The Observer asked all nine candidates for the three at-large seats on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board to select a top priority for student assignment and explain their views in 500 words or less (get links to the others here). This statement is unedited.
This year Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools will begin the important process of reviewing it's student assignment plan.
Presently, the undergirding of the current plan is based upon the district's core beliefs and commitments. Among them is their vision of providing all students with the best education available anywhere, preparing every child to lead a rich and productive life.
If elected to the CMS Board of Education, my primary objective will be to enhance the utilization of magnet schools to increase diversity and academic options.
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The current demographics of our school district show that approximately 70% of it's students are minorities. Additionally, a great number of parents to whom I have spoken, prefer the "home school" option.
Recent studies have also shown that parents are attracted to charter schools because of specialize offerings
Secondly, magnet schools. both full and partial, would serve as a way to attract a student population that is distinctly more diverse than neighboring schools.
In 2014, The Magnet Schools of America cited seven CMS school as "Schools of Excellence, six others were noted as "Schools of Distinction."
Schools with special programs such as International Baccalaureate or science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) often have waiting lists.
My research also has found that our district's current magnet program needs to be reviewed for cost effectiveness and additional course offerings.
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education set aside nearly $90,000,000.00in special grants to magnet schools.
Therefore, in conclusion, I concur with the basic structure of our system's current plan and challenge the board to expand magnet schools. This would be a fundamental way of creating unique academic offerings and providing for the increase diversity that so many supporters of educators are seeking.
Working together, and with all students in CMS as our top priority, this can and will be accomplished!
Levester Flowers: voteflowers2015.com, 704-968-3391