Wednesday, November 19, 2008

McGinley's Predictable Reaction to Candace-the-Mother

In very nice words, of course, an op-ed piece by Charleston County School District Superintendent Nancy McGinley informs Candace-the-Mother that she doesn't know what she's talking about. [See Five-year Climb: From 'Below Average' to 'Excellent' in Wednesday's P & C.] Perhaps McGinley is worried about too many copycats?
  • "Five years ago, our state improvement rating was "Below Average." This year, it is projected to be "Excellent" — the highest improvement rating the state can award, and the first Excellent rating the district has earned since report cards began in 2001." Try not to count those chickens before they're hatched, even if the School Board has already given you a raise for this "projected" rating.
  • ". . . Five years ago, there was great variation in what children learned from school to school. Today, we have a high-standards, district-wide curriculum that spells out precisely what teachers need to teach in each subject and grade level." Surely McGinley knows the difference between teaching and learning! Talk to any teacher.
  • ". . . All of these elementary school principals — along with Cecelia Rogers at the Charleston Development Academy on the West Side — are working tirelessly with community partners to move schools forward and give parents the kinds of attractive education choices they can be proud of. They will never go back to where we were five years ago. The most attractive "education choice" is still mastering a basic curriculum.
  • ". . . Downtown and all across the county, we are making the goal of a high-quality public education for every child — the heart of our democracy — a reality in Charleston. I invite Ms. Capers — and any parent interested in their children growing up prepared to succeed in a diverse, competitive world — back into our schools to see what a difference five years can make." The improvements are so great that today Ms. Capers's child would not be able to see the difference? Really?
One of the unsolicited comments on this blog provides a relevant counterpoint to this paean of praise:
"There are capable teachers in the downtown schools, and there are students who could be equal to any student East of the Cooper; but every day, they have a classroom in which one, two, or three students are able to create chaos and no one does anything about it. The administrator tells the teacher, "Have you called the parents?" The teacher says yes, and the principal sends the teacher to see someone else who is successful in a classroom East of the Cooper. Meanwhile, the one, two, or three students are undermining the classroom because we have to accommodate them. The only real accommodation they need is some discipline, bottom line, and I don't mean paddling. I mean that when a student goes to the principal's office, [it should be] like the old days. There is not an investigation on who was right, the child or teacher. Bottom line, the adult is being paid and not the child. Today we have put the children on an equal footing with the teacher. We must hear the child's point of view, and then we decide if the teacher was right or wrong. What ever happened to the thought that the adult in the classroom is right? Children today know how to work the system so that they are not ultimately held accountable for their actions until it is to late.

"Now, on the other hand, a principal tries to do the right thing, and downtown tells them that they cannot do it because it will lower the marks for the school in the ratings game. So downtown creates a document that looks like they are addressing the issues of a failing school, but it is a paper tiger. It looks fantastic in theory, but when theory hits the pavement, it gets run over.

"And then those who want to destroy the public school system use the negative school press to push their political points, and at the end of the day, the adults do not lose. They go back to their nice homes. The only losers are the children because they are growing up and not getting the education they deserve.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like Julie Hussey is ghost writing for Nancy McGinley. After single handedly scuttling the IB proposal for Memminger, is she now on the CCSD's public relations payroll?

Anonymous said...

I liked the editorial in yesterday's P&C. What a refreshing change at the newpaper. They aren't buying the superintendent's claims either. It takes more than hype to turn below average into excellent. This mother knows more about what's going on than the people running the district.

Anonymous said...

This writer has part of the problem pegged right but she makes an assumption which isn't always true.

".....those who want to destroy the public school system use the negative school press to push their political points...."

That may be true for some of the anti "government" school extremists, but it's possible many of those who have been pointing out the Emperor's lack of clothes are sincere supporters of public education. They want good public schools for all and are just deeply disappointed when they learn of the same double standards the writer has pointed out. Many parents and good teachers have run up against too many broken promises. They have tried making suggestions for improvements only to be ignored. The only thing left is to go public.

There comes a point when patiently waiting for improvements is over and active protest is the only thing left. Solutions are still being offered and the administration is still stonewalling. The administrators say they are engaging the public but that's not true.

The writer wants students to accept responsibility for their actions. It would help if the administration sets an example by doing it first.

Look at the big picture and then ask who is really selling out our kids and for what. Very few of the critics and whistle blowers hate public schools or don't care about the kids.

Yes, I am a critic. I'm also an opponent of public officials who don't serve the public as well as they should. That's not a political agenda unless corrupt politicians who do have political agendas want to make it look that way. Compare what these leaders say about public schools. Then look at what they've done when the press isn't watching or they aren't running for reelection. You can include some preachers in our church pulpits as part of this group of double talking politicians.

Sign me as a supporter of good public schools and an opponent of people keep bad ones down with poor leadership.