Saturday, May 28, 2011

In CMS, a makeover and a mess

Earlier this spring, nine corporate and nonprofit executives gathered around a table at Shamrock Gardens Elementary School to ask Margaret Hollar about her media center.

That’s what we call our school libraries now that they have computers and cameras and media specialists, which is what Hollar has been at Shamrock for the past four years. She’s Ms. Hollar to everyone, and she’s a very good librarian, and that’s why executives from Target and Heart for America wanted to talk to her.

Ms. Hollar’s library is a smallish and ragged kind of place, with dated furniture and few comfortable spots for children to tuck themselves away with a book. And so, Shamrock applied last year – and again this year – for a Target Library Makeover, awarded to about 40 U.S. schools. Those winners get modern furniture, carpet and shelving, all of which would make
Shamrock’s media center look as good as Ms. Hollar already makes it feel.

Like many libraries, Shamrock’s is a nerve center for the school. It hosts the morning TV announcements, and it serves as a workroom for the science projects and research that comes from classrooms throughout the building. At its core, though, it’s a place where kids learn to love books, and that’s where Ms. Hollar comes in.

She’s spent most of her 24 years in education teaching theater and arts, so when she reads to her young students, she does it with a thespian’s flair. She sings. She dresses up. She makes books inviting – and while many kids don’t need much convincing, there are always some who do.

Shamrock, located east of Plaza Midwood, is like a lot of schools that have lower-income populations – with more kids who don’t get read to at home, more who struggle in the structure of a classroom. Libraries give children opportunities to learn in different ways. “It gives them a reason to want to go to school,” Hollar says.

That’s what she told the Target folks that day in March. She told them also about the good things happening at her library – the fourth-graders doing film projects and presentations, and the plan she had to offer the media center to Shamrock parents who need a computer to help with job searches and research.

The executives seemed to especially like that, and they already were familiar with Shamrock from last year’s contest. This time, it took them just a few hours to issue a judgment: Ms. Hollar’s media center was a winner.

“We’re very proud of the things we’ve done,” she said Thursday morning, driving to the school that has since eliminated her job.

Earlier this month, Hollar was called to a meeting that included Shamrock’s principal, Duane Wilson, and a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools human resources officer. Because of budget cuts, Wilson, like other CMS schools, was given the difficult choice of eliminating one of three positions – media specialist, counselor or literacy facilitator.

At Shamrock, it was the media specialist. The librarian.

A caveat here: It’s easy these days to make a strong case against anyone or any program getting cut, especially when previous cuts have left us with only the most critical positions. So as we look hard at the county and schools programs we want to keep, we should at least make sure they’re as valuable as the librarians and counselors and teachers we’re sending away.

Hollar, by the way, was offered another position within CMS – teaching theater and arts in Cornelius. “I know I’m lucky to still have a job,” she says. There’s a possibility, too, that the state or county will give CMS enough money to restore some positions. But in the unlikely occurrence that the Shamrock media specialist job reappears, Hollar will have to apply for it with everyone else.

Wilson, the principal, was not available for comment. He was in Washington for part of the week, accepting the honor from Target and the Heart of America Foundation. Shamrock, the only N.C. school to win, will still get its makeover. Its library will change from shabby to showy, but without the woman who made it shine.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

I live in Plaza Midwood and as an educator and a resident, this saddens me. I don't know how good their Literacy Facilitator is but many of them are only Principals in training (not all, but many). This really makes me want to reconsider sending my kids to Shamrock. It's amazing the positive attitude she's keeping though. There are still really great teachers out there doing the right things for kids.

Pamela Grundy said...

Even if we do end up losing Ms. Hollar (and we're fighting hard to keep her), Shamrock will still be full of wonderful educators. One of the things I love most about the school is the broad commitment to providing all its children with a rich and meaningful education. With the help of our growing number of Plaza-Midwood families, this education is becoming richer every year. We've had setbacks along the way, but we have always overcome them, and we will come through this one too.

Pamela Grundy
Shamrock PTA president and mother of a Shamrock fourth grader

Anonymous said...

The principal should be REALLY embarrassed... as the decision was left up to them...

Anonymous said...

CMS has ranked putting Ms. Hollar's position back as important but not as important as re-hiring 406 teachers just let go. The County Commission budget (one of them) ignores hiring her and her friends back, skips over teacher assist posistions not funding then, and funds a low non-performing programm called Bright Beginnings. It is all politics.

Ghoul said...

I find it hard to believe that CMS would allow the Target program to happen at Shamrock since it would give an advantage to just one school. There was an article a few years ago about a parent who wanted to donate a ballet rail to a high school. But the principal could not accept it unless the same was done for other schools. It took months of paperwork to work through CMS's red tape and he ended up spending thousands more than he originally intended.

But maybe it was because his school was in the suburbs and this one is not. Some schools are more equal than others, just look at the per pupil spending.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response Pamela (I was the first writer) I really want to send my kids to our neighborhood school. Hopefully, by the time they get there, they will have a librarian again. The powers that be need to straighten their priorities. Losing school librarians, as well as counselors will greatly hurt the next generation. I guess what I was saying is that these positions should not have been placed on the chopping block. Let us know what the community can do for Ms. Hollar.

Anonymous said...

Likewise, Nike wanted to redo Independence High School's football field as a gift for their accomplishments in football. CMS would not allow it because it would not be fair to the other schools. If you have ever been to an event at Independence, their football field is pathetic.

Anonymous said...

*blinks*

I'm glad Ms. Hollar was offered another job, but in what universe is a theater and arts teacher more important than a media specialist?

Anonymous said...

It was THE PRINCIPAL'S choice of which position to eliminate. He is a real hypocrite to cut her job, then go off on a paid-for trip to receive her award!

Wiley Coyote said...

Ghoul...

You might as well go out and have a conversation with a rock because you'll get more out of it than wasting your time trying to rationalize how CMS does anything.

Whether it's money for a ballet rail or $55 million dollars given to only 7 schools or even more recently, one woman trying to raise $1,000 from "Blacks in the community" for Black only students.

The difference between Shamrock Gardens getting the Target makeover and monies specifically targeted to certain schools by CMS and corporations, is that any school can apply and have a chance to get the funds. Shamrock Gardens won the money so that's a good thing.

Venita Peyton said...

What a shame that she wasn't allowed to pick up the award...that trip alone would have done wonders for her self esteem. Unless, they were afraid that she'd be asked a question that she'd have to honestly answer.

Anonymous said...

Media Specialists are classroom teachers and should not be cut. There are some principals making 6 figures a year, who don't do as much as their APs. They should be considered for cuts!!

Anonymous said...

It is truly wonderful all that Ms. Hollar has done for Shamrock! It is amazing that she won this honor and will have her media center remodeled and brought to the beauty that she has always known to be there. The shame occurs when there is no professional staff to maintain the media center next year, no one to continue the excellence that Ms. Hollar provided, no one to ensure that the books not get lost or stolen, no one to keep an eye on all the precious new things this award has bestowed upon that school.
I wish you luck Shamrock.

voice4reason said...

simply shaking my head in sadness and disgust

blpadge2 said...

Anonymous @ 9:17, my thoughts exactly. It is principals like that that give the profession a bad name. It is not what they can do to help their staff be effective educators, but what their staff can do to make them look good.

therestofthestory said...

It always makes me sad to hear when an employee choice like this is made. It seems this year, the choice forced upon principals was especially unsavory. Could another staff member had been a better choice. Of course with the low student population count Shamrock Gardens has and several schools around it, could they staff share whether it is a principal or some other position.

Also, since Lincoln Heights is closing as an elementary school, why not restock Shamrock Gardens with its media. It was reported that the last time Hands on Charlotte had a work day at Lincoln Heights, no parents showed up and a work crew worked in the media center cleaning dust off many of the books.

Pamela Grundy said...

To 8:47

One of the saddest things about Ms. Hollar's job loss is that she was far from alone. According to the Observer hers was one of 80 media center specialist jobs cut across CMS. Many others are being cut around the country. There is definitely a problem with priorities here. More and more money for testing, less and less for the people who inspire kids to learn.

pstonge said...

Good morning, all, and thanks for the thoughtful comments.

On Shamrock's principal: His decision, like the one that many principals faced, wasn't an easy one. He had to pick one of three valuable positions to cut. I don't know what went into that choice; he didn't return messages I left for him through CMS.

Peter

Anonymous said...

How about the Athletic Director that only teaches ONE class and has over 25 HOURS per week for planning. Or the Head Coaches that teach only TWO classes and have over 15 hours per week of planning.

CMS cannot accept money but Principals can take free trips, board members can take trips (BROAD) and the leader can spend money (BROAD) as he sees fit. What a hypocratic MESS !

Larry said...

Strange a comment about how hard we tax payers are having it has disappeared. Could you check on that Peter. I am sure the Observer is not trying to sway this story nor or you.

pstonge said...

Larry,

Please try again. I haven't deleted any comments.

Peter

Lori Reed said...

This is really sad. As a parent I know how important librarians are for children especially the younger ones learning to read. I'm an adult educator who works in a library. I thought teaching my children to read would be a piece of cake. I was wrong! But with the help of the media specialist at my son's school and the librarians at ImaginOn and University City Regional Library, my son has made huge leaps with reading. Ms. Hollar sounds like the kind of person who will succeed no matter what the circumstances. I just hope the same can be said for the children who lose her at Shamrock.

Carolyn Foote said...

Continuing with this grant and renovation without the librarian there just promotes the idea that a library is just a room with books.

A library wouldn't be anything without the librarian who teaches students, works with teachers, designs the space, creates a warm learning atmosphere, reads the books, plans activities, and more.

She impacts every student in a school particularly a low income school.

One of many ironies in a year where nationwide teachers-of-the-year have found themselves laid off as well.

I also cannot fathom how the district is turning down any moneys just because one school would have something others won't? In lean times, these outside funds can raise things up for the whole district.

Shame on the principal here. Hard choice or not, given the grant money and qualifications of the librarian, and impact on the classroom, she should have been retained.

Pamela Grundy said...

Larry,

If you're referring to the Lexis comment, I think you're better off redoing it to make your point more clearly. It was mighty confusing.

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope that when teachers come to her for research help or to ask how to acquire appropriate materials that she declines. Please don't be noble...the staff and administrators must come to realize what they've done. When their reading test scores fall, they'll get a dose of reality.

pstonge said...

The Lexus comment? Yes, I saw that one early this morning. Don't know why it has left us.

Ghoul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pstonge said...

Ghoul,

I see a comment from you at 8:05. Have you left another? I moderate comments on this blog and have approved every one today. I think anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I welcome disagreement (go into past columns and check the comments for yourself). The comments that don't make it on are those that involve namecalling and severe nastiness.

Peter

Larry said...

For those who missed it, it centered on a taxpayer who is looking for a job. I guess that is so hard to figure out in this day. Strange considering the lay offs at the Observer.

And Oh thank you Pam. You and your group are part of what makes CMS what it is today. How clear is that?

Yes and I hope you take it as intended, a Compliment otherwise Peter might wipe this one off.

Oh and be sure everyone to join those of us who want to see many cuts at CMS at www.CMSCuts.com due to the wasteful spending in the past and the fact they are selling schools they never should have built.

Well they tried building these schools as they tried social engineering. But then again their are those who would agree are there not?

Maybe one day when we have tons of money to waste again people will quit looking at the spending and if we are wasting money. But for now I think we need to have some benefits for the costs.

Pamela Grundy said...

Thanks, Larry.

I think it was the Lexus reference that threw folks off. Shamrock's getting a fancy library, and you started your post with reference to a fancy car. It seemed like you were taking a page from Bolyn McClung's book and going all metaphorical on us. It was awfully early in the morning too.

Larry said...

Why Pam would I think about a fancy car and the like in this day and age.

We tax payers have very little left.

I in fact mentioned the loss of one that a neighbor had along with a job which provided his family the needs they must have and are living off of savings.

So it is good we are able to talk about needs for the schools being so important and taxes going up instead of finding cuts and ways like www.AchievementFirst.org to really do it right for about half the price.

part-time teacher said...

As Larry said, we could do it right for about half the price. We could use a two-tier system like the one used in both higher education and the private sector. For an example, see story today in the business section: "At well-paying law firms, a low-paid career corner--Full-fledged lawyers earn less than half the pay of counterparts; partner track a no-no."

allie701 said...

I'll bet there were administrative positions with no student contact that could have been cut but the principal didn't want to reduce his fiefdom.

Anonymous said...

Plaza Midwood aka the poor guys Myers Park is still a small nice historic part of old vintage Charlotte with the old style country club down Mecklenburg Ave and huge oaks lining the Plaza but the area has been gone and Shamrock school is old and delapidated. Crime will eventually take it all over.
There are better jobs in better areas.
Everything always happens for the better anyway.

part-time teacher said...

Ms. Hollar's salary: $57,461.30. I'm sure she does a great job, but we have reached our debt limit. Get an eager, recent college graduate in there as media specialist, and have her work 4 days a week. Pay 25K a year, no benefits, but with the possibility of a "full-time track" position after a probationary period of three years. You would receive hundreds of applications from all over the country. You could get starving arts and theater types for less than that.

Pamela Grundy said...

To part-time teacher:

And I suppose that to keep saving money you would ensure that no one ever advanced to that "full time track" position, but rather would keep a revolving door of "starving arts and theater types" cycling through. I've certainly seen that happen in the private sector, but it's not the kind of strategy that I'd want for the institution that helps educate my child.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that Mr Wilson had to let Ms Hollar go who teaches EVERY student at Shamrock Gardens. But could keep the Literacy Facilitator who does not teach every student. The Literacy Facititator's job is to set up tutoring and prepare the test boxes for ALL the useless test that the state of NC and CMS require. Not to mention the LF does part of the principal job because the principals are at "meetings" every week.

People need to research Pete Gorman and see that Media Specialist have been cut in all school systems that Pete has worked in. Pete feels that Media Specialist are't important but they are one of a few staff members that teach EVERY STUDENT in the school.

So I guess the new titles for the Literacy Facilitator that were saved should be Literacy Facititator/Media Specialist since they have the time to do both.

You will be missed Ms. Hollar and just remember that Mr Wilson doesn't value you but the parents do.

I say name the media center at Shamrock Gardens the Margaret Hollar center since SHE is WHO got the GRANT not the Principal or the Literacy Facilitator.

Ghoul said...

Pam,

I'll answer your question. There needs to be a cap of how much a certain position makes. $54K Seems high to me for a librarian. I suppose she got that high because of her past years working for the school system. While $100K a year for a high school Principal overseeing 2500 kids sounds right, making $120K at an elementary school of 700 is not.

We are paying daycare workers $63K! Why? Going through the school salary database shows me a lot of positions that can be cut and a lot of fat that has been been around too long making yearly longevity raises.

While I don't agree with Ruth Samulson and Peter Gorman's PPP plan, we need to do something to cut some of the budget from CMS, we can no longer afford it.

Wiley Coyote said...

Ms. Hollar's salary for 24 years of teaching is certainly not exorbitant.

What continues to get my ire up is money that is wasted on things that have nothing to do with academics.

The last bond referendum had money in it to fix badly needed infrastructure issues at schools, which was warranted.

However, when I saw the $5,527,500 dollar line item for refurbishing the West Meck football stadium, I hit the roof.

Either CMS is serious about academics or it is not. To continue to put athletics ahead of academics will ensure the system will fail.

We still have some BOE members and a few parents trying to "save middle school sports".

All sports should be cut and teachers such as Ms. Hollar should be retained.

Anonymous said...

A high salary for a media specialist? Hardly, look at her job responsibilities. A good media specialist makes her job seem effortless, but indeed it is not! And how fair is CMS that they have a position teaching theater and arts in Cornelius when a lower income area school has to get rid of the necessity?

Larry said...

Pam, perhaps you may be so enamored with the Government system that has failed our children for these so many decades, you do not realize there are alternatives.

But those of us who have traveled and visited schools like www.AchievementFirst.org and know that Teachers can be paid well and enjoy their jobs do exist. And the best part is that urban kids can go to College in numbers that would put our suburban kids to shame.

That is why we would like to see competition for these drop out factories we have allowed CMS to become for certain groups of students.

I know that when I went to Raleigh a few years ago and told them how dismal our drop out rate for African American Males was at that time, the Observer lambasted me in the paper.

It seemed no one wanted to know about it at that time, but now it is popular now that they want to throw money at the problem, oh wait more money.

So we hope you understand we appreciate Teachers but we do need to stop just going in circles.

Anonymous said...

For Ghoul,

Valid points, on salaries, especially comparing those salaries to those in the private sector these days.

However, media specialists frequently are required to have master's degrees. This particular salary does not look out of line when the amount of education is included.

Payscale.com says a project manager in construction averages $63,000 in Charlotte.

For too long, many school (and yes, daycare) jobs have been priced in the "pink-collar ghetto." It's good that's changing.

That said, it is hard for taxpayers dealing with lower private-sector salary levels to accept higher wages paid for public-sector jobs.

Whittling is in order, but it takes effort to do it fairly, and it makes less impact than large-scale layoffs.

You're right to challenge school leaders to do that hard work.

Anonymous said...

I am also a Media Specialist whose position was selected for elimination by the principal. Here are a few other thoughts: Stakeholders such as students and parents had no input in this decision. The principal in many cases made this decision in a vaccum. As with my school, many parents and students are not aware that their school will be without a Media Specialist next year.

The other positions under consideration Guidance Counselor & Facilitator...as was stated before, many facilitators are more like administrative assistants to the principal, well they certainly will not cut their personal assistants. But how about some schools that have more than one facilitator, but still chose the only Media Specialist who does in fact "teach" and touch all students.

Could there have been some "incentive" to principals to cut the Media Specialist because as it was noted, Gorman has eliminated this program in other school systems...is this his way of getting his way here and now?

Sadly in some cases I believe there is a new type of nepotism happening...sorority sisters. Principals protecting their own. In any case are the needs of the students really being kept in the fore? I strongly believe not.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see Media Centers next year after about two days of no one being in charge. The books and materials will simply be "borrowed" and never returned. Audiovisual equipment will not be maintained or inventoried which is required by CMS policy. I can't wait until the first inventory audit!
Teachers will lose planning time because Media is a scheduled class in 99% of elementary schools. Who will place orders or process books? There haven't been Media Assistants in years. Who is going to train what parent volunteers they could possibly get? Who will shelf books? I can't imagine a Media Center will be open on a regular basis. Once a volunteer's child gets sick or a tennis game is scheduled, a volunteer won't show up. I doubt the skeleton crew at the district's Media Services is going to be very willing to do much of anything for a principal who chose to cut their Media Specialist. I suspect, even if they won't admit it, that principals will quickly regret cutting these positions.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 6:32...

While I appreciate your service, I cringe everytime I hear politically correct terms such as "stakeholder(s)".

"Stakeholders such as parents and students".

WE ARE ALL "stakeholders". The United States is a "stakeholder" because we as a country continue to slide into the abyss away from other countries when it comes to education.

We "stakeholders" have plenty of input.

We can start by firing the likes of Joe White, Trent Merchant, McElrath and others with our votes who want to continue the same status quo garbage year after year.

The only problem is, the status quo and entitlement mentality have a strong foothold in the process.

There is no place in education for bleeding hearts, especially when reason and logic constantly are tossed aside.

Larry said...

Peter, let me get you to do a story on the waste on Clear Creek Elementary.

They had million of this bond money to redo it. They did not use the money for years, and when they got around to it the schools needed a lot more work.

But instead of going back to the voters and asking for a couple more million for a new school, which would last for several more decades and increase the usage, oh and bring the school up to currant standards, they just spent the money as it was budgeted as an internal update. The school did not get any more usage upgrade nor did it come up to standards.

We did our best to show them, but they just would not listen and we showed how building a new one right behind the old one was the best use of the money with investing a couple more million. In fact the students would not have had to been transferred to the old school over near Eastland for the long time they were during the construction work.

And the expense of doing that would have been saved. But CMS would not hear any of it. They said they had the money budgeted that way.

Now go and look at Clear Creek these few years later and see how overcrowded and much work it needs after they spent almost as much as they did when they could have had a new school lasting and taking care of so many more students.

margaret.hollar said...

This is Margaret Hollar. First, I want to thank Pete for such a flattering article. Secondly, the supportive comments are wonderful and hopefully they will help to restore a position that these children desperately need. The debate, comments from both sides, are proof that people care--fantastic exchange of ideas; after all, apathy is worse than any feeling, negative or positive.

In regards to my salary, please remember that the state requires a Media Specialist to have a Master's degree so you will not be able to get a young, college grad in the position for 25K. In addition, salary is set by state. Media Specialists are paid on the same scale as teachers; college graduates these days are opting for jobs that start at much higher than the basic teacher salary.

Thank you to the writer who pointed out that the money for the Media Center is a grant for which our school competed, not an outside group approaching us. Receiving it is an honor to me, but mostly to Shamrock parents,students and staff.

Again, thank you for these comments. And as Pam said, remember Shamrock is not the only school in this situation. With or without a grant for remodeling, all students deserve the necessary personnel to create information savvy citizens excited about learning for a lifetime.

Anonymous said...

I think we all need to be speaking up for the schools right now. Entering into the debate and finger pointing as to which teachers or librarians should lose jobs is foolishness. We can't expect children to walk into an unsupervised environment, and teacher simply don't have the resources they need to teach. Using taxes to pay for a decent education for all is very basic in this country. It wasn't the teachers who got us into financial problems. CMS schools have had a good reputation and have been getting better and better until being disabled by these cuts.


If we want to live in an educated, civilized, free, peaceful society, we are going to have to put some things ahead of pure profit.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to find out how each school eliminated one staff member. One principal asked the three people he was considering to make the decision for him. They had a vote!! Imagine having three people voting one out of the school. Keep digging for the truth! It is out there and as the public becomes aware of the goings on......heads may begin to roll.

Lisa D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bob crowley said...

you have to have taught in CMS to really understand what an abomination this school system has become.
but as long as we elect school board officials like we have who appoint superintendents as they have, and gorman is simply the last in a long line the same ilk, who blame teachers for not correcting the hideous parenting and behaviour of students, and
and administrators in general who toe the line, of and politicall correct educational policy that has been in a never ending downward style, gorman will be gone soon, with a bonus no doubt and the search will be on for the next clever superintedent with catch phares and new concepts to ensure that the downward spiral continues. and the charlotte observer will be the cheerleader for whatever they say.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher. Many students are in such a rush to complete a project (to check it off their laundry list of things to do) that they have been missing the process skills.
Some teachers have selected specific texts and passages for students to read to summarize, evaluate, etc. but are missing the bigger picture of having students think critically about where to go for authentic information and where to start. The students are spoon-fed texts/passages, etc. to drill down on specific skills -- but the big picture somehow gets lost in the checklist of completing specific objectives. (covered fact and opinion, covered main idea, etc.)
There have been numerous reports that "deep reading" is becoming a thing of the past (Charlotte Observer, "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, by Nicholas Carr) and "Study: College students aren't thinking critically"
(Charlotte Observer Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011) The Hechinger Report affilitated with Teachers College, Columbia, University "Long term research found many not learning complex reasoning or writing skills.

It can be frustrating when the value of Media Specialists really is in teaching students and educating teachers about critical information strategies they will need to survive and navigate in the future.
I've read the research about High School students not having critical thinking skills and not being able to conduct simple searches, etc. adequately. If these are the skills lacking for 21st century learners and yet the very people uniquely qualified to teach the necessary skills and training are the proposed cuts where does this leave our "global citizens?"
The focus has to still be on student learning, information process skills, critical thinking and problem solving.

Anonymous said...

I am an educator at Shamrock and Mrs. Hollar doesn't just teach...she shares her love of books with the children...that to me is the most significant thing we can teach a child

Anonymous said...

In addition to "How each school eliminated positions". Again the public needs to know this...they don't. Peter can you investigate this? Eric Frazier wrote that 80 Media Specialists were cut; which schools? Parents and students need to know and voice their views.

It does not surprise me that a principal asked those affected to vote, it seems no one wants to be a leader and make a well thought out "rational" decision and then stand by that.

Our principal held a staff meeting and asked for a vote, a strong majority voted to cut the facilitator (sorority senario), the principal still cut the Media Specialist.

Then when approached by a parent would not discuss the matter.

The comment about ESL is extremely interesting. It has been stated on the news often regarding the number of undocumented families taking advantage of the "free" programs: public schools, free/reduced lunch, exclusive resources in the schools. I'm not complaining about immigrants of any nationality, my grandfather immigrated from Italy; worked hard, payed taxes, served in the military.

Today many immigrants just take from the system, work "under the table" and therefore do not contribute to the system they benefit from. I know that is a totally different subject, but I believe there is relativity to the funding or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

In response to anonymouse "No one in Charge" - A frightening trend is that Teacher Assistants that are supposed to be assigned to kindergarten teachers will likely be assigned to the Media Center. This was stated in Eric Frazier's article. I pity the poor soul who will be asked to do a job previously held by someone with a Master's Degree (required by the NC Dept of Instruction). I love our TA's, but they are not qualified and do not want this responsibility.

Also, keep an eye/ear out for next year's Master Schedule. I've gotten wind that "media" is on the schedule even though they've cut the position! The Media Center will have to be used in the schedule to allow teachers their planning time. I wonder if they'll call it basket weaving or something.

Anonymous said...

CMS has been top heavy every since Dr. Gorman was hired. From "Learning Communities" to multiple school facilitator positions, the set up seems designed to create as many administrative positions as possible. The teachers who work directly with students, like classroom teachers, Media Specialists, and teacher assistants are laid off. Little protest comes from the top because learning community leaders, department heads, and school principals are receiving all the assistance they need. Instead, students suffer when people who work directly with them on a daily basis dwindle.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Margaret Holler, for commenting.

A couple more clarifications and numbers:

"Salary is set by the state." Yes, and CMS offers, in its own words, "one of the highest local supplements for teachers in the state." CMS has leeway on how large that supplement is (though I don't see specifics.)

Also, "college graduates these days are opting for jobs that start at much higher than the basic teacher salary." That may be true for some majors and before the recession.

But frequently in the last couple of years, recent college graduates have settled for jobs of $12k to $15k a year, or less, with part-time work, if they could find work at all.

One study showed the national average salary for recent college graduates to be $27k, and just over 50 percent were working full time. Those with masters degrees are not immune, and unfortunately, years of experience don't matter in the private sector these days. In fact, they're sometimes a liability because of increased cost.

A state salary for a starting N.C. teacher with a bachelor's degree on a 10-month schedule is just short of $31k a year. Teach for America salaries in Charlotte range from $34k to just short of $38k. A Mecklenburg deputy sheriff starting salary seems to be about $41,800, based on databases at the Observer.

By comparison, salaries that come out of the city budget, a separate money pool, seem better.Try to find a Charlotte police officer's salary of less than $65k and a fire department employee with a salary less than $62k. Perhaps I'm not searching with the right terms, but disparities seem to exist.

There are reasons folks are upset on all sides, and we need to look carefully at specific numbers as well as pay attention to the different pools of tax money, from the county and from the city.

Anonymous said...

ESL jobs were saved. Why not get rid of the PRE-K program and save the media specialists who can try and teach the parentless children how to read.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the principal can ask Target and others to help clean out the mold that is often at our school. But CMS might consider that to be a form of favoritism too.

jvz3 said...

you wouldn't happen to be the son of sue and johnny st onge would you? if so, we lived next door to you when you and your sister were babies. jim van zile

Anonymous said...

Peter- Too bad this can't be on the front page of the paper... instead of a blog! But then again... we would have to acknowledge all the faulty parts of the decision to lay off a integral part of a school community! Seriously... an award like this would normally make the headlines... I didn't see it anywhere but on your blog. Hooray for Shamrock and their new library... I just hope it survives not having leadership to run it!

pstonge said...

Anon, 12:47: This was in the newspaper - on the front of the Sunday Local section.

jvz3: Sorry, no relation to Johnny and Sue.

Peter

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised there are no posts since May 31. Media Specialist positions have been restored!!! Unfortunately, like myself, I'm sure there is a bad taste in our mouths knowing our positions are viewed as "dispensable". Personally, I think I'll be looking for alternative employment for next year...