March 10, 2015
Mary McCray is chair of the CMS Board of Education. In her presentation to the Forum, she talked about a budget preparation period this spring in which the board will have to pare programs down to the funds available – which will leave even current undertakings either cut back or abandoned.
She talked about how the board continues to seek a diverse staff, both at the administrative leave and among teachers, that better reflects the diversity of CMS’s student body.
And on the day before the board formally begins its search for its next superintendent, McCray said the board had already decided that it would begin the search process by consulting its community.
The five videos below include McCray’s presentation and the Q&A that followed. Helping to field questions were Frank Barnes, CMS chief accountability officer and, after McCray’s departure for another appointment, LaTarzja Henry, CMS assistant superintendent for community partnerships and parent engagement.
Part 1: Presentation
Part 2: Presentation
Part 3: Q&A
Q: I understand the superintendent has made 9 new appointments, and all 9 are white women. What happened to diversity?
Q: Does top management reflect the diversity of the school system?
Q: Explain why A-to-F grades are inappropriate because of the test scores on which they are based.
Q: As a new parent to CMS, all I had to look at was the state school report cards. What is CMS doing to improve the scores?
Q: What are we doing to close the achievement gap?
Q: What are you doing to involve parents in the decision to hire the next superintendent?
Q: What are you doing to tell the community about the good things going on in CMS?
Q: At the fork between Learning Immersion and Talent Development, most blacks are shunted off to LI. What can be done to improve test results?
Q: How can non-CMS staff running afterschool programs better coordinate with CMS staff?
Q: Since children learn at different paces, would you agree that the test score data is corrupt and built on a faulty premise?
Part 4: Q&A
Q: Does your legislative agenda address overtesting, and including African-American history and culture in the curriculum?
Q: Would you agree we really don’t know what it will take to fix the damage that’s been done to African-Americans, and have a conversation with the community?
Q: Your community meetings focus on the agenda you bring. Then you do what you wanted to do. What’s going to be different this time?
Q: Are you familiar with the global history of why educational systems have developed this dependence on testing?
Q: Following up on the vote to reject a new tax to pay teachers, will you go back to commissioners to boost teacher pay?
Q: Will CMS use the BRAKES highway safety program sponsored by the NC Highway Patrol and Doug Herbert?
Q: Have you considered outsourcing driver’s ed via Requests for Proposals from insurance companies?
Q: Are we going to redefine the rules to lower out-of-school suspensions, particularly for black males?
Part 5: Q&A
Q: When you have community meetings, you hear just a tiny fraction of CMS parents or the voting public. How do you keep what you hear in perspective?
Q: Driver’s ed was started by the car companies to sell cars. Are they supporting the state program in exchange for doing business in North Carolina?
Q: What role is CMS playing in the current social mobility task force?
Q: Do all children in the same grade, irrespective of learning level, face the same set of questions on, say, an end-of-grade test?
Q: On Talent Development, and AP, and IB, are you looking at new tests that will get children in, rather than keep them out?