Parent Teacher Magazine Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools May/June 2018 - Page 4

CMS Superintendent, Dr. Clayton Wilcox One year, two big acheivements The end of my first full year as the leader of Charlotte- Mecklenburg Schools is coming up. It’s been a busy and productive year. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in my first year but also very aware that much more work lies ahead! I’d like to share my thinking with you about two significant milestones in my first year. The first one was our release of the Breaking the Link report. Prepared by our own office of accountability, this careful and thoughtful analysis illuminates a hard truth: Our schools are far from equitable. Equity is a tough one because it’s not the same as equality. Instead, equity means giving kids what they need to succeed and that’s not the same for every kid. Analyzing the problem, as we did in Breaking the Link, is an important first step. The report is based on 2016- 2017 data and shows that poverty and race continue to be a predictive link to student performance in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Put another way, this report shows that poor and minority students continue to have significant achievement gaps when compared to students who are white and not poor. This is not acceptable. All of us want Mecklenburg County to be a place of equal opportunity for everyone. Creating pathways to economic mobility is a civic responsibility shared by government, schools and citizens. The role of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is to provide an education that prepares students for life after high school, whether that’s college, a career or the military. Breaking the Link makes it clear: We are providing opportunities to many students. But we are not providing equal opportunities to all students. Changing that will require multiple initiatives, targeted strategies and time. We will focus on the three areas of the report: time in school, highly effective teachers and access to rigor (college-level courses). We will review and, where necessary, change our practices to improve student outcomes. We are committed to seeing that all schools provide every student with a viable pathway to success. But we can’t do it alone. We need the support of county and city governments, and of parents and the community at large. The second milestone of note – and it’s also an area where we’re asking for community support – is our proposed budget for the 2018-2019 school year. It builds on what we learned from Breaking the Link, as well as our comprehensive analysis of the most urgent district needs. Our budget request this year is more than just that – it’s a budget call to action. We must act now because our kids need us. We are at a unique moment in our county’s history, when a convergence of events has opened the door to make Mecklenburg County a more just and equitable place to live and work. 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