CMS School Board still tackling equity in schools

CMS School Board still tackling equity in schools

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) Board held a two-day retreat at the Beatties Ford Regional Library. On the agenda: equity and how to evaluate new CMS superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox.

The board presented Wilcox a version of how they once evaluated a former CMS superintendent. It was an evaluation that used a number scale to grade the superintendent.

Wilcox told his bosses he wasn't a fan of that type of process and said it's not a good way to judge a superintendent. He says he'd rather be graded on aspirational goals. He would like to be judged on whether the district is moving in the right direction and not be tied to a specific number goal of students who are proficient in the district.

"I really do think some of those marks are kind of artificial because you don't control all the inputs that go into them," Wilcox said. "So you are kind of set up for this and this you get set up for a lot of excuse building."

The board and Wilcox will continue to come up with an evaluation plan that both can live with.

While the board prepares for a fair evaluation process, they also need to tackle equity across the district. This is a subject that has been discussed for years and it appears the district still hasn't gotten it right.

"It is very frustrating," CMS School Board Chairperson Mary McCray said. "I don't know when we will be ever able to say, 'OK, I can go to sleep knowing that every one of my schools now have what they need to educate the kids they are serving.'"

Wilcox is also concerned that some students in certain disadvantaged areas will start the school year behind.

"We don't have enough of the resources," Wilcox said. "But also, we haven't been really smart necessarily in how we have deployed the resources."

McCray believes the equity committee that was in charge of reviewing equity in all CMS schools should be re-established. She thinks having that extra set of eyes will make the difference for students.

"It's going to say, regardless of what part of our city that your school sits in, we know that your school has those resources that it needs to educate the children that are there," McCray said.

The board is reviewing its equity policy to see if it needs to be tweaked. They are also checking out other school districts' equity policy to see how those districts are handling the issue.

"It's unfair to say to a kid we want you to run the 50-yard race, but you are going to start 20 yards behind," Wilcox said. "We have to find a way to help all kids."

The school board's next retreat will be in January.

Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.