Tuesday, August 15, 2006

You Can't Make This Stuff Up!

"Burke termed a last resort: Board questions open enrollment," by Diette Courrege, The Post and Courier, Tuesday, August 15, 2006, Local and State front page.

[Should have been front-page news: "County high schools caught using Burke as dumping ground for troublemakers."]


As I follow the doings of CCSD, sometimes I feel as though I've fallen down the rabbit hole with Alice. The latest expose, courtesy of constituent school board 20 (that's downtown), is one of those times. Yesterday's school board meeting (which appparently wasn't as important as the Newsless Courier's front-page news on the A-Team and its finances) was a shocker--at least to me and, I expect, to most people who do not have connections with the "in" crowd.

It seems that about five years ago, the school district "opened" admissions to anyone in the county, not just downtown residents, so, according to the chief academic officer, "high-achieving" students could transfer in.

Man, there must be a lot of gullible people in Charleston County!

Well, no, actually, just some who made a pretense of academics as the reason for the "open" admissions. After all, only students who were about to be expelled from other high schools knew about this policy. Gee, I wonder how they found out. Like, the guidance counselor (or school police liaison) said to them, "Go to Burke" and you won't be expelled for ... oh, drug-dealing, pot-smoking in the johns, fighting in the cafeteria, you name it. In fact, Burke has been used as a dumping ground for students unwanted by other schools, an "open admissions" alternative school, if you will.

Would any high-achieving student (and/or his or her parents) in his right mind transfer to Burke? We all know the answer to that. And so did the people who thought up this pretense.

With reasonable certainty, I can state that, whoever came up with this scenario guaranteed to encourage all gang members, druggies, and others who belonged in alternative settings to transfer into a school already on its last legs, did not have any children (or friends that had children) at Burke High School.

How dare the constituent board 20 complain! And no one admits to knowing how many non-residents have enrolled at Burke or even whether anyone looked at transcripts and records before they did!

Obviously, I don't need to worry about running out of material to write about. YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP. WHO WOULD BELIEVE IT?

Then, as an afterthought it seems, the reporter mentioned a three-year contract of $430,000 awarded to the "executive director of the district's building program." SAY WHAT? That's over $100,000 per year, a nice chunk of change.

For what? Doesn't say. [Editors: where are you?] Aren't you as taxpayer even mildly curious?

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