Everything you need to know about the CMS student assignment plan


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Who: Ann Doss Helms has been an education reporter at the Charlotte Observer since 2002. And right now she’s in the midst of one of the most drama-filled events on the schools beat: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools student assignment.

Helms joined the CharlotteFive Podcast this week to break down the complicated student assignment process for us.

Corey, you might be thinking, I don’t have kids so this doesn’t affect me. I’m not gonna listen. You’d be wrong. This affects way more than just parents and students. And you should definitely listen.

What: Every six years, CMS adjusts its student assignment plan, making changes to schools and boundary lines. The current student assignment process started back in 2015, and CMS said its guiding principles revolved around providing choice, reducing overcrowding and breaking up concentrations of poverty in CMS schools. You know, basically just solving some of the biggest problems in education. Sounds simple, right?

There was a public meeting about the plan Tuesday night and there’s a work session set for May 16. The school board is expected to vote on the plan on May 24.

Anything else? There’s a lot going on with this student assignment plan. We talked about the big picture and a couple of the hot-button issues, you can dive a whole lot deeper into it. Here’s some background reading:

Helms’ report from Tuesday night’s public meeting.
A school-by-school guide to the new plan.
Maps of the boundary changes for each school.
CMS’ “goals and guiding principles” for student assignment.
– Analysis on the plan’s impact on concentrations of poverty: “CMS plan’s impact on high-poverty schools becomes clearer, and it’s not much.”

Also discussed on this week’s podcast:

The Charlotte pizza that’s supposedly inducing labor.
Me becoming a dad.
– What you can do for mom on Mother’s Day this weekend.
– And what else you should be doing this weekend.

Photo: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer


  1. I think that the big problem people are having is there is too much focus on race. The job of schools are to educate, not socially engineer. They move high performing kids to low performing schools by the overuse of the once prestigeous magnet program, and vice versa, and pretend success in score improvement. In reality, thet just manipulate averages. There are many, many, kids who live in poverty that do very well and are hughly successful in college. It is not poverty, it is parenting. The schools cannot resolve poverty or severe poor parenting, that is the job of community service and faith based agencies. Good kids, of all race, economic, and social circumstanes suffer by their actions.


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