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Education Secretary Praises CMS's Strategic Staffing

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praised Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools today for its efforts to turnaround struggling schools by luring experienced teachers and principals to them. Duncan spent the morning at Sterling Elementary in South Charlotte speaking with parents, teachers, and principals. Sterling is one of 20 schools in the district that are what CMS calls strategically staffed. Duncan said other districts should pay attention to what CMS is doing. "On a systematic way really thinking about how we get the hardest working, the most committed teachers and principals to go to historically under-served communities," said Duncan. "Talent matters tremendously in education and this district, I think, can lead the national conversation about how not to do it in just one or two places, but how to do it systemically." Since 2008, the district has used financial incentives to attract top-quality principals to struggling schools and given them the autonomy to select staff and teachers. Many of these schools have made significant gains. Duncan was in Charlotte to speak at the annual meeting of community foundations.