Tuesday, November 20, 2007

7 Steps To Solve CMS Eligiblity Issues

One man's proposal to create new eligibility rules in CMS.

1. Remove teaching duties from ADs.

This would allow them to police eligibility more, run programs more effeciently and even be a first-step in checking eligibility before passing it down to a team we suggest in No. 2.

2. Hire a part-time team of people (CMS police or CMPD police or detectives) to randomly check eligilibity at every school and every sport.

This way families who are cheating won't know when the knock is coming at the door to make sure you are where you said you are. Right now, CMS checks early in some cases and parents know they won't be back.

This team could have set times where parents who wanted to come in for documentation meetings could visit.

3. Make penalties stiffer.

Parents who cheat the system and get caught lying about address forfeit their child's participation for one year. Coaches who are caught forfeit their coaching supplement and are suspended for the remainder of the season and/or three games the following season in football (six for everything else).

4. Require document of residence as proof or move instead of, say, a Duke Power bill.

I can get my sister's Duke Power bill in Mint Hill put it in my name for a few weeks and voila, my kids can go to Butler. I'd also make parents show PROOF OF TERMINATED LEASE OR CLOSED SALES CONTRACT ON PRIOR RESIDENCE. Some parents may rent/lease the previous property. There should be a burden of proof of that as well, probably a three-month window for that, though, the random checks would probably include families like that naturally.

This prevents Mr. Saavy Dad from renting a cheap place in the new zone, perhaps even moving there, and keeping the Big House in The Cool Neighborhood. If it's that important to move for your kid, really move for your kid. This is one of the most violated policies I know of, that you must fully abandon your prior residence when you move.

5. Stop policy allowing 9th graders to enroll in different schools if there is room.

I might also require students who attend magnet and IB programs to play sports at their home school, or require an interview with the aforementioned eligiblity team to determine they're at the magnet for the magnet and not for the magnet school's track team.

6. Require transferring students to have a signed permission letter from the departing school and arriving school (and I'd do this for intra-county transfers as well). That way everybody knows what's up. If the departing principal has issues, the incoming principal will know there's a potential red flag.

7. Provide every family a document showing complete transfer requirements, including guardianship transfer, to be eligible to play sports.

I'm open to more suggestions.

-----------------------------------
Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Langston, as a CMS administrator, I think these make a lot of sense. I hope more people a bit higher up the ladder than me read or hear about these. Well done.

Reece said...

I've got to disagree with #4. My husband and I kept our house in Mecklenburg when we moved to Union (NC) nearly 8 years ago. It's rental property. #4 (with caveats) with #2 makes sense. BTW, we have no children but this issue of fairness really intrigues me.

Anonymous said...

Langston, this really was balanced and makes a lot of sense. I have read your columns and blogs and Q&A tonight on this issue (you got a LOT of questions about this) and you seem to be pretty fair and balanced. I think you and not Mr. Basin should've been the one reporting on this issue. You seem to have a much more well-rounded point of view here.

That is needed right now. A little fairness to get out of all the finger pointing. This is as tough an issue as we've seen in CMS. Yes, I'm a teacher.

Susan Smith said...

Langston, thanks for being the voice of reason on this. I'm a South Meck parent and I do see how our situation is different than at Independence. I also see how we need change. This is a good place for CMS to start.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with making them play at their home school. I am an honest parent and would never allow the cheating that has gone on for years, however, my children should be allowed to play athletics at the magnet school they attend. I also disagree that the two situations at South Meck and Independence are different. Parents lied and only the child sits out, Parents tell the truth and the whole team is punished - Independence should be out!!

Anonymous said...

Excellent suggestions but why are we only talking about athletes. This is a problem from k-12. I suggest CMS set up a hotline where system cheaters can be reported.

Anonymous said...

I would not agree with removing teaching duties from ADs. Public schools are not in the business of athletics and should not be paying anyone to be a full-time athletic employee. The next step would be full-time coaches, then full-time trainers, then next thing you know it's the NCAA all over again.

Sports is corrupt enough without having sports teams with a dedicated, salaried staff. Coaches and ADs need to be in the classroom and contributing to the academic mission of the school.

tarhoosier said...

As a former high school employee who worked closely with the registrars at three local high schools, the answer is to require the proper enrollment documentation. The lease/rental agreement/sales contract/builder statement, plus a utility bill or two was certainly sufficient at the schools where I was employed, and we used these documents and filed them in the student enrollment folder for archival records. Anything more than this is on a case by case basis.
The expense of your employee suggestions is out of line. To have the Athletic Director as full time administrator means that each high school must employ another teacher for the position of instructor at 50,000$-60,000$ total compensation each year per school. For 15 high schools that is 750,000-900,000$ per year. Then for the middle schools? Yikes! And then hiring the "enforcers" to see where someone keeps a toothbrush will add another 500,000$ per year. This means that the high school is driven by the athletics department. Which may currently be true, but I do not want to pay them for their trouble.
The problem is not with the families, it is the schools themselves who are winking at their own policies to allow these situations to happen. Langston, your answers are only penalizing the families and students for a situation which is nearly out of control because of school collusion and failure of administration.

Anonymous said...

It is sad to learn that Cheating is a way to win in Highschool games.The punishment for this should be the same for all schools and no school should be allowed be above another once they have been exposed. Your Eligiblity steps are a great beginning to resolving this problem One comment, The last 7 or more years should be included in the examine. since this seems to have been happening for a long time. It is time to clean Mecklenburg and all high schools in state of this wrong .

Anonymous said...

Langston, I'm a South Meck parent. I am angry at what happened to us. I like these suggestions. No. 7 would've had us playing this week. Sad.

John Manuelsmith said...

for one poster here, ADs in many areas do not teach, in NC and SC. langston's suggest are fair and balanced. i wouldn't take middle school ADs out of class, just high schools. i think that's what is being suggested. i don't know about the home school thing either. overall these are great. i hope cms looks at them.

Anonymous said...

Langston, I agree with you on this one. Good job.

Anonymous said...

Dang Langston, I guess a blind squirrel can find a nut every once in a while. Great job!!

Anonymous said...

Seems like there are two sets of rules for Player Eligiblity. One set for teams like South Mecklenburg ,Douglas Byrd etc. and then another for Independence.All games played with a player that is not Eligibilty should be a forfeit I feel sad for South Mecklenburg but proud that they did the proper thing. Too bad that people in positions to make decisions are so unaware of the proper rules.

Anonymous said...

Why one school out and one still in? There is nothing fair about this. One parent told the truth did and the paper work and the school lost their season; one parent lied and the team is still in. Why the double standards? Sure looks shady to me, oh everyone knows Knotts and INDY...this a shame, who you are keeps you in...oh well!

Anonymous said...

Why Gorman comment about Indy and never open his mouth on the news about South Meck? You bring out the big dogg to speak for the liars and never did speak out about the truth tellers. You know that ain't right. Look like a cover-up to me.
Authority is delegated to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to
see that all schools must, if they participate in any interscholastic sports program, conform to the
regulations adopted by the State Board of Education as a minimum of requirements.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association, Inc., is not an agent of the Board of
Education. However, there is a close working relationship, as the organization serves in a supervisory
capacity in the realm of athletics. Member schools are required to comply with all NCHSAA rules
and regulations, as well as those established by the Board of Education. Any question regarding a
NCHSAA member school shall be reviewed and acted upon by the conference or Association before
the matter shall be referred to the State Department of Public Instruction.

Anonymous said...

Those 7 proposals make sense but simplify the whole process by making the individual districts and their individual schools 100% responsible for their athletes and ensuring each one lives in their districts and no cheating although each case is always unique and deserves attention one on one if there is a problem.
The AD since he will have nothing to do under LWs proposals then should bear the brunt of the reponsibility to make certain everything is kosher and if its not they cannot participate until it is resolved and OKed by CMS or NCHSAA as the situation warrants.

Lets dont forget that most of the problem occurs with football with some in basketball so correcting the problem should require focus in these 2 sports but mainly with football and the problem is mostly at a few schools only but mostly one school in particular.

In addition keep in mind that athletes and non-athletes are in the equation. There is also a difference in athletes since some as more high profile than others and this needs to be taken into consideration. When Leak transferred from South Meck to Indy obviously this involved a much more high profile situation as opposed to a 3rd string bench warmer who really wouldnt contribute to the outcome of any game if they didnt play but still they need to be scrutinized.

Also there matters of preferential treatment for high profile programs such as Indy including the coach TK who many see as getting favorable treatment after breaking a guys nose with a fence now in litigation against CMS yet he is suspended only 10 days and returns unscathed while another coach at a less high profile school NM and its less high profile popular coach is suspended incredible an entire school year simply for a verbal altercation in trying to get a trouble making cursing parent off the Viking side of the field doing the administration and cops job for them but is made a scapegoat.

South Meck gets the same wrongful treatment losing a whole season by forfeit yet LW defends his protectionism of Indy not being forfeited by saying the school was aware at SM while Indy was not. This is the lamest of excuses since it absolves any responsibility of Indy or "plays dumb" to check out their athletes and is technically indefensible.
Nobody buys that snake oil stuff.
People are not stupid as this insults their intelligence to say the least but typical of the mentality of their protectionism at all costs. This is similar to Bush saying he took America to war based on bogus WMD lies. This does not fly.

Equality must prevail. These overpaid principals or higher administrators are not making 130,000 a yr to look the other way or fail in their jobs to penalize coaches or teachers who spend 1000s of hours for free making peanut wages to be made scapegoats and take the blame for problems they are trying to help only to stabbed in the back by these same corrupt administrators.

South Meck should have their decision reversed be allowed into the playoffs next season whether they earn it or not to make up for the double standards and inconsistancies IF Indys season is not forfeited and it appears they and TK have both been let off the hook by the powers that be.

Likewise the NM principal should be terminated for his rogue decision to punish and make the teacher coach a scapegoat for his own derelict responsibility.

Likewise any other descrepancies in CMS need to be addressed and fairness and ethics need to be addressed.

Right is right. Wrong is wrong. Fair is fair. Treat all schools the same. Stop the preferential treatment. Make the punishment fit the infraction if any exists. Dont reward crime. Punishment administrators the same way as teachers or coaches. Stop all favoritism. Force cops and administrators to be at all crucial areas such as on the field after games and learn to watch for rogue fans inciting violence or using profanity against anyone as the good sportsmanship rules apply.

Anonymous said...

Guys you better start checking addresses in the early years. It is worst in the K-6 grades. Its done all the time. CMS has a major problem because of busing.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to move around with my comments. Please get the track girl who's at West Charlotte. She transfered from Harding. She's cheating and everybody knows it. Football and Basketball cheats a lot, but so does track. Really, every sport. It's not fair what happened to South Meck,just an unclear honest mistake, I undersand it. It was a flat out lie and intentional deceit from the Indy side. CMS is going to protect Indy. Indy will win another state championship. I think Langston has been fair with his steps. But get the girl from West Charlotte. I'm sure she's probably already getting ready for indoor track. I hate cheaters. It makes it harder on the good people who do things the right way. Stacking the deck is never fair, especially if you cheat!

Bob said...

Why the "hate" on just athletes who go to a school they want to for whatever reason? What about all the other students who go to the "wrong" school? My gosh people remember this is HIGH SCHOOL kids who almost all are never going to play beyond this level. Let them enjoy their highest level of playing sports. Because again I say if we are going to try and punish them for going where they want and can play then ALL students need to be punished and I guess kicked out of school or whatever if they are found out for going where they have a better math, science, band, etc. program then the school they are supposed to go to.

former CMS teacher said...

Langston, this is a great first step. As a former teacher and coach at Providence, I saw parents lying to get kids in the school for both academics and athletics. The AD needs to be a full time job, and an Assistant Principal needs to be assigned to monitor this full time as well. As far as the difference between South Meck and Independence situations - although I understand the reason for the rule difference, I think adopting your ideas removes the need for such a difference in outcomes and forces the schools and system to be more vigilant.The system in Charlotte is in meltdown on so many levels, but athletics is the canary in the coal mine as far as false enrollments - your ideas are a great start.

Don't Spend Additonal Tax $'s said...

Langston, Not bad but adding police to check High School sports eligibility. Hell, the crime rate in CMS areas is already high. The police need to focus opn the safety of the students and their communities not do the job of educators. I am not being negative to your suggestions just not adding to the tax burden because these morons can't or won't do their jobs. Sorry for the moron word, but just how stupid is the WC AD, using his inlaws address. That is so blatant he should be fired and suspended from teaching for life.