Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blunt words for CMS

Steve Perry, the CNN contributor and principal of a Hartford, Conn., magnet school that successfully sends mostly poor, black kids to college, had some blunt words for Charlotte this morning.

He called "unconscionable" the quality of education black males in particular are getting in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. And he said CMS and the community can't let poverty be an excuse.

"You can't catch a 4-year-old up? Then you suck at your job," Perry told about 350 educators and community leaders at MeckEd's annual community breakfast.

Perry said only 39 percent of black males graduate from CMS, though that appears to be a figure from 2007-08, and rates have improved significantly since then. "That's not just an achievement gap," Perry said, "it's almost two different school systems."

The solution, he said, is for all parents and community members to insist that every school is as strong as the school they want to send their children to. And that means outstanding teachers in every classroom setting high expectations for all students.

And one other thing is crucial, Perry said: Love.

"A child who's loved will go through fire for you," Perry said. "All these kids want is love, and when they feel like they're not loved, they do really bad things."

Perry's Capital Preparatory Magnet School sends 100 percent of its graduates to four-year colleges and universities despite having a generally poor and minority student body.

That experience tells him that poverty can be overcome. The poverty that's truly debilitating, he said, is "the poverty of low expectations."

Perry didn't give CMS enough credit for all the progress it has made in narrowing the achievement gap over the past five years or so. And he offered very few specifics on precisely how to ensure every classroom has a great teacher. We doubt CMS is turning away great applicants in favor of weak ones.

Even so, it was an important message for Charlotte to hear. The achievement gap is still there, and black males still lag behind most. And Perry raises an intriguing question: Would CMS's lower-quality schools be allowed to persist if the community's movers and shakers had to send their kids to them? We know the answer to that.

-- Taylor Batten


Jim said...

Did Perry mention the size of the student body at his magnet?

trmiller21 said...

I still don't understand why the tax payer dollars that fund CMS aren't distributed evenly amoung each school in the district? It always seems that Myers Park gets the lions share of funding, while Independence and West Meck get the scraps. If you want to really start to change things, share the wealth and this comment is coming from a Republican :)

Shamash said...


We need the gubmint to provide "love" now.

Because black boys can't get that at home.

Andy said...

I'm just playing devils advocate here but I seriously doubt that the quality of education that they are receiving is the problem. The graduation/dropout rate is definitely a problem...and yes his school must be doing something right..that can be admitted. But one of the major problems in my opinion is the culture and the lack of discipline arising from a majority of these children's homes where there is only one parent that is probably working all of the time and is not at home enough to provide the discipline and structure that is required for these children to succeed. I think one of the other problems is the ghetto mindset where too many of their friends and neighbors drop out of school and turn to crime and drugs and have no incentive to graduate and go to college...there aren't enough role models to push them to want more and to remove themselves from the ghetto lifestyle and make a better life for themselves. If all they have ever seen or known in life from their surroundings is that it's just as easy to live off welfare and food stamps and no one is pushing them to want more then they probably in general are content with the status quo. Just my $.02...

Jim said...

Follow up to my earlier question: from Google, the Capital Preparatory Magnet School has a student body of "...just under 300..." in grades 6 - 12.

Custom education is a different animal than mass education (it seems to me).

Unknown said...

I guarantee you that one thing he has in his school that we don't have in CMS is discipline. I've seen documentaries on some of these special charter schools and they don't let kids get away with the stuff you can in CMS. In CMS, Principals are afraid of parents complaining to the school board so they let the kids run wild.

Shamash said...

Sure, figure out a way to either kick out (or weed out) the trouble kids and your selective little "charter" school can do wonders, I'm sure.

Use randomly selected kids from the same school district and then we'll be impressed.

I have yet to see a "miracle" school perform that trick.

Skippy said...

Actually, someone should tell Perry Mason that this is the case in every major city. And just one time will one of these "courageous" purveyors of truth speak about the real cause of this problem and it is not money or the lack thereof, it is the cancerous culture brought on by years of the welfare dependence that has produced over 70% out of wedlock children in the black community.

jt tj said...

What's "unconscionable" is that my children in CMS are deprived of optimal education due to the disruptions, and lack of discipline by black males.

Mr. Perry might want to remember "love", behavior, and expectations are established before a black male arrives on campus.

And another thing, how many exceptional teachers and principles have been incentivized to move to underperforming schools at the expense of average students in their neighborhood school?

Victimization, without responsibility and ultimately a demand for more money, and the redistribution of wealth!

Disgusting and Infuriating!

Wiley Coyote said...

This artcle is some of the most ridiculous tripe I've read in awhile.

West Charlotte - the poster child for everything wrong in CMS yet gets more money and attention bestowed on it than any other high school - had 394 students eligible to graduate in 2011/2012.

343 of those students are Black.

201 Blacks graduated, 142 did not.

Of the total 394 students, 63.5% of girls graduated and only 46.5% of boys graduated.

Did the girls receive more love?

They all had the same teachers, same benefits, as 89% are economically disadvantaged.

I'll ask the same question again for the umpteenth time: Why did 201 gradutate but 142 did not? What are the differences?

We tried strategic staffing Mr. Perry and it didn't work. We tried busing and it didn't work.

Why don't we try a culture change in the Black community along with personal and parental changes before they come to school?

Mark Wilson said...

Mr. Perry is clearly about as ignorant and blinded as the majority of the "african american community" is. You can't teach stupid! It amazes me how over 90% of the white children whether poor or wealthy pass regardless of their home conditions. STOP pointing the finger at the educator and start holding whomever the adult is in the "african americans" home accountable for not showing any responsibility for the child.

Anonymous said...

Perry said, "All these kids want is love."

For anyone out there who missed the memo - love is NOT giving a kid absolutely everything he asks for. Love is NOT accepting the culture that any black kid who studies hard and speaks proper English is "acting white," "selling out," "an Uncle Tom" or any other "denying your Blackness" crap. Love is not excusing away bad or criminal behavior. Love is NOT insisting that absolutely every single problem you or your child has ever faced or will ever face is caused wholly and only by white racism. And for heaven's sake, love is NOT teaching your children that everyone that has 1 dollar more than you only has that 1 dollar through illegal, immoral or unethical means, and that the role of government is to take that dollar and give it to you.

Jess said...

In response to trmiller21's comment regarding funding, it is common knowledge that funding per pupil is exactly the way you think it should be - higher poverty/lower performing schools receive around twice the funding per pupil than those at the opposite ends of the spectrum. The following articles have some good info.