The word in the Charlotte Schools is that Play Fair is a bear(mountains of paperwork), but it is working to turn around the problem of students changing schools like they are playing musical chairs……. Here’s the word today, and it shows how the procedure is working within the CMS System…..
Very interesting article today from on-line in Charlotte and to get it all just go to Charlotte Observer Click Here.
One year into an anti-cheating program, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials say they’ve slowed, if not stopped, a wave of high school athletes who had lied about their addresses to play for elite teams.
Parents and school officials say the new initiative, called Play Fair, enforces attendance zones and makes it harder to cheat. About 20 documents are required for each student-athlete, and a widely publicized anti-cheating hot line makes potential violators more fearful of getting caught.
But the new system also makes the jobs of high school athletic directors tougher, some say, giving them more duties when budget cuts prevent hiring additional help. Skeptics say families are still working the system to get their kids on elite teams â€“ only now, they actually move instead of pretending to.
â€œIt’s kind of hard to imagine when you go around the (school) system and you see the discrepancy among some teams, why there are these clusters of athletes who wind up on good teams and other teams have such a lack,â€ said Adam Bernstein, a parent who once reported a family he suspected of violating the rules. â€œIt’s hard to image that there’s not something other than just geography going on.â€
Superintendent Peter Gorman announced the creation of Play Fair in August 2008 after an Observer investigation found widespread cheating on eligibility rules in high school athletics.
Subsequent CMS investigations resulted in more than 20 student-athletes being declared ineligible, four coaches resigning or being removed and five high schools forfeiting football seasons.
Play Fair, which includes mandatory honor codes as well as the hot line and address-checking procedures, is meant to eliminate such violations. In one year, CMS has fielded more than 400 e-mails and calls from tipsters.
The new system has uncovered four team violations and 10 honor code violations involving residency problems, grades or other issues.
The latest penalty was assessed against a West Charlotte football player who must now sit out from CMS sports for a year. West Charlotte won’t forfeit the game he played in because it was a loss.
George Walker, an Independence High teacher who has closely followed the eligibility controversy, said the phone hot line and new residency forms seem to have spooked potential cheaters. Parents and students must also attend mandatory meetings where they learn the rules and penalties, and sign honor code forms.
â€œA big chunk of (the cheating) is gone,â€ Walker said. â€œNobody wants to get caught.â€
Guilford County schools last month announced that its superintendent, former CMS official Maurice Green, was launching an identical anti-cheating system called Fair Play. The Greensboro initiative follows a school system investigation at Northern Guilford High that ended in the resignations of the school’s principal and athletics director, the banning of two coaches and the dismissal of a custodian.
CMS instituted the crackdown despite the system’s inability to put full-time athletics directors in schools to handle the workload. Athletics directors teach classes in addition to supervising sports programs.
Gorman, in announcing his plan last year, said he intended to ask for full-time directors. But budget shortfalls have prompted CMS to lay off teachers this year. The 2009-10 budget doesn’t include money for full-time directors, said Andre Mayes, a CMS lawyer who helps oversee the anti-cheating program.
Greg Clewis, athletics director at Myers Park High, said athletics directors now must collect about 20 documents for each student. He said he gets an assistant principal to help him double-check addresses, and keeps in close contact with the school registrar.
â€œIt’s a bear. It’s a tough process, and time-consuming,â€ Clewis said. But, he said, â€œI would say folks are much more willing to make a call and report this kid or the other kid. I can think of two or three examples off the top of my headâ€¦ of people who signed documents and falsified information and got caught.â€