The Honorable Mary McCray, Chair
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education

Question Title

How committed is the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District to ensuring that every child receives the education he/she deserves? While we recognize the Board and staff have begun the work to  respond to our current reality—challenges and opportunities—there is still more to be done. We have raised and spent millions of dollars on education in this community; educational outcomes do not fully reflect this investment. Our expectation is that CMS would fulfill its mission, purpose and charge. From the disproportionate representation of Black students who are suspended to touting the graduation rates of students whose scores on admission tests would not allow them entrance to a public university in North Carolina—we have to do better significantly and not just incrementally. The Board and the District must decide how will it respond in this moment to students and communities that are underserved and disenfranchised. We expect equity in education, as evidenced by access, achievement, opportunity and outcomes. To facilitate this reality, we petition the Board of Education to pursue these actions:
  • Ratify policies that break up concentrations of poverty in our schools. Pursue this outcome with courage, commitment and conviction. The Board has not always acted bravely on behalf of students. Now is the time to be bold and innovative on behalf of children. Choose new school locations and make magnet program decisions that promote economic and racial/ethnic diversity. With regards to magnet programs, ensure that practices do not perpetuate the segregation you are striving to abate. 
  • Reimagine the SchoolMates Partnership program.
  • Select a superintendent who is unequivocally culturally competent, who will inspire a culturally responsive, customer-centric organization—at the District and at the school level.
  • Require Board members and District employees to attend the Race Matters for Juvenile Justice Dismantling Racism Training. We have a difficult time talking about race in this community. We can no longer afford to rest blithely within our inability and discomfort. The disproportionate outcomes we see for our students of colors—our black and Latino students—signals a systemic racial problem. We need systemic solutions.
  • Include community input when hiring school leaders. School leaders must create achievement-focused, culturally responsive school environments to inspire students and retain teachers, they must invest teachers in a vision, they must see the community as an asset. Focus on leaders and teachers not because they are the problem; they are the solution. Reward positive productive schools.
  • Establish citizen oversight committees to improve transparency, provide advice, review policy proposals, to examine and evaluate District functions. Information and access are power.
  • Improve communications tactics and channels. We continue to hear from too many parents of color and stakeholders that they are unaware of or feel they do not have access to community conversations or they do not understand programs and services.
  • Vote in favor of a moratorium on suspensions for our students in kindergarten through second grade. Address the disproportionate number of Black children being suspended, which has longer-term consequences.

    Until the academic achievements and prospects of all students are on par with National benchmarks for success, the District is failing every child, everyday.