Charlotte Mecklenburg Teachers Stand Up to CMS Administration

Tuesday it was announced that Charlotte Mecklenburg teachers had been given a form to sign allowing background, criminal and credit checks. They were ordered to sign it by Friday or their employment would be terminated.

CMS intended to use the form to allow updated criminal background checks, but the form permitted much more and teachers weren't happy. From the Charlotte Observer:

Tuesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg School employees were told to sign forms allowing the district to investigate their finances, background, character and "mode of living."

These forms were delivered without warning to CMS employees. According to the Observer the additional background checks were prompted after an elementary school teacher was discovered shooting heroine in the classroom.

Keeping students and staff safe is a good priority to have. Additional background checks may very well be warranted, but how the need is communicated to staff is key when requiring employees to give up their privacy in order to keep their jobs.

Teachers were understandably upset. There was a public outcry and this morning, after only one day, CMS has told staff they can ignore the form. Here's what Superintendent Peter Gorman had to say:

"When you make a mistake, the best thing to do is just admit it," he wrote. "While the decision to start random background checks for current employees was made with the best of intentions - to keep our students and staff safe -- we dropped the ball, big time, in terms of communication and execution."

Periodic criminal background checks are probably necessary, especially in a massive school district like CMS. When I applied to be a substitute, I had no problem complying with the drug testing and background checks that were performed, especially since I was working with children. What do you think?

What about the people who volunteer in schools? As a volunteer at CMS I had to provide a reference or two (I can't remember how many). Union County school volunteers go through an even more extensive vetting process. How much is too much? How little is too little?

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Comments

Another reason they need a union

No way I sign this ridiculous waiver of rights. Once they start down this path, there is no turning back. Next thing you know they'll be requiring loyalty oaths.

This is the latest in a long line of reasons the CMS teachers need a union.

They have no protection, no job security, no voice on the board, no guaranteed benefits if they spend a lifetime in service to the community. Nothing. All they are is field hands. Everytime they turn around their benefits are getting cut and the board blames them for everything.

I say tell the board to piss off and start organizing.

Syd

I do not see why a union is necessary...

After all, Betsy says:

Teachers were understandably upset. There was a public outcry and this morning, after only one day, CMS has told staff they can ignore the form.

What more would a union do, other than take money out of an already empty pocket of a teacher? (I was one for four years.)

Isn't Rep. Cotham a school administrator? I wonder what her take on the form was prior to its rescension.

Rep. Cotham would be an excellent resource

Here's my take on things. Just about everyone I know thinks teachers are underpaid and are no longer treated like professionals. I think the more we pay teachers, the more we can require of them and expect from them. I also think if teachers are paid well and treated like professionals (and with respect) they will probably have no issue with fair performance requirements and a certain level of background digging. (Please don't ask me to define fair performance requirements.......I would have no idea where to begin.)

Pay teachers more. Treat them with respect.

Also....as a bit of a correction...I don't know how good the benefits are, but I believe that a vested teacher (5 years?) and spouse (?) receives medical benefits provided by the state for life. I admit that I really don't know what I'm talking about here, but I think it's false that they have NO benefits.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Your take on the five year rule for benefits was correct

until recently.

The NCGA changed that in 2006 with S.L. 2006-174 (S837) which stipulates that teachers and state employees hired on or after October 1, 2006 must work 20 years before they are eligible for benefits (i.e., medical coverage) on a non-contributory basis. If they work between 10 and 20 years, they are eligible on a partially contributory basis.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. John Kerr and passed with little opposition in the house and no opposition in the senate.

They should have changed it for elected officials too

Didn't elected state level officials receive the same health/medical insurance? If so, they should have to be able to get reelected for 20 years in order to qualify. I understand the incentive might be to retain teachers, but I think 20 years is too long. I wasn't paying attention in 2006. I was too caught up in congressional elections. This might be some good research for a rainy day.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Ooops...meant to say Thank you.

Thank you :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Regarding elected officials-

"members of the General Assembly" (G.S. 135-40.2) are included in the provision. As far as I can tell, any state official or employee who qualifies for benefits falls under this bill.

That's not only frickin' crazy,

must work 20 years before they are eligible for benefits

it's also a form of age discrimination, as far as I'm concerned. The medical needs of the average person 40-50 years old compared to one at age 20 are huge, and this gives an unfair economic advantage to teachers right out of college vs those who move into teaching at a later date.

I can't believe this passed so easily. What the hell is going on in Raleigh.

a personal question

I noticed that Token Conservative was a teacher for four years. Why the change? Maybe your answers will show why teachers need a strong union to support them.

Here's my take

Periodic criminal background checks are probably necessary, especially in a massive school district like CMS. When I applied to be a substitute, I had no problem complying with the drug testing and background checks that were performed, especially since I was working with children. What do you think?

Periodic criminial background checks just became mandatory for anyone working in regulated childcare; I see no reason why it should be different for people working in public school. The credit checks I would have a problem with. I don't know what the benefit issue is - I work mainly with child care providers who don't have the luxury of being offered benefits at all, so my answer to public school teachers when they complain about their salaries or bennies is: Work in child care for a day. The average pay is 8.03 an hour, no sick days, no substitutes, no planning periods, and no health insurance. Someone call me a wahmbulance.

Ok - maybe that's a little too snarky. All educational professionals need a strong union to represent them, especially those who work with children under the age of 5,

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi