Thursday, April 05, 2007

"Roving Opportunists": Great Epithet!

What I am most worried about at this point is NOT that CCSD Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson will go to Seattle, but that she will stay in CCSD.

Inscrutable as they may be in making decisions, surely the powers-that-be visiting from the Seattle School District will discern at least part of the potemkin village that she has posited as success in Charleston. Even now they may be reading comments posted on this blog in previous months, as a blog on the website of one of the Seattle newspapers has recommended and reproduced. It almost makes me wish I'd never criticized the school district. [I said ALMOST!]

I also don't see why Goodloe-Johnson would really want to go if she realizes that the Seattle district has lost almost half of its school population in the last 40 years, has an active teachers' union, and does not enjoy the cozy relationship with local newspapers that exists for her and CCSD here in the Lowcountry.

No, what makes me most nervous is a very similar happening in the Corpus Christi Independent School District (CCISD) from which Goodloe-Johnson came, a happening orchestrated by then Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra, presumably her mentor. As events developed, Saavedra kept secret his application for superintendent of schools in El Paso until he was one of two (or three--I can't remember) candidates being considered. When that announcement was made, he got his lackeys on the CCISD school board to vote him a substantial raise so that he wouldn't leave.

It worked--until the news leaked out that several school board members "owed" Saavedra for not keeping, shall we say, careful track of outrageous expenses charged to the district on its American Express Card by board members, a former assistant superintendent, and Saavedra himself. [This in a school district so poor that in some of its high schools only students in "honors" classes got textbooks to take home with them.]

Did he get his just desserts? Well, the Corpus Christi DA Carlos Valdez convened a court of inquiry that resulted in Saavedra's being charged with a felony. He was suspended from his CCISD duties but then acquitted of the charges by a jury. However, the honeymoon was over with the school board (gee, I wonder why), and Saavedra left for greener pastures, working his way in the last few years into the top position in the much larger and more lucrative Houston ISD. "Roving opportunists," indeed.

Will history repeat itself? It is a fact that in her last review by the CCSD School Board Goodloe-Johnson neither received a raise nor an extension of her contract. But that was with the OLD school board that had several members underimpressed by her performance. Now she has a much friendlier board, one of whose members (Ruth Jordan) has already suggested that Charleston needs to find a way to keep her on as superintendent--and Jordan doesn't even have any children at Buist that I know of!

Time will tell. The school board meets again on Monday night.


Anonymous said...

jeez. you ought to call this thing the newsless newsless. conspiracy theories to the hilt. don'y you know the national life expectancy of a school chief is barely four years. cut the woman some slack, or are you just one of those moralizing baby haters? or maybe you never moved up in your profession and took on new challenges. how very sad. or perhaps you should apply for the job here should it come open, come out of your closet and do something constructive for a change. remind me not to come back here, this is an insane asylum,

Anonymous said...

and if you think the paper has a cozy history with CCSD you really have no sense of that history. the paper has been a mouthpiece for altman and engelman and copeland and assorted whiners and hate-mongers who would destroy public education for political advantage,

Anonymous said...

Just get rid of her. She has done what CCSD paid her to do. Maria has ensure the kids in district 20 will continue to be behind with the exception of Buist Academy.

Anonymous said...

to the 9:55 post, thanks for your comments jerry. we can always count on you to keep us well informed.

Anonymous said...

am moved by the concern for the downtown kids. sanders-clyde is doing much better and he fraser folk should be kissing the ground. fraser and rivers were dropping like rocks and needed serious change and striong leaders. burke is succeeding under benton and moore will help fraser. not that any of the white buist conspiracy theorists would send their children there anyway

Anonymous said...

Conspiracy theorists? Are you kidding me, Jerry? If you would start capitalizing the first words in your sentences, you may actually be able to post anonymously on this blog. No, we'd still know it was you. You're addicted to this blog and its fun having you on here. Keep up the crazy responses. Its my laugh for the day.
By the way, when was the last time you went to Burke? Check out the 7th and 8th grade classes and ask the teachers what level the majority of their students are reading on... Do they have hot water in the cafeteria yet? Are they still walking down the street to use the City Gym because they don't have any place for PE? Tell us again, what WAS that A Plus Program? We're still waiting to see that. Would we tolerate any of this in Mt. Pleasant?
The only lucky one in that move was Dr. G-J - she took another failing school off her resume.

BlondeonBlonde said...

I'm not sure how anyone can survive in the Charleston County school district. Goodloe-Johnson has done an admirable job. I've talked to teachers at Sanders-Clyde and they like her. I don't think that she was a puppet of the board which is a good thing. I've never seen a school district like Charleston. It is a shame that politics triumphs over the education of children.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jerry, as a communications director, you might want to take the time to listen to other people who have a stake in these very important issues involving the economic future of Charleston and the education of the next generation expected to live here. You might learn something from these people who are loyal to more than just their current employer. The great thing about Charleston (I mean the real Charleston beyond what the script says), especially to those who have discovered this on their own, is that we historically have an inclination for very open and public debate of almost any issue, even among and between total strangers standing on a street corner.

Charlestonians (new comers and old timers) at our best have historically appreciated the value of open debate. At our city’s worst, we have allowed differences of opinion to be stifled in the name of “unity” and “coherence”. It is not a Charleston tradition to speak kindly to your face and then slice you to bits when you leave the room. That is an insidious Southern tradition that has crept into Charleston in the carpet bags (oh, I mean briefcases) of the experts we hire to tell us what is right and what is wrong according to scripted rules, like in an insane asylum.

Try having an honest discussion with people who don’t agree with you some time, Jerry, it can be therapeutic. Given your experience as the spokesman for DSS as it was forced to face serious problems running SC’s insane asylums (just before you moved on to CCSD), you might appreciate what local once said about arguments in Charleston. James Louis Petigru, a noted Unionist here, observed this about Charleston as it approached secession and civil war in 1860: Too small to be a separate country but too large to be an insane asylum. He lost the debate to save the Union but he stuck around anyway, as he said, to help pick up the pieces when this disaster is over.

Who will lead us out of this disaster? I don’t think anyone on our school board understands this. Certainly no one they have hired to run our schools cares. It’s just a job with a paycheck; it’s not a mission of great importance to the future of our community.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Adams said he didn’t have an ax to grind with the P&C. His comments shown above would indicate that he does.

As for knowing the history of P&C's relationship with CCSD, you would also have to know that the paper’s owners and editorial staff favored the creation of CCSD as part of the overall abandonment of Dist. 20 when local school leaders capitulated to the original Justice Dept. desegregation case in 1963. The decision to sign a consent agreement to voluntarily desegregate downtown Charleston public schools, the first to do so in SC and one of the first in the South, was met with total opposition from the editors/owners of both local daily newspapers then. They actively trashed the city’s public schools with abandon and inflicted deep damage to the public’s perception of downtown schools from that point forward.

Nothing much has changed in the 44 years since 1963. The complete demise of Dist. 20 (downtown schools) has taken a little longer than most people in the circles of power had originally anticipated. No one considered that in its death throws, Dist. 20 might actually fight back. Certainly no one ever thought that white and black residents of the peninsula might actually form alliances in a common effort to reestablish quality schools open to all within the inner city.

As for front groups like the local chapter of the NAACP and the Ministerial Alliance, they are simply willing pawns in the latest chapter of an old story that says we should accept poor public schools, especially downtown and where ever large numbers of minority (especially black) students are massed. The appointment of G-J was designed to neutralize any potential opposition to an agenda designed to shut down public schools on the peninsula and sell off the real estate, piece by piece.

The history of public education in SC traces its roots to the 1690’s in Charleston to the very land on which the failing Memminger Elem. School now stands. Despite its long association with support of public education the City of Charleston is now far removed from what more progressive urban communities would call an “education city”. Quality K-12 education (public and private) is low among this region's priorities. The City of Charleston, more than any other local governing body, has long held the key to this agenda.

Real estate deals and tourism has been central to the pretty picture for downtown painted by both P&C and City Hall for more than 30 years. Lots of neighborhood public schools, let alone successful ones, have never been part of the plan. Though wiser planner would have said public schools should have been the keystone to the overall plan to revitalize the historic city.

If schools were important, then and now, then why has one of the nation’s most successful major city mayors not led the charge for great public schools in the heart of this city? It should also be asked, how can you have quality affordable housing without quality affordable schools? What about a livable city without livable schools? Has all of this been a sham?

Anonymous said...

The history of the P&C’s complicity in the demise of our downtown public schools is known and it was not without some notable accomplices. Don’t forget that it was Editor-in-Chief Tom Waring that all but incited the racist mob that descended on his cousin’s house located among the "mansions" on lower Meeting Street in 1950. It was in reaction to US District Court Judge J. Waites Waring’s dissenting opinion in the Clarendon County School Board Case just heard before a three judge panel. (I know, his divorce and marriage was also unpopular among his relatives which didn't help him with the local editor.)

In that case Judge Waring declared for the first time in open court that “separate is not equal”, though he was out voted by the other two judges on a stacked Federal bench. It was widely known, even in 1950, that Judge Waring was favorably impressed with the arguments of a young and skillful attorney hired by NAACP officals out of its Washington and New York offices, Thurgood Marshall. He had already won two other landmark cases in Judge Waring’s court, when Judge Waring was the sole presiding judge. The names of Septima Clark and Herbert Fielding with cases about equal pay and voter rights should come to mind. Each of Judge Waring’s decisions in favor of civil rights was met with editorial derision from both the Evening Post and the News(less) and Courier.

“Cousin Tom” by this time was known to be openly furious and would appear to no longer tolerate “Cousin Waites” on either a personal or public level. “Cousin Tom” used his pen and the local paper to seal the outcome of his cousin’s fate on both the bench and within the neighborhood. Though the events that followed were downplayed in the paper, the news reports and editorials triggered a small riot (South of Broad no less) and the judge’s house was stoned by a raucous mob. It was most “un-Charleston-like” but it was effective. Judge Waring resigned from the Federal bench and was forced to leave his native city. He returned only in death, some 18 years later, when he was buried in his family plot at Magnolia. Emblematic of the ongoing debate, his grave is not far from the monument that was the object of poet Henry Timrod’s celebrated “Ode to Confederate Dead”. Herbert Fielding’s funeral home was in charge of the arrangements for this more pragmatic scion of the old Charleston establishment.

The outcome of this incident, and the court cases which spawned it, were almost never discussed locally, thanks to the P&C (and its predecessor publications). History would record that there was some vindication that is still largely unknown to a majority of the “cousins” who remain in Charleston. The Clarendon County School Board case was ultimately appealed to the US Supreme Court. Most of Judge Waring’s words handed down in his minority opinion would eventually be incorporated into the landmark decision of 1954 that included this appeal along with four other school related cases. We now know this simply as “Brown vs. Board”.

Regarding our public schools, the P&C has been largely AWOL. Fortunately, at least a few downtown Charlestonian, have always appeared at critical moments to raise appropriate questions. Unfortunately, our public school leaders and the local newspaper's management don't seem to appreciate this.

Anonymous said...

The P&C and CCSD both have a less than stellar record in support of quality education for Charleston County. Their existence has almost been in defiance of history and public interests. The P&C and CCSD both share a long record of avoiding responsibility for how public schools got to be this bad in the first place. The City of Charleston’s apparent absence in this debate is also misleading. Several bad decisions occurred involving the city, each receiving editorial support from the local paper. The first was in 1948, when the city gave up direct management of the city’s public schools, and a second occurred in 1967, when the city and seven other county school districts were combined as one under the CCSD umbrella. These were critical moments in a series of events. All were actions designed to avoid or forestall county-wide racial integration by openly abandoning and isolating downtown schools.

The P&C and its ownership were deeply involved at every major turn in this process. It can easily be argued that CCSD would not have come into existence without the approval of the Evening Post corporate board (the owners of the P&C and its predecessors) and its chief editor, Tom Waring. So it is Mr. Adams that would mislead us about the history of public schools in downtown Charleston and the involvement of his former employer, the P&C. It is unmistakable that many of the present deplorable conditions found in our downtown schools are linked to the close relationship that has existed between the P&C and CCSD from the beginning. At least these are the results of that close relationship allowing the needs (and potential) of our historic inner city schools to be ignored.

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Adams would define critics of the poor state of our public schools as whiners and hate-mongers, then how would he describe those who accept (even celebrate) segregated schools in the 21st Century and inequitable educational programs still found throughout Charleston County? It’s now 57 years after a downtown Charlestonian wrote that “separate is not equal” and 53 years after the US Supreme Court unanimously agreed with him.

Ironically, today the grandchildren of those who argued both sides of the civil rights issues before Judge Waring, white and black, are all being equally deprived of a quality public education if they are still living downtown or within the neighborhoods where their grandparents lived in 1950. Under CCSD today, however, they are paying through the nose for a quality public education that few of them are permitted to receive.

Ms. Goodloe-Johnson is only the latest figurehead for a failed bureaucracy that has been supported by the political and business leadership of Charleston for over a half century. It is a system that has deep roots in what was a premeditated and reactionary response to calls for racial desegregation and across the board educational improvement in the 1960’s. This is despite initial promises that CCSD’s formation would bring uniform educational advancement for the region. The people are tired of broken promises and stories of poor schools being someone else’s fault. The irony is that Charleston is now a relatively rich community, so why are our city’s public schools the poorest they have ever been? Maybe the story of corruption in Corpus Christie is a parable that we would be wise to consider.

Where there's this much smoke, Mr. Adams, there's very likely a fire.

Anonymous said...

nice i could make everyone so happy. maybe one day i'll tell you all what i really think. and i have lots of conversations with people who disagree with what's going on at CCSD. i'll be back around in a week or so. we hope to have another buist task force session soon and include a public comment period. please do not think I am unaware of any of the problems at Burke 7-8 or elsewhere. all of these problems were a long time brewing and no one's gonna come in with a quick fix. but a lot of people of good will are trying against some long odds. the school fundung formulas are screwy and we have far too many kids overage for their grade and starting school with little or no foundation. while there are some hate mongers and whiners out there, the huge majority of charleston county folk -- and even baddie and the assorted crazies (myself included) who come here want this thing to work, too. in another lifetime i did a political commentary on WIS-TV and included a lot of satire to get people stirred. that's the fun of the blog and i suspect our hostess is pulling some legs in the interest of strong discourse. a sense of humor is essential in the arenas in which i work. glad i can still stir a response. cheers.

Babbie said...

Makes me glad--when people start attacking the messenger, he or she must be getting some traction for another viewpoint. Just to respond to the first poster--although I have been an administrator, I consider being a teacher to BE at the top. The fact that you consider being a principal or superintendent a move UP signals that you really don't understand education at all.

I'd also like to ask those Fraser parents & posters--what would you be "kissing the ground" for? Having a part-time principal?

My erudite friend who wrote about Judge Waring reminded me of many important events I had forgotten. I do remember in the late 50s & early 60s hearing rumors that the News & Courier wouldn't publish news concerning any black-white trouble but never knew what was really going on. Then as now--how could I?

By the way, the Confederate Monument at Magnolia was not yet erected in 1867 when Timrod wrote his "Ode," which was written for a memorial service. He makes the point in the poem that the wreaths
laid by relatives on the graves are a far better memorial than any monument might later be.

Anonymous said...

Babbie, guess what: District 20 is so "poor" that many of the childern attending school here can't take home textbooks or check out library books. One day the crimes against the children of District 20 will all come out. Jerry, your friends and love interest won't look so good then.

Why are you posting again? Is it because no one has mentioned your girlfriend in a while? Is that kosher? Somehow it doesn't seem appropriate to have Jerry and Janet working together and protecting each other while the ship continues to sink. What about the children? This seems like it is just a game to all of you.

Anonymous said...

Baby haters? What the hell? Wasn't the issue more about the fact that he was married to another woman at the time? Did the post and courier ever print that?

Anonymous said...

Jerry Adams and Janet Rose are two consenting adults. Why shouldn't they have an office romance? Sounds like some of you are a little jealous.........

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes...all of the men on this blog LONG for Janet and the women fantasize about Jerry.
While I appreciate the humor- can we get back to the true issues at hand...PLEASE????

memminger45 said...

You’re correct. Timrod’s poem was actually used on the occasion of the dedication of Confederate graves (sans monuments) at Magnolia Cemetery near Charleston in 1867. The actual monument was erected many years later, when relative prosperity had returned nearly a generation after the Civil War.

I agree with you. Education administrators are not teachers who have moved up. As a retired educator who voluntarily left CCSD in the 1970's in order to teach in a less volatile neighboring school district, I have known many teachers in Charleston County who anguished over the trade offs they would be required to make when they considered leaving the classroom for an administrative job, all in the name of “professional advancement”.

Likewise, administrators with extensive resumes but who have limited classroom experience or who are unable to communicate effectively with teachers and parents are a major problem hampering school districts nationwide. A little empathy, genuine understanding and sincerity on their part might actually make these administrative mercenaries a lot more tolerable to the locals (incl. teachers, principals, parents and ultimately the taxpayers who employ them). The professional life expectancy in these positions might then become a lot longer than just three to four years.

Anonymous said...

I have researched the parking fines for CCSD members and found some with over a thousand bucks in fines and some are being sought by CCPD for bootinfng and seizure. When I told the PC they said thats personal info not news. wait until you see the chair persons total on her two mercedes suv's

Anonymous said...

Although parking fines and CCSD cell phones for personal use may seem petty, they add up to misuse of public office. When you multiply that by the size of CCSD and the number of people participating in the abuse, you're talking hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. Then they go to the legislature and ask for budget relief. Who's minding the store? What about the $80,000 engineering bill (just for design work, not actual construction) to design a surface parking lot for 50 cars at James Simons? That would imply the entire lot cost nearly a million bucks. Sounds like a very padded construction contract to me.

Anonymous said...

What was the name of the firm receiving the insane amount of fee for that simple task?

Anonymous said...

The name of the firm may be relevant and it may not. But what IS relevant is the lack of checks and balances in the person approving these ridiculous "bids."
Isn't that Bill Lewis? Who's watching him?

Beth Bakeman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth Bakeman said...

I'm from Seattle and I want to know the straight scoop about Maria Goodloe-Johnson.

Tell us about her management style, the opinion of people who work with her, and the way she has handled tough situations in your district.

You can either post your insights about Maria directly on our blog at Meet. Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson
or send them to me
via e-mail.