2005 Community Assessment Summary Report

January 1, 2005

1 Tables and charts in this publication may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
n its 11th annual Community Assessment, Charlotte Advocates for Education
(CAE) has reached out to individuals across Charlotte-Mecklenburg to listen to
their perceptions, priorities, and values about key education issues. CAE is committed
to increasing the public’s involvement in our education system and in turn leveraging
that public voice to influence and accelerate improvement within our schools.
I
How was the community polling structured?
Between June 17 and July 12, 2005, KPC Research conducted
1,208 telephone interviews with Mecklenburg County
registered voters. This group of voters was demographically
balanced by race, sex, age, and school board voting district to
look just like all registered voters in the county. Thus, results can
be generalized to the entire Mecklenburg County registered
voter population. The maximum margin of error for the results
from these 1,208 registered voters is +/-2.8 percentage points
at a 95% confidence level.While opinions of all community
members matter, only registered voters were interviewed since
they alone have the power to elect the public officials who make
the decisions and policies affecting our schools.1
What was the purpose of the community polling?
2005 is an important year for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
Not only were all six of our district seats on the Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Board of Education up for election, but the search
began for our next school superintendent. Thus, the purpose
of this polling was three-fold:
Discover what our community would like to have in a
superintendent of our public schools and to know what
benchmarks our community will use to measure his or
her success.
Better understand how our community feels about
the structure of our Board of Education and enable the
community to rate the Board’s performance as compared
to the expectations they have for an effective school board.
Identify how supportive our community is about issues
related to education reform and funding of our schools.
1
2 For the purposes of this paper,we may occasionally refer to ratings of 1-3 as
“opposition,”while the actual questions termed these low ratings as “not at all support.”
3 Due to the smaller sample sizes of the subgroup populations, the margin of error for
each group is higher than the +/- 2.8% reported for the population as a whole, and
therefore is not as reliable.
What are the key findings from the polling?
Based on results from all the interviews, eight key findings emerged:
Overall, the public is open to many types of candidates for the
CMS Superintendent. Though a majority would prefer a candidate with
prior experience in a district like ours, a majority would also consider
someone with experience outside the field of education or even a team
of people taking over the Superintendent’s post.
Citizens have high expectations for what they’d like the
Superintendent to achieve. Topping the list of outcomes they seek
are: a reduction in school violence, an effective working relationship
with the Board of Education, a reduction in dropout rates, getting the
community and schools to share a common vision, and the development
of innovative ways to make high schools more effective.
The vast majority of the public is not happy with the Board of
Education’s achievements or how it conducts its business.
If given a choice of all district seats or all at-large seats, the majority
would choose an all district Board of Education. A significant
percentage of citizens would also consider new twists to the
Board structure. These include appointing rather than electing Board
members, or establishing district seats that are voted on by everyone
rather than just people in the individual district.
The public is supportive of a wide range of educational programs for our
students. Topping the list of areas in which the community reports they
would never consider budget cuts are: music and art classes,
resources to help struggling students meet expectations, bringing
all schools up to current building standards, foreign languages,
and preschool programs.
The community is fairly divided as to who should have taxing authority
for public education. While 50% of those polled prefer taxing
authority remain with the Board of County Commissioners, 30%
would place the power with the Board of Education, and small
percentages would give it to both, give it to neither, or were unsure who
should have the authority.
The community is willing to consider alternative means of
funding education. Fees on new housing developments to help pay
for schools actually garner strong support from a majority of respondents,
while bond referendums also earn some support. Increases in sales
and property taxes, on the other hand, both have stronger opposition
than support.
The public is divided as to whether to split CMS into smaller
districts. Overall, a little more than a third strongly support the division,
while slightly less than a third give the idea low marks. Creating area
superintendents who have decision-making ability over a set geographical
area while retaining one CMS district earned greater support, with 43%
strongly supporting and 20% strongly opposing.2
Please keep in mind that the findings we report reflect the
sentiments of the survey respondents as a whole. In some cases,
these overall results may mask stronger or different opinions of
specific subgroups of the population. Though it is impossible
to include all the data for different subgroups in a brief
publication such as this, we will try to include noteworthy
differences between subgroups, and interested individuals are
invited to visit our web site (http://www.advocatesfored.org/)
or call our office (704.335.0100) to request more detailed
information on specific findings.3
The following sections describe these survey findings in
greater depth.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
Children in School
36% had children in K-12
64% had no children in K-12
27% had children in CMS
Gender
Male: 45%
Female: 55%
Racial Groups
African American: 28%
White: 68%
Other: 5%
(3% Hispanic Origin)
Education Level
High School or Less: 21%
Tech/Some College: 26%
College Grad: 28%
Post Grad: 23%
Age Groups
18-34: 30%
35-54: 45%
55+: 25%
Demographics Of 1208 Registered Voters Interviewed
2
The Community Speaks Out
About Key Issues Impacting CMS
Picture of a Leader
In envisioning a CMS Superintendent, many voters are keeping
an open mind.Overall, more than 80% have no strong preference
as to whether our new chief education officer be black or white,
male or female; 62% believe that someone with experience
outside education could be considered for the position; and
62% feel that a team of leaders with different strengths could
be effective heading up the school system.While 82% feel it’s
important to recruit someone with prior experience as a
superintendent, and 82% also feel it important to hire someone
with experience in a school system similar to ours, it seems clear
that many Charlotte area residents will be initially accepting
of a wide variety of candidates for the Superintendent’s post.4
Plotting a Course of Action
When asked what outcomes would help them view the
Superintendent as a success, registered voters made it clear that
the education chief faces a challenging “to do” list. Ten significant
accomplishments were selected as success indicators by over 50%
of the respondents, suggesting that the Superintendent will face a
majority of unsatisfied citizens if s/he does not lay out an aggressive
agenda for action. The top-ranking signs of success were5:
Reduction of violence (85%)
Superintendent and Board of Education working effectively
together (85%)
Reduction in dropout rate (80%)
Getting community and schools to share a common vision (78%)
Putting in place innovative ways to make high schools
more effective (77%)
Interestingly, increased student achievement scores and
improvement in test scores ranked only 7th and 8th, respectively,
as a sure sign of Superintendent success. There may be a
number of reasons for this ranking: the public may believe
other issues such as school violence are more pressing at this
time, they may feel satisfied with the current progress being
made in improving student achievement, or they may think
student achievement a responsibility too complex to lay at
the feet of a single person.
However, the impact of how the Board carries out its business
and interacts with the Superintendent and other educators
may be a greater concern than student achievement. Other
data, discussed later, may corroborate that public frustration.
It is also worth noting that the Charlotte Advocates for
Education poll indicated the African American community
places different and greater demands on a Superintendent.
Of 13 listed issues, 12 were selected by a majority of blacks
3
4 While the data indicate that some subgroups may have stronger opinions on the
Superintendent’s race and gender, the way the survey question was worded may
have unintentionally influenced the results.
5 The percentage indicates the number of respondents giving a rank of at least an
8 on a 10-point scale.
27%
45%
48%
55%
65%
66%
69%
74%
77%
78%
80%
85%
85%
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Reduced violence in schools
Working effectively with school board
Fewer dropouts
Community shared vision about our schools
More effective high schools
Lower educator turnover
Increased student achievement
Improved test scores
Distribution of quality teachers in all schools
Renovation of older schools
New schools in growing areas of county
Increased county funding
More magnets
100%
80%
60%
40%
20%
0%
82%
Should Have
Prior
Superintendent
Experience
Should Have
Experience
In District
Like CMS
Could Have
Background In
Area Other Than
Education
82% % of Respondents
Who Agree
62%
Our CMS Superintendent...
Measuring our
Superintendent’s
success
Percent ranking each
as a sign of success
% rating each item as an 8, 9, or 10 on a 10-point scales
an indicator of the superintendent’s success
as being a sign of success. The issues receiving the most
support from the African American community were:
Reduction in dropout rate (87% gave a rating of at least
8 on a 10 pt scale)
Improvement in test scores (83%)
Reduction of school violence (83%)
Superintendent and board of education working effectively
together (83%)
Getting community and schools to share common vision (82%)
Increased student achievement (82%)
The Public’s Take on Board Responsibilities
What do we want from the CMS Board of Education? To be able
to measure the effectiveness of our Board, the public needs to
understand what the state of North Carolina has said are their
major responsibilities.
According to the 2005 polling, more registered voters place
greater importance on good communication and good
behavior than specific policy-related or administrative tasks.
Significant majorities strongly or somewhat agreed that meeting
regularly with citizens to discuss issues (98%), visiting schools on a
regular basis (95%), and modeling behaviors that lead to effective
teamwork (94%) were primary responsibilities of the Board.
At the other end of the spectrum, determining the pupil
assignment plan and deciding what subjects should be taught
were believed to fall under the scope of Board responsibility
by only 70% and 54% of the voters, respectively.
The results of the poll may indicate that the public needs to be
better informed about legal responsibilities of a local Board of
Education in order to better evaluate the Board’s effectiveness.
(For a detailed list of the specific powers and duties given to
local board of education, visit the following website: http://www.
ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/
Chapter_115C/GS_115C-47.html)
The Public’s Take on Board Results
In a word, the voter’s perception of Board results is negative.
Indeed, when looking at specific traits which research shows
are indicative of an effective board of education, respondents
were two to three times more likely to give the Board a low rating
(1-3 on a 10 pt scale) than a high rating (8-10 on a 10 pt scale)
for every area except one – focuses on student achievement.
Although 26% of those participating in the poll gave the Board
a good rating on this high priority area, fully 39% gave the
Board a low rating on making decisions based on “what’s right
for the child,” an issue many would say is more fundamental.
Other disconcerting findings include:6
Only 12% believe the Board does a good job in ensuring
tax dollars are used effectively.
Only 12% view the Board as visionary and able to cultivate
support for that vision.
Only 13% feel the Board communicates effectively with
the public.
Interestingly, though African Americans were more likely
to place greater expectations on the Board of Education, as
indicated in what responsibilities they felt the Board should
handle, they were also more likely to give higher ratings to
the Board on its performance. Even though the ratings from
African Americans still indicated great dissatisfaction with
the Board results, the survey suggested they are, on the whole,
not quite as displeased as their white counterparts.
4
6 For each of the following items, the percentage indicates the number of respondents
giving the performance by the Board on the specific trait at least an 8 on a 10-point scale.
23%
27%
33%
34%
37%
37%
38%
39%
40%
26%
12%
12%
14%
13%
14%
17%
12%
14%
12%
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%
Ensures tax dollars are used effectively
Makes decisions on “what’s right for children”
Is visionary and cultivates support for vision
Represents ALL CMS children
Works effectively as team
Communicates effectively with public
Models effective team behaviors
Communicates effectively with educators
Communicates effectively with other elected officials
Focuses on student achievement
14%
The public rates the job
the Board of Education
is doing
1 to 10 scale
Good Job – Rated Board performance an 8, 9, or 10
Poor Job – Rated Board performance a 1, 2, 3
Shaking Things Up In Board Membership
Given the frustration the public expressed with the outcomes
the Board has been able to achieve, perhaps it should come
as no surprise that many of those polled were not satisfied
with the current structure of Board membership. A significant
minority (42%) would even be somewhat or very supportive
of replacing Board elections with Board appointments.When
asked whether all district or all at-large seats on the Board
were preferred, a small majority (52%) favored district seats
only, while 38% preferred to see all at-large seats. Interestingly,
only 5% volunteered that they would like to keep a
combination of district and at-large seats, as we presently
have. Sixty-two percent (62%) of those taking the survey
support maintaining the same number of Board members
as we presently have (nine).
In an interesting twist, 77% of respondents were somewhat or
very supportive of having district representatives that are voted
on by all voters in the county, not just those in their district.
Though this would ensure that all districts have a school board
representative – something that would not necessarily happen
with solely all at-large elections – these district Board members
would also have no electoral incentive to champion just the
causes of their particular districts, as they do with the traditional
district seat structure.
Because the current combination structure of six district seats
and three at-large seats was presumably established to ensure
that both district needs and the “common good” of the school
system as a whole were represented on the Board, it could
be worthwhile to explore further the advantages the public
is seeking in having district representatives voted on by the
whole community.
If I Were A CMS Board Member…
For most of us, our funds aren’t nearly as available as the number
of places to spend those funds. Our education system of course
faces the same unfortunate imbalance, and consequently Board
members are often asked to make difficult choices in making
budget cuts.
When asked how they would make budget cuts if they were
Board members and budget cuts were necessary, a majority
of respondents indicated they were unwilling to consider
budget cuts in a number of areas. Specifically, at least 50%
said they would never consider cuts in:
5
Don’t know/
no opinion
2%
Neither/Both
(volunteered answer)
3%
Combination –
Present
Arrangement
(volunteered
answer)
5%
District
52%
At-large
38%
Should The School Board Have All District
or All At-Large Members?
Never Possibly Definitely
Music and art classes
Resources to help struggling students
Bringing all schools up to current
building standards
Foreign language classes
Preschool programs
Athletic programs
Before and after-school programs
Smaller classes
New schools in high-growth areas
Professional development for educators
Renovation of existing schools
Field trips
66% 25% 8%
65% 24% 10%
61% 21% 18%
60% 29% 11%
57% 30% 13%
55% 34% 11%
54% 32% 14%
50% 34% 15%
49% 38% 12%
45% 37% 16%
44% 41% 14%
31% 53% 15%
VOTERS REPORT:
If I were a
Board Member
and budget cuts
had to be made,
would I consider
cutting...
Music and art classes (66%)
Resources to help struggling students meet
expectations (65%)
Bringing all schools up to current building
standards (61%)
Foreign languages (60%)
Preschool programs (57%)
Athletic programs (55%)
Before or after school programs (54%)
Smaller classes (50%)
Program support is even stronger among African Americans
than whites. In only one area, field trips, would a majority
of African Americans even consider budget cuts. African
Americans also prioritize funding differently than whites,
with preschool programs (77% vs. 47% for whites), before
or after-school programs (76% vs. 44%) and resources
to help struggling students (75% vs. 62%) topping the list
of areas in which they would never consider budget cuts.
Based upon actions of the past several years, the school system
will likely maintain the support of the community in creating
a comprehensive set of opportunities for students.
However, this same community support may also make it
difficult for the Board to make budget cuts that are publicly
palatable during times of budget shortfalls.
Many of the areas in which the polling indicated Mecklenburg
county residents place great value have had funding reductions
by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education.
The poll numbers may reflect frustration with the current
tendency to cut such programs, rather than a true
commitment to save music and arts funding over that for
school renovation, for example. Yet, it seems there may be a
divide between the public and the Board on how to prioritize
some areas of funding.
To Tax Or Not To Tax…That Is The Question
Who Should Have Taxing Authority
Currently, the Mecklenburg County Commissioners retains
taxing authority for public education. Half of those polled
were satisfied with this arrangement, while 30% would prefer
the Board of Education have this power, 2% thought both
should have taxing authority, 7% thought some other entity
should hold this power, and 9% were unsure.
6
Don’t Know
10%
Neither
7%
Both
2%
Who Should Have The Taxing Authority
For Schools –
Mecklenburg County Commissioners
or Board of Education?
Board of County
Commissioners
51%
Board of Education
30%
a
Band, orchestra, and foreign language in
elementary schools have been eliminated.
a
Resources to help struggling students – such
as the 9th Grade Transition Program, strategic
framework for staffing needy schools, and expansion
of Focus School resources – have been reduced.
a
Class sizes have increased in middle school.
a
Preschool programs – such as Bright Beginnings –
reduced staffing and eliminated expansion plans.
a
Programs to bring buildings up to current standards
have been reduced. For example, ensuring all
pre-kindergarten facilities meet state requirements
and phase II of preventive maintenance
were eliminated.
In the last 3-4 years, within CMS...
Funding Schools: Taxes or Other Options?
When questioned about funding increases in education
spending, voters showed varying degrees of support depending
on the mechanism.
Voters expressed the most support for fees on new housing
developments in order to help pay for schools. 54% of those
surveyed showed support for that option (gave an 8, 9, or 10
on a 10 point scale).
Sales and property taxes were the least popular means of
raising funds. (26% gave sales tax increase at least an 8 on
the 10-point scale and 20% gave property tax increase an 8,
9, or 10.)
These numbers suggest that the community may be willing
to consider some alternative capital funding strategies such
as impact fees – one-time charges against new developments –
that other cities have been testing and that increasing the
traditional property tax or the sales tax would be politically
unpopular choices.
Rethinking The CMS District
Over the last few years, both the public and the policy makers
of CMS have wrestled with a number of “big picture” issues:
where do we put the students? where do we put the schools?
where do we put the teachers? and how do we organize the
district? Our survey offers some insight into the public’s
perception of these issues.
Student Assignment
Only 27% in our poll strongly agreed that determining pupil
assignment plans was a primary Board responsibility, even
though the Board is the entity legally empowered to make
these decisions. Though this finding may indicate a lack of
understanding on the part of the public, it may also suggest
that when it comes to placing students, at least some of the
public feel other entities and/or individuals should also be
involved in the decision-making process. However, no matter
where students were placed, a majority (60%) still offered
strong support for giving additional resources to schools with
large numbers of economically disadvantaged students.
School Construction
Most of those polled felt that determining the location of new
schools should be the responsibility of the Board (81% strongly
or somewhat agreed), but their support for funding that new
construction is moderate.
Fifty percent would definitely or possibly consider cutting
funds for new construction in high growth areas,
and 55% would definitely or possibly consider cuts in
renovation funding.
Bond referendums for new construction or renovations
would garner strong support from 43% and 41%, respectively.
7
54%
43% 41%
36%
26%
20%
11%
17% 17%
24%
35%
42%
0%
New
Development
Fees
Bonds For New
Construction
Bonds For
Renovation
Tax On
Land Sales
Increased
Sales Tax
Increased
Property Taxes
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
Strong Support: 8, 9, 10
No/Little Support: 1, 2, 3
Support for
alternative
funding sources
for Public
Education
On a 10-point scale
A majority (61%) of respondents reported that they would
never consider cutting funds from the commitment to bring
all schools up to current building standards – suggesting
that people view building renovation differently depending
on how the question is asked – that is, 55% say they would
definitely or possibly cut renovation funding, but 61%
report they would never cut funds to bring all schools up
to building standards. No matter how it is asked, though,
the data indicate that while roughly half of the community
cares strongly about new construction or renovations, the
other half does not – making this issue a difficult one for
the Board to maneuver through politically.
The issue of funding new construction and renovation has
of course been in the public eye recently given the dilemma of
how to balance funding, already promised, for urgently needed
renovations in existing schools with urgently needed new
construction in high growth areas.
One potential means of avoiding this problem in the future
is having the county ensure basic infrastructure such as water,
roads, and schools, are in place or planned before granting
building permits for housing developments. 67% of the
respondents strongly supported this proposal while only 4%
offered little or no support.
Teacher Distribution
A strong majority (83%) of respondents voiced firm support
for ensuring all students have equal access to high quality,
experienced teachers.While this is an important goal, making
such access a reality is complicated.Whereas students are fairly
bound to their neighborhood or lottery-placement school,
educators are generally free to choose whether or not they
teach at a particular school. Consequently, ensuring all schools
have talented teachers requires a comprehensive look at teacher
hiring, bonuses, professional development, retention, and
tenure policy. The survey did not focus specifically on these
issues, but the fact that professional development for educators
was the second most likely budget area for respondents to say
they would definitely cut, suggests that the public has a lack of
understanding about what it will take to have quality teachers
in every school for every child.
District Organization
Though a proposed bill to break CMS into smaller districts
was recently turned down by the North Carolina House of
Representatives, the attempt to get the legislation passed
generated much discussion and helped initiate a task force
on the issue of the management of Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Schools.When asked their feelings, 37% of those in our survey
offered strong support for the idea, and 32% expressed strong
opposition. A less radical approach – establishing area
superintendents who have authority over a smaller geographic
area – earned more support and less opposition, with 43%
strongly supporting and 20% strongly opposing the strategy.
8
Final Thoughts
There is a common thread throughout the polling results
indicating voters in Mecklenburg County remain strongly
committed to providing a quality, well-rounded education for all
students in all schools. This education includes core academics
as well as music, art, and foreign language. The results also
demonstrate that the public has definite opinions as to what
they expect from their education leaders and the system in place
to provide this well-rounded education. And finally, these
polling results demonstrate a steadfast commitment to providing
necessary resources to help struggling students succeed.
Yet, the education system is complex.Without a reasonable
understanding of the issues, including the mandates of federal,
state, and local laws, the public may not fully understand
what is required to provide quality education for all students.
Without this level of understanding, the public will fall short
in meeting its primary responsibility of holding those in
charge accountable for ensuring all students receive the quality
education they need and deserve.
Making sure the public receives the clear, objective information
they need to make good decisions and take constructive action
will require a deliberate effort on the part of many in our
community. Supporting this fundamental community need
has been one of the core objectives of Charlotte Advocates for
Education throughout its fourteen year history.
Several years ago, through its Community Assessment, CAE
determined the public lacked a solid understanding of school
budgets – including the differences in capital and operating
budgets, or an understanding that the vast majority of the
funding for public schools comes from the state of North
Carolina, not from the individual counties. To help the
public be better informed, CAE developed and published
The Community Guide To Understanding the School Budget.
Another CAE Community Assessment revealed that voters
of Mecklenburg County could not identify Board of Education
members. Out of that, the Make Your Mark...on the Board
campaign was born – a community awareness campaign
to inform the electorate about qualities of a good school
board member and about the policy positions of the
candidates themselves.
Similarly, this year’s Community Assessment reveals gaps
between fact and what the public believes is fact.
The following examples indicate three such gaps:
Understanding the law.
There are many statutory requirements for a Board of
Education. For example, North Carolina General Statute
115C-47 specifically states that local boards of education
have the power to divide the district into attendance areas
and create student assignment plans. Yet only 27% in our
poll strongly agreed that determining pupil assignment
plans is a primary Board responsibility. On the other hand
70% indicated they strongly agree that modeling effective
teamwork is a primary responsibility. However, modeling
teamwork is not a legal requirement.While working as an
effective, deliberative body is necessary to carry out important
work, to be able to judge fairly and adequately how well the
Board of Education is performing the legal requirements of
the job, the public must know those requirements.
Understanding what it takes to have quality teaching
in all schools.
The desire to provide a solid education, including a quality
teacher, for every student, is voiced clearly through respondents’
survey answers. Yet the willingness of the majority to consider
“professional development for educators” as an area for
budget cuts may demonstrate a lack of understanding of
what it takes to ensure universal quality teaching, and thus
9
VISION
Charlotte Advocates for Education is an independent advocate
that works to empower the community to improve and ensure
quality public education for every child.
quality education, throughout all schools for all students.
All educators need to continue to grow – to stay abreast of
the latest educational research and to learn new information
and techniques. These are components of good professional
development, and the public must hold decision-makers
and funders accountable for providing ongoing, high quality
professional development for educators if they expect to see
quality teaching in every classroom.
Understanding various funding strategies.
The public indicated they may be ready to explore
alternative funding strategies for public education.Many
other communities are quilting together a variety of diverse
strategies. For example, to provide for building of schools,
some communities, in addition to issuing bonds, are requiring
developers to pay fees to help build schools prior to building
new homes. Yet others tell us that over time these strategies
are not effective and in fact may be more costly to the public
and may be detrimental to the economic health of the
community.What is the truth? Are these strategies effective
ways to fund education? If so, why are we not pursuing them?
Answers to these questions need to be researched and shared
with the public as part of a large public education strategy.
The community itself must shoulder some of the responsibility
for becoming more informed, voting in greater numbers, and
taking advantage of available participation opportunities. Yet,
it is evident our education system has work to do to repair the
relationship between the public and its schools. Both the
schools and community would benefit from a comprehensive
communication and outreach strategy that is relentless in
informing, involving, and seeking feedback from the public.
Especially given the large expectations placed on the new
Superintendent and the tightrope the Board of Education will
have to walk in explaining any budget cuts to a community
reluctant to let go of many education programs, the commitment
to solicit input and involvement and to keep citizens informed
about how and why decisions are made will aid in building
greater trust, understanding, and connection with our public
school system. And it will be important to ensure all community
members receive the specific information he or she needs,
for the data demonstrate that different groups have different
priorities and perceptions on some issues.
Of course, such an aggressive, comprehensive and pro-active
public communications and re-engagement strategy will not be
easy to implement, especially when so many in our community
appear to have one foot outside the schoolhouse door already.
And it is far too important for CMS to be expected to do it
alone. CMS, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education,
the media, Charlotte Advocates for Education, and others who
care about quality public education in our community must
work together to rebuild crucial relationships and “put the
public back in public education.”
10
“Despite a long tradition of support for public
education, Americans today seem to be halfway
out the schoolhouse door... It is not simply that
the schools need to be improved; the relationship
between the schools and the community needs
repair. Strong communities, with people banded
and pulling together, are our last line of defense
against the breakdown of families and society.”
David Mathews
President Kettering Foundation and
Former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
MISSION
The mission of Charlotte Advocates for Education is to define
the issues and advocate for the changes required to permanently
improve the quality of public education in Mecklenburg County.
Suite 1725, Two Wachovia Center
301 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28282
ph 704.335.0100| fx 704.334.3545
www.advocatesfored.org
BOARD MEMBERS
Dr.Mary Lynne Calhoun, UNC Charlotte
Janet Chernega, CPCC
Stephanie Counts, Counts & Company
Kit Cramer, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce*
Kevin Geddings, Geddings, Phillips & Anderson Communications
Norm Gundel, IBM
Joel McPhee,Wachovia
Eddie Poe, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP
Jennifer Roberts,Mecklenburg County Commissioner*
Carlos Sanchez, BellSouth
John Suttle, General Dynamics
Dr.Marilyn Sutton-Haywood, Johnson C. Smith University
Louise Woods, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education*
Dr. Ricky Woods, First Baptist Church – West
* Ex officio
STAFF
Margaret Carnes,Managing Director
Carolyn Allred, Parent Leadership Network Manager
Michelle Belt, Parent Leadership Network Community Coordinator
Brenda Jackson, Development Coordinator
Claudia Ollivierre, Parent Leadership Network Community Coordinator
Cheryl Pulliam, Director Administration and Research
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Chairman of the Board
Gerald O. Johnson, Charlotte Post Publishing Company
Vice-Chair and Chair, Development
Allen Prichard, Kennedy, Covington, Lobdell & Hickman, LLP
Past Chair/Chair, Nominating Committee
Sue Breckenridge, Time Warner Cable
Treasurer, Chair of Finance
Steve Smith, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP
Secretary
Leonard “Deacon” Jones, Community Education Advocate
CMS Superintendent
Dr. Frances Haithcock, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools*
Chair, Parent Leadership Network Committee
Sandy Kindbom, Allen Tate Realtors
Chair, Research Committee
Dr. Darrel Miller, Queens University of Charlotte
Director-At-Large
Rick Falknor, IBM
Director-At-Large
Ed Kizer, Community Education Advocate
Director-At-Large
Stoney Sellars, Technology Project Management
Board of Directors


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