Monday, November 21, 2011

Broad didn't seek CMS "naming rights"

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees and parents who are wary of the influence of The Broad Foundation have been grumbling about the district's decision to display a  "Broad Prize for Urban Education"  logo on electronic communications,  and to ask employees to attach the logo to their CMS emails.

Those concerns ratcheted up this month,  when the CMS communications office sent this follow-up:

"Thank you for spreading the good news about CMS winning the Broad Prize by changing your email signature.  In order to be in compliance with Broad guidelines,  we are asking all employees to use the revised  CMS/Broad logo in their signature.  We appreciate your cooperation."

Some people read that as a mandate from the Broad Foundation, which in September dubbed CMS the nation's top urban district and will hand out $550,000 in scholarships to the Class of 2012.  "I don't work for the Broad Foundation!  I work for the State of North Carolina and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools!"   wrote a teacher who forwarded the CMS directive.

Departing board member Kaye McGarry said people are asking,  "Since when did the Broad Foundation purchase naming rights to CMS?"   Keith Hurley,  a CMS parent who sought an at-large seat,  has also objected:  "Please, no more propaganda sent to my home for Eli Broad!"

LaTarzja Henry,  head of CMS communications,  said the decision to display the logo came from her,  not the Broad Foundation.   CMS could choose not to use it at all,  but if the district does display the Broad logo,  the foundation wants to make sure it's the official one.  The November mandate was just an effort to make sure employees had the updated attachment,  Henry said.

Henry said CMS has spent no money displaying the logo;  it has only been added to electronic material.  And the district must not be strictly enforcing its request for employees to use it.  I scanned my inbox and found emails from half a dozen teachers sent from their CMS accounts this month.  None included the Broad logo.

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