Group concerned about CMS student recovery centers

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Several people approached the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) board Tuesday night to express concerns about the district's credit recovery program.

The program allows students, who have been chronically absent or have failed a class to go to the center to catch up on their credits so they can graduate on time.

The programs are mostly located in challenged high schools. The concern is students are skating through the recovery centers and not getting a sound basic education.

"It's more of an equity issue because we know Title 1 schools often come with a unique set of challenges, as opposed to proactively addressing those challenges and providing those resources to students," Students for Education Reform Sharika Comfort said. "They are kind of being pushed into the system so the schools are able to get the graduation numbers up, but the students are being funneled out the system kind of under-prepared."

The group, Students for Education Reform, told CMS they want changes made to the credit recovery centers so students will be better prepared when they graduate.  They want uniformity, transparency, and accountability.

"The program looks different in every school," Comfort said. "Which can be concerning for students."

Another concern is not enough information is provided to students and their parents about the student recovery centers.

"In many cases, students weren't even presented with another option, such as retaking the course that they fail," Comfort said. "In many cases, we spoke to students who didn't realize their GPA's would not improve by taking this program."

CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox listened to the concerns and agreed with the speakers.

"We have to do a better job with that," Wilcox said. "It is so different across the community that the outcomes for kids have to be questioned from time to time."

Comfort is also concerned there is no certain Grade Point Average (GPA) students must have before getting a high school diploma from CMS. Some students have graduated from the district with a .6 GPA from the student recovery center.  CMS just requires a certain number of credits to graduate and not a GPA.

Wilcox says he has never worked in a district that didn't require a certain GPA to graduate.

"I would think that you have to be in that 1.5 to 2.0 kind of range," the superintendent said. "That's not for me to decide unilaterally. I think you are going to see me to talk about that."

Wilcox says he is serious about making things better and stronger for kids who often feel neglected in the student recovery centers.

"We've got to get our house in order before we make that kind of change," Wilcox said.

The group Students for Education Reform hope CMS tackles this issue so when students in the student recovery centers get a high school diploma it will mean something.

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