Charlotte-Mecklenburg school leaders are favorably comparing the school district to Wake County schools.
As noted in today's Charlotte Observer, CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman presented several charts on Thursday showing that black, Hispanic and low-income students in his district are now more likely to pass exams than students in those same groups in Wake and Guilford counties and statewide.
Gorman says high-poverty schools aren't ideal for students and teachers. But he said the test-score trend of CMS catching up to Wake shows it’s more important to improve teaching in those schools than to shuffle students.
“I think the conclusion is you teach your way to greatness. That’s the only way to get there," Gorman said.
Charlotte-Meck still lags overall behind Wake. But CMS has narrowed the overall gap. Among specific groups, such as black, Hispanic and poor kids, CMS outperforms Wake.
CMS abandoned busing for diversity in 2002 in favor of neighborhood schools. Critics of the switch note that the number of high poverty schools has shot up in CMS, which they say will happen in Wake without a diversity policy.
Critics of CMS have attributed higher spending with the reason why it's doing better than Wake among some subgroups.
Charlotte-Meck has been regularly beaten up by Wake diversity policy supporters. For instance, CMS was mentioned in a TV ad during last fall's school board campaign and was highlighted in a comparison paper with Wake.
CMS had 29 schools with passing rates of 90 percent or higher. Wake had 14.
But CMS also had nine non-alternative schools with pass rates of 50 percent or lower. Wake has none.