Friday, June 01, 2007

Op-Ed Pages: Where CCSD Cronies Opine

Todays' P & C Op-Ed page showcases a complaint about CCSD's $77,000 meeting to discuss utilizing the vacant Rivers Middle School building.

Oops! Sorry, I didn't mean to mislead you--the complaint wasn't about the ridiculous COST of the meeting.

Here in his own words--

One-sided input on charter school
Friday, June 1, 2007
The Post and Courier's lead editorial of May 27 urged the Charleston
County School District to house the proposed Charleston Charter School for Math and Science on the former Rivers Middle School campus, and did so under the headline: 'Encourage community input by advancing charter school.' The writer noted the significant and diverse attendance at a recent public forum held by the school district at Burke High School to discuss the issue and noted that the proposal with the most support was for exclusive placement of the charter school on the former Rivers Middle School campus.

So far so good, Rev. Darby, although you make the reader think that "most support" might be a bare majority when the majority was overwhelming.

I attended the meeting and since have spoken with attendees who don't support the proposal and who left the meeting feeling it was geared to achieve the outcome noted above.

Surely you jest! You mean that Harvey Gantt and Maria Goodloe-Johnson engineered groups to support the charter high school? What planet are you on?

Based upon those conversations,

with an unknown number of unnamed persons

I urge the school district to carefully consider its options and gain more objective and balanced input

that would be advocating NOT supporting the charter high school in any way whatsoever

before reaching a final decision.

not to allow the charter school into Rivers Middle.

I agree that community input is crucial and would make some strong suggestions to the school district in seeking community input. The first suggestion is to be clear in intent. The publicity leading up to the public forum indicated that it would be a time for community input but made no mention of the process

You mean that the "process" of input needs to be spelled out in advance to get some community members to show up? Don't tell me CCSD has never used this process before.

or that there would be any kind of vote on any proposed options.

That's called input. Probably the most objective kind to come from such a meeting. Would you be complaining if the vote had gone as you wished?

Had that critical information been shared, it's very likely that many more citizens would have attended to express their opinions by voting.

Face it: there is no enthusiasm in the community for your point of view.

What happened instead was the equivalent of holding a mayoral candidates' forum and then informing those in attendance that the next mayor would be elected by a vote at the end of the forum.

No. The vote did NOT decide who the next mayor would be, sorry, what would be done with the Rivers building. An equivalent scenario would be a candidates' forum followed by a vote to be considered as another piece of information before APPOINTING a mayor.

The second suggestion is that preparatory information be shared in an even-handed and public manner. The five options presented were not widely publicized prior to the forum.

They were if you paid attention.

I noted when listening to the group reports, however, that those who support using the Rivers campus for the charter school seemed to express the same pros and cons on the proposed choices in each of their groups.

Maybe because those pros and cons made sense to a great number of attendees, and charter-school supporters have had months to marshal their facts?

Since four of those choices were only presented on the night of the forum, it made me wonder if the Charter School's supporters were privy to information that was not made available to all interested parties.

Oh, that's right. It's a conspiracy. The charter-school supporters have a secret line to Goodloe-Johnson. She has only pretended to be against them every step of the way, just for your benefit!

The third suggestion is to see that facilitators in future discussion groups are familiar with the full scope of the issue.

"The full scope of the issue"--being unnamed, of course.

Some of the facilitators were not, which led to needless and time consuming debates on 'side issues' rather than on the merits of each proposed option.

Who decided what the unnamed "full scope of the issue" was, Rev. Darby? You?

The goal of facilitation, in fact, seemed to be not to prompt earnest dialogue, but to reach a speedy end without having to face pointed questions.

Sorry, but isn't that ALWAYS the goal of CCSD's public meetings?

The afore stated concerns and eventually predictable outcome made many of those who attended the forum feel that it was an exercise in futility.

Many whom I spoke to

Such as Dot Scott

felt that our mayor and other political and business leaders, who wrote letters endorsing the charter school placement on the Rivers campus, simply made up their minds to make that happen and that the forum was crafted only to provide some shred of justification.

There being no OTHER justification?

In that light, the promises regarding the well-being of Burke High School

Haven't you fully supported the district's treatment of Burke High School?

sadly seemed like the kind of window dressing that's usually presented before questionable decisions are made to tamp down dissent.

I assume you meant "window dressing to tamp down dissent," one of CCSD's [and the school board's] greatest talents.

As a Charleston resident of eight years standing,

Well, Rev. Darby, you had me fooled. I assumed you were a leader from the long-benighted downtown communities ill-served by CCSD. I never realized you were an outsider, not having attended CCSD schools yourself! And you may live in Charleston, but don't you live in West Ashley? Did YOU send your children to Distraict 20 schools?

I won't at all be surprised to see the proposed Charleston Charter School for Math and Science placed in the former Rivers Middle School building. I've learned that when the powers that be here set the table, they usually get their way.

That would be the "powers that be" almost everywhere, not just here, Rev. Darby. But it depends on who you think the "powers that be" are. Are you implying that the mayor and business leaders run CCSD?

I still hope, however, that the school district will hold another forum with clearly stated intent, proper sharing of information and well prepared facilitators.

Are you suggesting that Harvey Gantt's expertise, for which he was paid $77,000, was inadequate? Why are his name and that of Goodloe-Johnson not mentioned in your piece? Weren't they responsible for the meeting?

One supporter of the charter school's placement on the Rivers campus frankly stated that her concern was a matter of trust in the school district.

Who wouldn't agree with that? Oh, I guess Buist parents.

I share her concern, but from a slightly different angle. For those without influence and privilege in our community, trust is a rare commodity because of past decisions that only benefit certain segments of our community.

Right. That would be, for example, Buist admissions and resource policies versus those of Charleston Progressive. You're confused about who "those without influence and privilege in our community" include.

When we get beyond that sad trend

i.e., ingrained policy

and make decisions for the good of the entire community

Now you're impugning the motives of charter-school supporters, black and white, as not for the good of the whole community.

and do so with clear intentions,

Again, what could be clearer than hoping to improve District 20 choices for all of its residents? Or are you suggesting that the real motive is to have an integrated high school on the penninsula? Horrors!

then 'community input' will be a valuable tool for progress and not simply a cursory, one-sided affair.

The Rev. Joseph A. Darby is senior pastor of Morris Brown African Methodist Episcopal Church.

and a product of Columbia schools and vice-chairman of the Charleston branch of the NAACP, which clearly prefers that District 20 schools remain segregated.


ex post carrier said...

Wow, Babbie, you really called the Reverend out on this one. It was very obvious to me, too, that he went out of his way to avoid mentioning Harvey Gantt or Maria Goodloe by name. He all but spelled out the tired old boogey man (white devil) story. As soon as Nancy McGinley takes over and attempts to do anything that doesn't profit him, he'll give the devil a face and name.

Jim French, editor of The Chronicle, has already warned his readers of this practice. He wrote recently of 'Tricksology' within the black community and called what some like Darby are pushing is the "Trickster's" agenda. Good for you for revealing Joe Darby and Dot Scott as the manipulative charlatans that they are.

Anonymous said...

In Saturday's P&C we read on page one and above the fold, that high dollar contractors contribute to a party for the outgoing superintendent. This doesn't pass the smell test according to Ravenel. So he doesn't go. P&C reporter accepts invitation, but asks tough (and very valid) questions. Her questions are rebuffed rudely by Goodloe-Johnson who presumably chose to invite the press in the first place. Finally, some integrity. Well done and thanks to both Arthur and Diette.

had enough said...

Thanks, Babbie, for typing what so many of us thought when we read that ridiculous commentary by the lovely Rev. Darby. How DOES he get those spreads? Hmmm...can anyone help me out?

Anonymous said...

Wow - the Post and Courier woke me up this morning! Great job, Diette! I didn't even need my coffee this morning.

Anonymous said...

Should we be thanking Babbie for the Charleston Progressive issue and the Goodloe-Johnson party getting coverage in the Post and Courier? Maybe if Ms. Courrege would just write a bit more about the corruption at Buist! What about a story on Janet Rose?

Babbie said...

I don't think Diette has the power to make those decisions, but the editors do. I wondered myself this morning if they had been following my blog!

Anonymous said...

Loved your thoughts on my P and C op-ed - when I make anyone angry enough to go to the trouble of picking apart what I said line by line to put their own spin on it, I knmow that I struck a nerve that has a tinge of truth to it. Be blessed,keep on blogging and whining, and rest assured that I'll do my best to tick you off again.

Joe Darby