usually conflicting directives. The teachers are so completely micromanaged, it is impossible for them to even teach the kids what they need to learn. They are told to dilute academic standards in order to improve the pass rate (They are told to pass students for bringing a pencil to class, even if they sleep). A quality teacher would need to fight tooth and nail on an hourly basis to maintain their own academic integrity and standards. However, even if that "rebellious" teacher far exceeded the test scores of the acquiesent teacher, the good but rebellious teacher is often pushed out or so burned out they must quit. The mediocre, "read the script" teachers remain.

There are schools with the exactly same demographic that have created a culture at the school which allows an academic environment. They apply discipline consistently and fairly. They do not create impossible demands on the teachers or force out the successful teachers so a more stable academic environment exists. There are significant numbers of children with a troubled home life that can do well, when given an environment in which it is possible to learn. Quality administration is the key to that, and quality teachers are the secondary factor.

It is such a complicated subject, and it just exhausts me, because the abusive and backward environment in which my wife worked caused emotional stress for both of us. But from hearing a thousand stories of psychotic and incompetent behavior in a specific school, my wife has convinced me that nothing could be better for those kids than to stick them in a trailer at a healthier, even over capacity, school with a healthier administration. The best thing then is to shut down those schools and reopen a year later with a well qualified, well educated, administrative team to effectively manage the school, and then take time to interview to hire teachers with high academic standards for their students. You can then put all the same kids back, and throw in a few more, and the place will be significantly more successful than it is now.

To her, Judge Manning is the White Horse Knight riding in over the hill. He is finally starting to break the stranglehold that current corrupt bosses have on the system. His audits have included interviewing teachers, successful students, poor student, and others to rationally determine the causes for the failures. The interviews clearly point to administration and bureaucracy. CMS always thinks that money is the reason for the failure, but that is definitely not the case at these schools. Meanwhile, these poor schools will do things like buy new printers when the toner runs out, or buy $60,000/yr computer programs that are only used a couple times a year. Pretty much education comes down to classrooms, textbooks, teachers with high standards (and decent education), and administration to set the tone and culture of learning. My favorite example of waste is that they hired a full time "mentor" for an understaffed department, but they hired someone with no teaching experience and a average degree, and said her job would not allow her to give feedback, help cover classes, or really anything. So for the cost of a teacher, the school district had someone watch others teach for half the day, and then do absolutely nothing else, while all the teachers are running around stopping fights, covering classes, grading papers, etc. Continuing on the theme of poor management of resources, they'll give one teacher in a department 170 students total, while a similarly qualified teacher in the same department has 30 (TOTAL). Even when those light load teacher volunteer to take some students from the overwhelmed teacher, and the class changes to do it are obvious and easy, the administration refuses because they don't know how to work the scheduling software. Not only is the one teacher overworked and on the brink of burn out, but the other teacher is bored and loses that "feeling like your making a difference" that keeps people in teaching.

What always cracks me up is that the administration always considered teachers who had high degree of educational attainment as completely equal to everyone else, but if an average teacher transferred from a 'better' school in the district, they were treated like royalty. The results consistently showed that the well educated teachers produced high testing students, and the transfers, using one example ended up getting a <5% passing rate. There was a retired medical doctor teaching biology at this school, and they gave him the remedial classes rather than the advanced, where the college bound students could have benefitted from his vast knowledge. They ended up running him out of the profession by the way the administration treated him.

Note that although there are definitely some horror stories attributable to the students, the problem is almost always the conditions created by the school leadership.

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dubone    622

wow...I graduated from Garinger in '04.

Your peers must have had some low test scores to be the list for 4 worst performing schools in the state for multiple years :(. I believe that the students at these low performing schools that come out with a good education, are truly to be commended. You can get a passable education anywhere, but it is harder in schools with little academic culture (I'm speaking in general terms here).

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spectacle21    0

Your peers must have had some low test scores to be the list for 4 worst performing schools in the state for multiple years :(. I believe that the students at these low performing schools that come out with a good education, are truly to be commended. You can get a passable education anywhere, but it is harder in schools with little academic culture (I'm speaking in general terms here).

I understand what you're saying. I spent all four years at Garinger and people use to always be shocked when I told them what school I attended. Basically, there are "good" and "bad" students everywhere. On the otherhand, there are low-performing students at Myers Park who are overshadowed by the school's very high performance. I graduated in the top 20 in my class and I'm currently a sophomore @ Morehouse College in Atlanta. People ask me how did I survive Garinger and I always laugh. Its just a matter of separating yourself from the "bad" crowd - so to speak. From my experiences at the school, things were not a bad as perceived.

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MZT    0

Yes, Waddell opened as a compromise school -- somewhat urban and somewhat suburban. But it is far under capacity, while other neaby high Schools are overflowing.

A lot of my neighbors in Starmount (on the east side of South Blvd) send their kids to Olympic (which is farther west than Waddell.) The level of faith in Waddell is very low, and they will accept longer travel times for their kids to avoid the place.

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Creasy336    0

The problem starts in the elementary schools, then gets worse in the middle schools. By the time the students reach highschool it is already too late in most cases. CMS should focus on elementary and middle schools and fix the problem early.

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