Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MYV's Ideas for CMS Budget

Mecklenburg Youth Voice has been talking about the CMS budget. Here are our ideas.

Academics and extra-curricular activities

Students are in school to learn. Everything else is nice, but extra.

Prioritize the number of core classes available and reduce the number of electives such as highschool sports classes like ping pong class and some other non-academic classes.

If there is a question, reduce middle school athletics - if someone wants to pay for this it means the school board is picking athletics over academics.

Eliminate redundant field trips and projects like going on the same field trip in both 4th and 5th grade.

If you have a choice, don't cut things that help academics like afterschool tutorials with teachers in core classes.

Try new things to help students learn. Use videoconferencing instead of having special classes at each school. Use independent study for some high level classes.


Change our schedules. Make a 4-day week work for high schools by getting the state law changed, making the school day longer, shortening our year by cutting our breaks and not making us watch videos for weeks after our exams are finished. Let us use the extra days for homework, jobs, sports, rest or internships.

Students can do certain jobs instead of paying people to do them. This could be worked into community service, independent study or punishment. Examples include landscaping and mowing grass, assisting with computers and other technology, school websites, library assistance, advising clubs, tutoring, cleaning, etc.

Make students pay for AP tests…but refund the money for good scores. That's an incentive to do well. Scores are more important than numbers of students taking tests.


Try year-round schools so that you can put more students into fewer schools

Manage resources like textbooks, computers, furniture, sports equipment, TVs, etc. Some classrooms have way too many textbooks while others have none. Some schools have more computers and TVs than they can ever use.

Trade resources from school to school instead of always buying new things.

Be green and use green technology. Don't leave computers on all day and night. Turn lights off at night, etc.

Teachers don't use all of the textbooks. Don't order textbooks that teachers are never going to use.

Make PTAs buy things that help with academics. The jumbotron and the big TVs in the lobby for announcements are nice, but they don't help people learn more and pass tests.


Don't waste paper! Stop sending useless printed handouts home with students. Set up parent and student emails and put our report cards online.

One thing we need you to add to the budget is paper! Give teachers more paper to make copies. They get one box a year and have to pay for the rest. It is hard to take and do well on a test when you have to share your test copy or use one that the teacher has used for 5 years.


If teachers are going to lose their jobs, make sure it is the ones who don't care anymore or are bad teachers. Not the ones who work hard and do a good job. If you want to know which ones these are, ask the students.

Administrators and other non-teachers

Do we really need so many people working at the front office? Use the non-teacher positions at schools wisely. Every high school does not need a separate registrar, lockout person, attendance person and other assorted front desk people.

Rotate positions such as registrar from school to school the way school nurses operate. Maybe some of these positions could be given to coaches or assistant principals.

Review employees who work all year - how many months are they really needed? Some administrators are busiest at the beginning and end of the school years. If you need extra help bring in retired leaders, business people, etc. to help during busy times

Take a look at salaries. Eliminate bonuses for people at the Ed Center and teachers. Put a salary cap on top level employees and others who are making a lot of money. Measure performance and use that to adjust salaries higher if you need to.

Restructure guidance counselors so their jobs are more focused on what students need. You need a lot at the beginning of school to help with schedules. You don't need as many the rest of the year.


In neighborhoods where it is possible, integrate school bus transportation with CATS. Give students bus passes. You won't need as many buses. It will also help CATS have more riders. It might also encourage city bus drivers to stop picking up students who are cutting class.

Group bus stops - we don't need to have them everywhere.

Make older kids walk farther to get to the bus or school.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

School board applicants

Did you watch or read about the school board applicants for district 2? What do you think?

You can read about them here
or watch on CMS TV-3

Monday, November 24, 2008


Do you think teachers should be able to use Facebook and not get in trouble at school? What would you recommend to teachers about posting on Facebook?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Does CMS need to check into this or not?

What do you think about this story about CMS needing to audit the free and reduced lunch program? Some school board members think it is necessary; others do not. What's at stake: CMS uses the free and reduced lunch (FRL) numbers as a formula in the school budget - basically it decides which schools get more money and other stuff.

Come to the MYV information meeting!

Mecklenburg Youth Voice is recruiting new members from Mecklenburg high schools. MYV is a youth-driven and youth-led project seeking to ensure that the voices of youth are heard and considered in school and government decision-making. MYV's projects this year include dialogues with CMS superintendent Peter Gorman, meetings with school board members and other educational leaders, visits to government meetings, participation in the Candidate Forum for Youth, Kids Voting and more. Service hours are available.

Come to our introductory meeting for current and new members on Wednesday, September 17 from 6:30 until 8:00 PM. The meeting will be at the CMS Education Center, 701 E MLK Blvd (28202) in the 4th floor board room - parking is plentiful. Please use the building's rear entrance.

For information, visit (student section) or contact MYV leaders Scott Chambers (, Olivia Scott ( or Antar Azan ( or contact Kids Voting director Amy Farrell ( or 704-343-6999).

Monday, March 17, 2008

MYV Advertisement @ March 11th School Board Meeting

In many occasions throughout history it’s been noted how one of the very main objectives of any governed population is to be heard with the utmost of attention. It has also been shown and understood in history, the negative effects on an administrative system when voices are not heard. Thus, I intend to bring about knowledge of how such voice and representation is being dealt with at this current point in time, within Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
The twenty first century youth are an extremely aware group, not only locally, but globally. With the many events that take priority in this day and age, such as budgets, government decisions and their effect on American lives, it seems that youth voice drowns and fades out in the web of priorities, making them seem anywhere from dull to silent. After a while, these youth minds begin to wonder at the resources that they have around them, and the magnitude of their potential effect. They realize that with the use of their peers, schools, their districts; that they can positively affect the educational environment in which they are enveloped, which in turn directly affects the students themselves. This cycle and its properties have been fully realized by a group of student leaders, forming a group called Mecklenburg Youth Voice.
Mecklenburg Youth Voice has taken note of the long standard cycle for student input to return to those who can truly make a difference in the school system, and subsequently on the education that motivates and prepares students for the future as successful individuals. Mecklenburg Youth Voice, or MYV for short, is here to lend a hand in cranking the wheel for student involvement in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.
I quote the Mecklenburg Youth Voice mission statement directly in saying, ‘Mecklenburg Youth Voice is a student-led and growing coalition of high school students seeking to provide opportunities for Charlotte-Mecklenburg youth to have a voice, an understanding of the issues, and a role in local government decision-making. Mecklenburg Youth Voice offers leaders a valuable youth resource to generate positive change in the community’, and quote.
In speaking of student voice, we can even connect to the very matter at hand for tonight’s meeting involving the Anti-Bullying policy. The issues students faced and still face with certain kinds of discrimination within the educational environment have been heard through the voices of students and various adults that have spoken at these meetings, student comments in the classroom setting which have made the issue evident to school staff, and the student reaction to these comments. The process of having students represented through the school they are currently possibly having issues with, or voicing opinions with students and staff that may or may not take them seriously, is simply painful on the student that is trying to be heard. Mecklenburg Youth Voice can offer students with issues in voicing their opinions a way to respectively speak out while in a group that understands student matters maturely; and all of this can be done while staying out of the realm of being an interest group. That balance allows student thoughts to be projected into the CMS administrative pool with respectable and even professional manner. With meetings inside the CMS Education Center with the school board members, school leaders, and Dr. Peter Gorman, Mecklenburg Youth Voice can flow student concerns and ideas to the right people for a positive effect on the educational environment of CMS students.
Mecklenburg Youth Voice serves as a beacon for student representation in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. It gives way for the voices that may not be so clearly heard in the mix of current political matters at hand or simply a tight agenda at their school’s administration in which their thoughts may not be fully comprehended. Especially with the current size of the CMS student body, many voices are inevitably drowned out in the student input process. As Mecklenburg Youth Voice grows, it can respectively give CMS students an even greater venue for their thoughts and ideas to be heard. The contacting process is rather simple; emailing Mecklenburg Youth Voice at or contact our advisor and community sponsor, Amy Farrell at
Student voice is an important piece of the educational world. It allows administrative positions the ability to hear the direct effect of policy and has the potential to express concerns involving the academic environment to those who can make a difference in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. With the continued help of our community sponsor and advisor, Amy Farrell, and our CMS staff contact, Earnest Winston, MYV will continue to make student voice be heard. Exercising civic responsibility and student leadership, we are Mecklenburg Youth Voice.

Antar Azan

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gorman Meeting Notes~November 14, 2007

Although this blog is coming late it should be a nice way to get a steady write up about our meetings going.

The following are just a few highlights from our meeting with Dr. Gorman, CMS Superintendent and Mr. Scott R. Muri the Area Superintendent for the Northeast Learning Community(Mallard Creek, Vance, and Garinger High Schools)

We began by discussing the recent election results. Voters had approved the package for the CMS bonds and School Board canidates had been chosen. Dr. Gorman made several points about the school board canidates:

Why were several canidates chosen over others?
-Could names have played a factor?
-Did not stating specific issues help canidates?

After a great dicussion on this topic we moved on to our main issue for the night, School Progress Reports. Upon entering we each recieved an excerpt from Dr. Gorman's blog titled "Data and its Consequences" and a CMS packet on School Progress Reports.

Some students at the meeting were clearly against spending money on a report that was already done on a Federal, State, and District level yearly. After a brief summary of what his plans were Dr. Gorman opened the floor for questions; "tear it up if you want to, I'm a big boy, I can handle it"

Of course the first question asked how much CMS was planning on spending, the Superintendent responded that in total the grading program would cost around $400, 000 to $500, 000.

What would citizens be offered for $500, 000? Dr. Gorman stressed that other reports lack the "specifics" necessary to classify a school as top notch. This new system would compare kids at one school in categories such as free/reduced lunch, ethnic/racial group, home life, parents education, and income, to those of students from another school -- with this data CMS plans to take teaching styles that are working for example, poor minority students at one school to help students who fit the same criteria at other schools.

Another vital part of the school progress report is growth measurement. Gorman detailed two different situations that occured in CMS high schools during the past year. On one hand we have an achievement zone school that three years ago had around thirty percent passing the state test. Presently around fifty percent are passing. That shows twenty percent growth, yet the school is still labeled underachieving despite its vast growth. The second situation occured at one of CMS's "high performance" schools. A student enters the fifth grade reading at seventh grade level, yet after a year in the classroom they are still shown to be reading on a seventh grade level. While it is great that the student is above the average, school is meant help children progress. Do we allow schools that meet the standards to become complacent?

The National Assessment of Educational Programs conducted a study that showed the number one factor that was constant in growth achievement was not the parents backgrounds or education levels, but the amount of books in the home. However, this line becomes blurred when you have what Dr. Gorman described as a "Katie vs Sally" situation. Katies parents both graduated from college, one with a Doctorate the other a Masters, they live in a well to do neighborhood and she attends a great school where teachers with National Board certification is the norm. Sally, however, goes to a school where the passing rate is thirty percent, she is on free lunch, and her parents never attended college. If Sally were to bring home a "C" on her report card the reaction may be slightly different if Katie were to do so. Dr. Gorman concluded the scenario with "its a little bit of black, a little bit of white, and a whole lot of gray"

After deviating from the original topic to the importance of parents and PTA's in the success of a childs education it was time to wrap up. MYV members helped offer some addition criteria for meausuring schools such as the amount of school spirit and student participation. The group also dicussed how a school would ever be able to shake the official rating of an "D" Does the community not already know through test scores and news media what schools are doing what right and which schools could use some improvement?

In his closing remarks Dr. Gorman touched on his three goals for the school progress reports Clarity, Contest, Candor. According to the Superintendent those who see a problem have three choices they can either 1.Not follow those doing the wrong, 2. Follow quietly, or 3. Change the situation themselves. Dr. Gorman seems to be doing the last and left after saying its all about "who do I want taking care of me when I can't take care of myself"