Feb. 5, 2009
From left above, Mickey Aberman, Deacon Jones, Jim Henderlite and Araminta Johnston listen as the voice of the Century Foundation’s Richard Kahlenberg, shown at left, comes over the speakerphone Thursday morning. The conference call with the Washington-based expert focused on how to deliver on the state’s constitutional mandate to ensure that every child has access to a sound basic education. Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s creation in 2002 of high-poverty schools deny such access: Test data and equity studies have repeatedly shown that the high-poverty schools in CMS fail to draw highly qualified teachers – the most important resource that the school system can commit to making the constitutional imperative a reality. Kahlenberg warned against trying to “improve” high-poverty schools. The reason, he said, was because research shows that low-income children thrive when they share an environment with higher-income children, compared to similar children left in high-poverty schools. Thursday’s conversation occurred in the context of the school board’s discussions of how to cut 5% or 7% or more of the budget for next year because of the current national economic crisis.