Sunday, April 29, 2007

Nancy McGinley, Mystery Woman

When I saw in Saturday's Post and Courier that Sunday's edition would include an article on Nancy McGinley, the new Superintendent of Schools for CCSD, I looked forward to learning more about her. In particular, I hoped to get some sense of McGinley as a person and of her plans for the district. Alas, it was a hope not fulfilled.

For those who have no access to the Web or do not know how to use Google, I suppose today's article contained news. The only news I gleaned was that McGinley is (and was) an athlete in high school and college and that her father was a principal in the Philadelphia schools. Oh, yes, and she surfs at the Washout on Folly.

So I have a list of questions for McGinley that should have been asked. Perhaps they were, and McGinley refused to answer them; perhaps the editors cut these questions and answers out of the article. I'll give the reporter the benefit of the doubt. Here they are in no particular order:



  1. Apart from receiving a job offer here, why did you want to come to the Charleston area?

  2. Now that you have resided in the Lowcountry for a few years, how have your perceptions of it changed?

  3. Is it too personal to ask if you have ever been married, had children, etc.?

  4. What is your opinion of the relationship that exists between the city (in particular, the mayor of Charleston) and county government and CCSD?

  5. How do you intend to respond to parental and community discontent over the handling of the principal for Fraser Elementary and of the lottery for Buist Academy kindergarten slots?

  6. Are you concerned that District 20 schools are de facto segregated?

  7. What are your ideas about the proposed downtown charter high school and its use of the Rivers building?

  8. What do you see as differences between your leadership style and that of Maria Goodloe-Johnson?

Well, that's a good start, although I suppose McGinley can't answer some of these until Maria Goodloe-Johnson is well out of town.


Maybe the rest of you can think of some more.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's hard not to be sarcastic. I, too, was disgusted when I read the "teaser" in yesterday's paper. And then to realize that all I know today is that our future Superintendent can "hang ten" and "rip a forehand" really pushes me over the edge. Okay, she's "cool." We get it. Yet how "cool" will she be with the politics of this town? Diette's article was nothing but damage control for the "space and time" she gave crazy Dot Scott last week.

Anonymous said...

Great questions, Babbie. You pretty much covered it for me. Too bad you're not our educational reporter at the Post and Courier. Or does it matter who the reporter is?

Anonymous said...

I live in District 20 and I feel optimistic about McGinley. I hear she is much more ethical than MGJ. I really want to see how she handles the Fraser situation. This is her chance to really do the right thing for the black community downtown. Where was Dot Scott on this issue? Once again her local group cared more about the career of one black woman than the thousands of black children in downtown Charleston's schools. I'm sure the national NAACP would be ashamed of her racist comments in our local paper.

Anonymous said...

If what we read on this blog is true McGinley will need a lot of strength to stand up to the Gregg Meyers/Joe Riley/Buist mafia!

Anonymous said...

OK, I'll take the bait....what does Buist get that other downtown schools don't get?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that Ms. Decourrage is just trying to start off on the right foot with Dr. McGinley. She has done enough damage to the poor woman by printing Dot Scott's racist comments about her TWICE!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it pretty obvious that Goodloe Johnson put Dot Scott up to that rant against McGinley in the Post and Courier?

Anonymous said...

To the 10:47 pm post....what does Buist get that other downtown schools don't get?

Let's start with $1,000 per student more than what Charleston Progressive (Courtenay School) gets. Four foreign language teachers to their none. An assistant principal, PE, Art and Music teachers on a full time basis to none or part-time only at Chas. Progressive. A fully stocked library for both elementary and middle school levels to one at Chas. Progressive that has been largely stocked with title one funds instead of the limited budget allowed for books by CCSD. Then there's the extra guidance counselors at Buist and the fact that Buist is allowed to skip out on NCLB unlike Chas. Progressive. You want more?

I'd like to see how Dr. McGinley addresses this inequity, especially since she was the CCSD official that presided at the official assembly to open Chas. Progressive when it moved into the Courtenay campus in the fall of 2005. She made reference to the history of discrimination against predominently minority schools in Charleston and her positive experience in Philly. Too bad she didn't appear to know that Dist. 20 schools were at one time ahead of Philadelphia on providing public education to minorities. That was long before CCSD changed the mission of downtown schools to serve another agenda.

It would be interesting to hear Dr. McGinley's thoughts on how the history of CCSD's mismanagement of Dist. 20 might be changed on her watch. If she is sincere in her desire to see urban schools with a high percentage of poor and/or minority students become excellent rated, she may discover that she will have much support from Dist. 20 residents, parents and alumni. If she would allow Dist. 20 to plan the future of each of its school programs and take ownership in the plans, success would be much more likely. A community buy-in would also seriously threaten those who have profited so much over the years from city schools remaining micro-managed by 75 Calhoun. The time has come for city schools to again be managed by those who actually live within the downtown communities.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Buist also has three SAIL teachers in the building and an IB coordinator. How much does that add up to in extra salaries for the most "elite" children in CCSD? Buist also has a very low student teacher ratio provided by CCSD. Other schools in District 20 are managing to lower class size only through Title 1 funds. Buist also has a sailing program for the students in the school. Let's see...who bought that boat again?

memminger1945 said...

Certainly the nine or ten remaining city schools all located in downtown Charleston couldn't become any more segregated or fail their students (and the community) any worse than what CCSD has already allowed to happen under its current management plan for District 20. If the Plan for Excellence has any substance, Dr. McGinley should be exploring ways to involve all those with a stake in downtown and the expansion of its public schools. Otherwise, the G-J plan was just a farce to begin with. Many already doubt that G-J's plan was anything but window dressing, just like the last Harvey Gantt moderated Reconfiguration Plan for Dist. 20. That Dist.20 plan (initiated by G-J and the county board no less) was dead-on-arrival in the Spring of 2004. It is clear now that plan was never intended to be implimented. G-J demonstrated that quite well. My guess is Dist. 20 was to ultimately become the county's dumping ground for failing students. The "success" at Buist only serves to draw attention away from CCSD's obsene failures in other downtown schools. The real plan may be to close and merge each of the remaining downtown public schools until Dist. 20 finally disappears. No wonder G-J said so often that non-poor and non-minority residents of District 20 had alternative school choices open to them...Private Schools. It will be interesting to see if Dr. McGinley will confront this challenge because it also represents a valuable opportunity she shouldn't ignore. Her future in Charleston and our future as a "livable city" (Mayor Riley's term) may depend on how Dr. McGinley deals with the inequities of District 20.

Anonymous said...

So in addition to the SAIL program (an acronym for an after-school academic program, I'm guessing), you're saying that Buist Academy (grades K-8) also has a sailing program? I suppose that's part of this elementary school's expanding PE program. So that means other downtown schools have limited or no real PE programs at all, yet Buist is encouraged to have an intramural (?) sailing program? Good for them, but why isn't Burke High School (grades 7-12) allowed by CCSD to have intermural baseball, soccer, swimming, crew or even golf? With extensive city parks and three state colleges all so close to its downtown campus it would seem that Burke would be better positioned for these sports than Buist would be for a sailing team. We should be reminded, and I paraphrase, that G-J's office once said that Charleston's minority students "were just not inclined to take advantage of such opportunities" even if they were provided by CCSD within the downtown schools. Hogwash!

Anonymous said...

Before McGinley tries to cast herself as doing missionary work in the Deep and Un-Reconstructed South or confronting the ills of abject poverty among minorities relegated to vast urban ghettos, she should first calibrate her aim relative to real conditions and her estimated position...as each relates to her objectives. Charleston is a unique city but it also has a mixed bag of problems that may or may not resemble those found in other cities where she has experience. Just as surfing the Folly Beach wash-out is not comparable to surfing in California.

In this way she has just been given a taste of how easily the words "race" and "racism" can be manipulated against her in Charleston by those who don't really care about the meaning of either.

Anonymous said...

The Civil Rights movement as it relates to public education was initially supposed to be focused on bringing equal opportunities to more students, not taking successful and enriching programs away from those that were fortunate enough to have them. Conversely, more than half a century ago, those who opposed Civil Rights argued that equal access was not possible (or at least not desirable to some) and the only real objective of those who demanded Civil Rights was the elimination of successful and enriching public programs then enjoyed by a few (mostly whites). As if to prove their point, those who opposed Civil Rights took action to reduce or close down programs rather than to share them with minorities or the poor. Unfortunately, some so-called Civil Rights advocates also cooperated with the opposition, almost to spite their own objectives. It was just to prove some whites were as mean as they wanted them to appear.

It seems we have learned little about Civil Rights and Public Education in the years since Brown vs. Board. We're still hearing some Buist defenders argue that "mixing is bad". We're also hearing from some blowhards who claim to be black community leaders that the current public school failures downtown are OK if this continues to keep 'whitie' out of downtown public schools. Never mind the fact that black kids are being hurt in a big way. To these blowhards it's more important to provide another illustration of just how bad the white devil is. Sounds a lot like Hillery Douglas, doesn't it?

Poor Imus. He has discovered the sword may only cut in one direction. Ask the Rev. Joe Darby how often he uses gutter words to describe whites when he asserts his desires for special favors and privilages. Racists come in every shade, complextion and calling.

I thought most of us had long since gotten beyond this kind of race baiting. Racism still cuts both ways, but it seems we in Charleston have not advanced beyond this game at all. Shame on the Post and Courier, Barbara Williams and Diette Courgage for not confronting this.

Anonymous said...

Show me the evidence that the local Chapter of the NAACP is anywhere near the size they say it is. I thought the P&C checked its facts. The Charleston Chapter has been largely marginalized because of its parochial agenda and years of stagnent leadership. Why else would there have been a proliferation of so many other local chapters just beyond downtown Charleston. The NAACP may have 10,000 members, but Dot Scott wasn't elected to represent a group anywhere near that number.

Anonymous said...

As to question number 3, because it is logical to want to know if they can relate to the experience of others, as far as I know Dr. McGinley has had both the good sense and the practiced professionalism to keep her private life private. Unfortunately, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson did not. Maria flaunted her position, because she could, and her arrogance about her out-of-wedlock pregnancy greatly disappointed a lot of her early supporters. It also placed them in an awkward position when they were asked to overlook this glaring inconsistancy in what they had hoped she would bring to Charleston. There was no doubt, as the first black and first woman superintendent, that a major reason she had been hired was because it was hoped she would provide a role model for the many African-American students in the system. This was especially true for the girls and young women facing high teenage pregnancy and dropout rates. She disregarded all of that by choosing to fail to fill this critical community need from the outset. By contrast, Nancy, it would seem, has been tapped to make the existing game plan succeed, if that is possible. She would be wise to stay focused on repairing the damage to our public school system, restoring confidence in the potential for student success and building bridges to Charleston's many estranged school communities. I would appreciate Dr. McGinley being mindful of just how insensitive Dr. Goodloe was in how she chose to make her private life so public. She should take care to avoid making the mistakes made by her current boss.

Anonymous said...

SAIL is the gifted and talented program throughout Charleston. It is not an after school program. Buist has 3 SAIL teachers. Other downtown kids that qualify for SAIL are bused to Mitchell. The sailboat used for the sailing program at Buist was purchased by a Buist parent. I understand that some other CCSD schools use it too. I doubt any of those schools are in District 20 however....

Anonymous said...

This is a great source of information and helps to sort out important details the public isn't always getting. I have some questions for the 8:41 post. If SAIL is a program designed for gifted and talented students, then why aren't Dist. 20 kids who qualify not allowed to attend the SAIL program at Buist instead of being "bused to Mitchell"? A related question also begs to be asked. If it is acknowledged that within Dist. 20 "[o]ther downtown kids [do] qualify" as gifted and talented, then why does CCSD make it so difficult for them to gain access to environments like Buist? And to extend this question, why have administrators and leaders at Buist not followed through on their promise to help create comparable academically challenging programs at other nearby schools? It would appear that the Buist school community (teachers, parents, students and oh-so-many county board members) are living off the fat of the land while the majority of the public schools that surround them are starving. History tells us this should be a formula for revolution. Maybe Dr. McGinley will consider using a different formula.

Anonymous said...

FYI. When parents find limited educational opportunities for their children in public schools, they frequently turn to non-public alternatives, if they have the means. This is often not a choice they want to make. The same is true for some very fine and experienced educators whose resumes have languished in the CCSD job application files. It would make sense if one of these administrators was hired to be a full time principal for Fraser Elem. School. Let Ms. Moore continue to do a good job at Sanders-Clyde as their full time principal. A split administration between two schools that serve different communities only sends the message that downtown schools and students are expendable. Give Fraser a full time principal. Leading any downtown school should be considered a full time job.

Anonymous said...

To the person from 9:28am:

Are you really so naive that you would ask why the downtown kids are taught SAIL at Mitchell and not Buist? It has everything to do with race. Also all children are given SAIL at Buist even if they don't qualify for it.

Anonymous said...

No where else is this information being given out. Thanks. I hope Dr. McGinley is reading this stuff. The Post and Courier staff either doesn't understand it or is too committed to upholding another agenda. Too bad for us all.

Anonymous said...

It seems the SAIL program at Buist isn't the only one being stacked in favor of the well connected and is managed with race in mind. I understand that Mt.Pleasant kids are given vacant 4-year old kindergarten seats at some of their elementary schools. If qualified students (those identified as "high risk")don't apply for all seats, then the vacant ones are open to all applicants regardless of need. In downtown, there are no vacancies for these seats, only waiting lists. It would seem that this valuable early childhood intervention program is being misdirected at the expense of Dist. 20 and again illustrates CCSD's racially motivated management practices.

Anonymous said...

I just found out about this BLOG. I think this is a lot of sour grapes from the downtown black community. More of them should apply to Buist...that's the problem. Toya Hampton Green played the lottery fair and square and her daughter was obviously highly qualified as was the child of Darius Rucker. It is mere chance that these are the minority kids that got into Buist. Buist is lucky to have the children of Toya and Mr. Rucker. The parents bothered to put in an application to a great school. With all of you nutty downtown people out there complaining thank God there is again a school board child at the school to protect it. Leave Buist alone and work on your failing schools.

Anonymous said...

That's right. Buist is a countywide magnet school so it is not the business of downtown people who gets in. You should be thrilled that Buist is in District 20 to raise the standards of your failing district.

Anonymous said...

I thought the wackos were gone from the blog...but THEY'RE BACK!

Anonymous said...

To the 5:54 pm, I can't help but wonder if you're one of the following people:
A) Gregg Meyers
B) Jerry Adams
C) Janet Rose or last, but certainly not least....
D) Sallie Ballard

Anonymous said...

Let's get back to this SAIL thing...surely THIS is a story for the P&C, right, Babbie?
Children who DON'T qualify for SAIL still receive it at Buist?
What is THAT about?
I heard the test results were so bad in one class that they're retesting the kids.
If you "fail" that absurd YCAT, you don't get "retested." Let's ask Ms. Janet about that one...

Anonymous said...

You downtown people are the wackos! Buist is a countywide magnet. Just accept the fact that the smartest kids in the county end up at Buist and they desearve to be in a challenging environment! I don't hear anyone complaining about the magnet high school having high admissions standards and expecting a North Charleston list for God's sake. What if Hillary Douglas or Nancy Cook was expecting that?

I'm glad that Mrs. Green is now a Buist parent to protect us at Buist from crazy downtown people. Accept the fact that you are obviousoly bitter people who didn't have luck the in lottery (which is fair-ask Janet Rose or any of the other honorable people at CCSD) or your kid screwed up the YCAT! Why don't you all just get over it and put your kids in private school. I'm sure you are all a bunch of rich south of Broad types.

Anonymous said...

Those of you that complain about the YCAT must know that there must be some standard for admisssion. I'm sure some of you have bought your very average children's way into a private school. Just accept the fact that Buist is for the brightest.

Babbie said...

How is a child identified as eligible for SAIL?

Anonymous said...

They are tested. There is someone at CCSD in charge of this program. Most District 20 schools have 5-10 children that qualify.

Anonymous said...

Give Mrs. Ballard a break. She is doing the right thing for the other District 20 principals. If she poached their children with the highest PACT scores it would be terrible for their jobs. Even losing a couple of star test takers can mean a school drops dramatically in AYP. Mrs. Ballard is politically wise enough to remember to find qualified minority students outside of downtown. She is a kind person that cares about not upsetting her fellow principals.

Anonymous said...

Why all the constant talk about Buist? Few of the children now manage to get into the Academic Magnet High School, right? Is it really a place for great minds? The only thing they know how to do well at Buist is take standardized tests. The black and white downtown community is better off keeping their children out of this very unethical institution.

Let the lawyers and school board members have Buist. They are getting what they deserve. Demand equality for your other downtown schools. One need visit Buist only once to recognize that it is a grim atmosphere. The school is made up of too many children that are there because of

A) Donations to the Buist foundation

B) Because Mommy or Daddy is an elected official or attorney and

C) because Mommy or Daddy is famous or related to the governor

D) or because grandpa has sweetheart real estate deals with the mayor


Really? Are these the people you want your children associating with? They are all well aware that those that gain admission fraudulently are stealing from other children.

A pricipal sets the tone of a school. Sallie Ballard is Buist for better or worse.

memminger1945 said...

I think the correct term for approaching top students at one school and suggesting they go to another is called "cherry picking". If Ms. Ballard is in charge of cherry picking on behalf of Buist then her avoidance of D20 schools is about playing education politics and not at all "about the children", as Ms.Goodloe often claims is CCSD's mission. If the system is crunching test scores and gaming the school report cards just to advance the status of principals or the administration, then something is truly wrong with this whole picture. This is not a game for edu-crats to play, it's about the determining the future chances of success or failure for thousands of lives while they are still kids. Is there any shame in all of this?

Anonymous said...

Here's something for Dr. McGinley to consider based on her Philadelphia education and experience. Look hard at the history of public education in Charleston County, and then at District 20. Consider its history, its demographics and its economic trends. Then look at the same things in Philadephia. She doesn't need to be a historian or an anthropologist either. She just needs to consider her own experience at Abraham Lincoln High School, class of 1972 at this 'academic high school'. She should also consider the history of Central High School of Philadelphia. That's the flagship public school in Philadelphia, touted to be the 2nd oldest public high school in the nation. ALHS appeared to be on a par with Central High but with a much shorter history. Then she should ask herself these questions. If Charleston once possessed public education assets comparable with Philadelphia, why did Charleston decide by way of CCSD to toss many of these assets? Can any of these educational assets be recovered in Charleston? Is it worth it? Dr. McGinley is often heard comparing the worst of Philadelphia with the worst of Charleston (a broad leap given the diffence in their sizes today). She might consider a time when the best of each was comparable. Restoring those opportunities to Charleston might be her mission and her legacy if she's up to it.

Anonymous said...

At least two graduates of Central High of Philadelphia taught at Charleston High during its last decade of existence.

Anonymous said...

Some of this reminds me of a short story I read in a high school English lit class. (It was a D20 school, and just before CCSD stripped its curriculum and library down to nothing.) It was a story about a community that looked normal and took everything in stride as if things had always been that way, nice and normal. It was a town where everyone had their place and did things mostly without questioning them. It was said to be in everyone’s best interests if they just followed the rules. The town was sort of a "go along to get along" kind of place, not unlike what some of these posters are asking us to do with CCSD. It was all very normal, even boring, until the narrator near the end of the story revealed a dark secret. The reader was then presented with the horror that was at the town’s core and reason for being. I think the case presented by some in support of CCSD's handling of D20, with its gaming and dumping under NCLB, YCAT, PACT and XYZ, is no better than what was revealed in that short story once found in a high school text book. It was published more than 50 years ago and coincidentally titled "The Lottery".

Anonymous said...

Very interesting...I would love to read "The Lottery."
Wouldn't that make for an interesting article?

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. I thought Buist was for the brightest children in the County. Isn't that what Ms. Ballard says the purpose of the YCAT is? She wants to determine who can handle her rigorous curriculum, right? So what's the deal with her "brightest" children not meeting the SAIL requirements, yet "pretending" they do?
Can someone please make sense of this ridiculous nonsense??

Anonymous said...

One more thought...doesn't Buist only offer Honors courses at the Middle School level? What's the difference between being identified as gifted and talented (SAIL) and taking honors courses?
Are we going to kick these kids out that don't meet the requirements? Or are we going to "turn the other cheek" the way we did with the fake addresses. Afterall, its not WHAT you know in this town...its WHO you know...right kiddies?
Maybe we should rename the "Gregg Meyers Academy" the "Future Enron Executives Academy"-

Anonymous said...

Word is that Maria has scheduled the first Dist. 20 "reconfiguration" meeting for May 22. The time and place is unknown. Harvey Gantt is supposed to moderate. She implied to the county board last October that these meetings will be "managed" in such a way as to give "priority" to some in the discussions. This leaves the door open to speculation that she intends to prevent some people from participating. I'm curious to know just what are her definitions of "primary" and "secondary" school stakeholders within Dist. 20?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, did you just arrive in Charleston? Or maybe you just fell off the turnip truck? "Primary" stakeholders would be Dot Scott and Rev. Darby. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. I think we're fighting "the war" again in their world.
"Secondary" stakeholders? Well, there are none.
Now there is a group called "the untouchables" which you failed to mention. The "untouchables" would include white people and traitors from the black community who want a charter school and they (excuse me for being so blunt in the our "holy city") - can go to hell in a handbasket.
Poor Mr. Gantt...maybe someone could give him a "heads up" before he enters the war zone.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone answer that 12:50 poster's questions? I'm curious as well...
What is the difference between Gifted and Talented Vs. Honors?
Are they one in the same at Buist?

Anonymous said...

Excuse me...what do you mean by "traitors" from the black community? A Charter School would be the first integrated school downtown in many decades....and hell no Buist doesn't count and you know it. BANISH THE POINT SYSTEM OR ALL OF YOUR DOWNTOWN SCHOOLS WILL GO CHARTER!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Great idea. If every downtown school were to go charter, then the parents would be engaged, local taxpayers would feel vested, the students could be better challenged, the teachers would feel supported, the principals wouldn't be threatened by the politics of the county administration AND the funding would be known in advance. Funny thing about charter schools is in SC they are accountable by law and their performance levels are held to higher standards than either regular or magnet schools. The concept is also supported by the political left and the right. That's why former state superintendent Inez Tannenbaum supports the concept as well as leaders in the state legislature (on both sides of the asile). Even national players support charter schools from the NAACP to the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation, if they enhance educational opportunities that are not otherwise available in the local community's existing public schools. A serious lack of educational opportunities is definately the case in Charleston and especially in District 20. What will be interesting is where Dr. McGinley will be on this issue. The Philadelphia system has been one of the leading proponents of charter schools and she once headed a fund raising organization designed to support alternative schools within that city. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

To the 9:36 pm poster, I completely agree...
Charter is the only way. And, for the record, the word "traitor" came from the Reverend himself. You would have to ask him what he meant by that.

Clisby said...

To the 12:45 p.m. poster:

There is no reason to think the Buist students are the brightest in the district - only that they all meet a certain minimum standard.

I don't know how the kindergarten admission works, but according to the brochure I have from Buist, older students have to be in the proficient or advanced range on the previous year's PACT and to have an 85 average (barely a B, if the grading is like it was when I was in school) in core academic subjects.

Assuming everybody does meet these criteria, all you can say is that they're good solid students. Assuming that they're the best and the brightest in the county is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, I'm just "catching up" on this blog...Minimum standards?
My child was reading 2nd grade books and didn't meet "Sallie's requirements" for Buist's kindergarten.

Clisby said...

To 7:45 p.m. Anonymous (Jeez, can't all you anonymous posters just pick a fake name and stick to it? It would make replying a lot easier.):

First, as I said before, I'm not talking about applicants for kindergarten. I have no idea about that - testing prospective kindergarten students seems lunatic to me. I'm talking about older kids. When it comes to them:

I'm not saying the students at Buist meet only "minimal" standards. I'm saying that the admissions process is designed to guarantee that all students admitted meet at least a certain minimum standard. It is not designed to guarantee that the students admitted are the best possible students.

If CCSD wanted to reserve Buist for the "brightest and best" there would be no need for a lottery or a waiting list. You'd give all the applicants a test, and admit the top scorers. That's not what happens. There's nothing underhanded about that - it's not how the admissions process works. The brochure published by CCSD makes that clear.

Your kid could be Einstein the 2nd, and lose out to a merely good student who met the minimum entrance requirements and had a higher spot on the waiting list. That's how it's supposed to work. There is absolutely nothing in the Buist admissions procedure to do anything other than that (when it comes to older students, at least.)

I thought the kindergarten applications were supposed to be handled the same way. Regardless of whether there's any hanky-panky in admissions, I thought what was *supposed* to happen was that kids were picked in the lottery, and then tested. If #1 in the lottery met the minimum requirements on the YCAT screening, #1 was in. It didn't matter if kid #40 scored twice as high - getting in was a combination of a good lottery number and a minimum YCAT score. This is just my assumption, though, and could be wrong. The brochure I have doesn't go into any detail about admission to kindergarten. Please note that I'm not talking about what actually happens - I'm talking about what is supposed to happen.

Anonymous said...

Clisby: You really don't understand this it would seem. The lottery is a sham. The testing system is rigged. (It even uses a test as a single criteria that says it is NOT supposed to be used that way.) Face it. Buist is a publicly subsidized private school for the well placed (if not always well heeled). I'd take any brochure published by CCSD with a grain of salt. Besides, what exactly has CCSD paid out in public relations and spin campaigns over the last 3-4 years. Really nice graphics but I doubt if Jerry Adams had any input that would account for the cost of such a professional spread.

Clisby said...

To anonymous 12:34 p.m.:

The test you're talking about (I assume) is the YCAT. I can easily believe the lottery is a sham and that test is rigged.

That's completely irrelevant to my point, which is that nothing in this process guarantees that the students admitted to Buist are the "best and brightest."

If getting the "best and brightest" into Buist were the goal, there wouldn't be a lottery.

cynic said...

Clisby: I think we can agree, only the supporters of the current management of Buist will say that its goal is to admit Charleston County's "best and brightest". If that was its original stated goal then a lottery certainly wouldn't have been necessary. The sham began in the late 1980's when it was set up to demonstrate that there was an "integrated" public school downtown when in fact there was not. Now that this model "magnet" school has existed using whatever means necessary to maintain this image of intergration it has forgotten what its purpose was.

Clisby said...

It's not just the lottery - if the goal were for Buist to serve the best and brightest, the academic standards would need to be higher.

Granted, Buist has good academic standards, but maintaining an 85% average in core subjects is hardly gifted territory.

Now, if Buist required a 90% average and also required that by 4th grade, a student had to score either Advanced on PACT or meet the SAIL requirements - you'd be getting closer to "best and brightest".

Anonymous said...

I've got a problem with all this stuff about 85% and 90% minimum grades in core subjects for continuance at Buist. Look, Harvard only requires a "C" average to stay or even graduate. Of course, it takes a lot more to get in the door, but the presumption is that if you have what it takes to get in then you can survive in a rigorous academic environment where even the most basic courses are presumed to be much harder than other schools just because its Harvard. If the same were true at Buist, then it is fair to expect that Buist IS harder than other non-magnet K-8 programs in Charleston County. If I am wrong and somehow the "coherent curriculum" garbage dictates that Buist students are on the same page of the same lesson plan as say the students at Harborview or Sanders-Clyde, then an 85% minimum is crazy. It proves that Buist is no better than any other school except that its admissions are controled by a rigged lottery and they just purge themselves of the lower end of the bell curve before the PACT tests and school report cards are conducted. What a joke if we think this is anything but manipulation of the numbers. This is an example of what adults will do to play the numbers to give them predictable results. When students do this and it involves their homework and test performance to manipulate their grades, we call this cheating. When a national leader does this to falsely manipulate foreign policy and start a war, we call this a war crime.

Anonymous said...

But this is America where we create schools with ambiguous practices and conflicting policies like those that surround Buist Academy. Given how we are educating our future leaders now, I guess we should expect more of the same out of Washington for another generation, too.

Clisby said...

To anonymous 10:48:

I would be very surprised if Buist has to follow the coherent curriculum, but I've been surprised before.

However, if its admissions criteria were intended to make it like a junior-level Harvard, you'd need to do something like:

- eliminate K-2 at Buist (I think 2nd graders are tested for SAIL - if not, you'd have to eliminate K-3)
- accept applications only from kids who have formally qualified for SAIL.

I'm not particularly advocating any of this - I was simply responding to a question of how kids at Buist (supposedly the "brightest") might not qualify for SAIL.

I don't pretend to know how many would or wouldn't qualify if they were tested. But it's blindingly obvious that the admissions process (rigged or not) isn't set up to ensure that those admitted actually are the brightest. In the best case, if admissions are all above-board, it should ensure that those admitted are above average. That's about all you can say.

Anonymous said...

I am a Buist parent and I can tell you that it is certainly not made up of the "best and brightest" in Charleston County. Many children struggle to stay at an 84% GPA causing headaches, ulcers, and even depression. Clearly the YCAT is not filtering out the kids that aren't qualified. I benefit from this system but what I am reading on this blog gives me pause. I now question such a small number of families being given so much by CCSD. We are given so much more than even the other magnet schools. I never knew who the kids of Toya Green or Gregg Meyers were but so much about Buist is starting to make sense. I also know that Gregg Meyers last child was registered in the school under his mother's last name. Was Meyers trying to cover his tracks?

Anonymous said...

To 8:10 am: The county school board by its actions has placed a lot of pressure on Buist. Understandably, children placed in this situation, incl. those of sitting board members, want to remanin as anonymous as possible. You still have to consider who placed them in that position. It would make much more sense for them, and for all the others involved, to have had successful alternative schools available throughout Dist. 20, and the county too. That would have taken the pressure off this hot box environment that exists at Buist. It can't be very healthy for anyone involved. Who's to say if the issues you raise are a result of the rules or the way the rules have been applied.