If you’ve arrived here at MecklenburgACTS, you’re probably interested in children and education, perhaps in Mecklenburg County, perhaps in North Carolina, perhaps across the U.S. or the globe.
These days, however, what you’ll find here is history – a record of past activities. Some of our original members have passed on; others have shifted their attention and energy.
We’re leaving this page up because we believe that history holds valuable lessons. If you poke around the site, you’ll learn something about the ways that we sought to address issues such as high-stakes testing, opting out/refusing, Read to Achieve, A-F school grading, school equity and others. Observer Articles and Coverage is a good place to start.
In general, we sought to bridge the gaps between the have and have-not schools in CMS, and to counter the message of a growing educational movement that became known as “corporate reform.”
Corporate reformers claimed (and still claim) that the challenges faced by high-poverty schools can best be addressed by reorganizing them according to the principals of “business efficiency.” But it quickly became clear – at least to those people who were grappling directly with these challenges – that concepts such as “accountability,” “competition,” “creative destruction,” and “return on investment,” led primarily to a “test and punish” approach that did far more harm than good.
During our years of operation, we used analysis and individual stories to expose the flaws in these arguments, and to press for policies – such as smaller classes or partial magnet programs – that genuinely made a difference for schools, teachers and communities.
We won a number of victories here in Mecklenburg County. The state proved a tougher nut to crack, in part because of the way that corporate reform’s glossy sales campaigns and business-focused language have dazzled many wealthy and powerful individuals, and in part because many of the far-right Republicans who took over the legislature in 2010 were (and still are) more interested in breaking up the state’s public school system than in supporting it.
The battle carries on. As of early 2019 North Carolina holds many other grassroots groups working on key educational issues, among them OneMeck, Charlotte Parents for Schools, N.C. Families for School Testing Reform, and Public Schools First N.C.
Good luck in finding the best way to do your part.