Saturday, November 15, 2008

Replace Joe with "Candace-the-Mother"

If she didn't exist, we probably could have theorized her existence, but what Candace Capers discovered about elementary education in downtown Charleston bears repeating--in fact, merits becoming a symbol of the failures of the system, a system that fails those with the most meager resources.

Whoever introduced reporter Diette Courrege to Ms. Capers is owed a debt of gratitude (I have my own candidates for this person, but I'll let you think about it.). Not only did Saturday's P & C decide the story merited front-page news, but Courrege wrote it with nary a comment from any educrat in the Charleston County School District. That must be a first! [See A Mother's Sacrifice. Photo from P & C online.]

Gleaning facts from the article leaves the following items revealing CCSD's failures, both past and present, and Capers's endurance:
  • Capers herself finished the eighth-grade, but at 25 she is unable to assist a third-grader with a math problem;
  • Her 11-year-old daughter "reads books to her that she can't read," a situation that reveals that when Capers finished the eighth grade in downtown Charleston (presumably in 1996 or 1997), she was not reading on a sixth-grade level. Her chances of succeeding in high school were minimal at best;
  • Even with this inadequate background, Capers recognized that in 2003 students in the first grade at Sanders-Clyde (our infamous model school) were not learning; unlike many downtown parents, she was able to see the difference because her child had been educated for two years in Mt. Pleasant--and her child saw the difference;
  • Capers managed to negotiate the system to transfer that child and Capers's subsequent children back to schools in Mt. Pleasant, although what basis she used is unclear, as are many transfers unclear to the general public; apparently the reason she used precludes her children from getting transportation from the district.
What excuses will Superintendent McGinley and cronies make for this revealing tragedy? That things are getting better? Tell that to MiShawna Moore's victims.

I do have one bone to pick with Courrege, however. The article cites the anonymous statistic that about 1000 students resident on the peninsula travel to outside public and private schools. Source, please? Does that include magnets? Is the figure realistic? What about home schoolers? How many are elementary students? How do we account for all of the students bused into the peninsula to non-magnet schools?

One statistic. We need more reliable information.


West Ashley said...

Well said. One thing is certain. As long as CCSD withholds data about our schools, downtown parents will continue to meet and share what they know with each other. Nothing works better to unite people from different backgrounds against a common enemy than the realization that all are being cheated by the same enemy.

This comes from a reliable source. While comparing notes about what CCSD is doing and failing to do, a downtown parent met and heard the story of an uptown parent. With the story this morning, the rest of us know what an increasing number of D20 residents have been learning and discussing for years.

If a different and improved transportation system comes out of this story, then we all win. Complaining can be the mother of solutions, too.

Anonymous said...

What a brave woman. She tried with Sanders Clyde and was once again betrayed by CCSD. Is it true that 4 buses go from Mt Plesant/ Sullivan's Island to Buist? What's wrong with Mt Pleasant schools? I'm sure they are just as good as Buist.

Those children deserve more from CCSD. How about people just going to elementary school near home? Cancel out all magnet programs and transfers. All the schools would get better. CCSD would then not be able to get away with neglecting James Simmons, Mitchell, Memmenger, Fraser, Charleston Progressive and Sanders Clyde.

Why not give Mt Pleasant their own Buist and leave the downtown Buist for downtown children? They are getting the shaft.

Anonymous said...

This woman is has not sacrificed anything and she is not brave. Her children are the brave ones. They have to deal with a mother who was not ready to have them on any level. Yes I am happy that she understands now the importance of education. But also I feel she is being used by those who want to political damage the public school system. The problem she exposed in the article was already know to everyone except those who want to bury the head in the sand. Again, I am happy that she understands how important education is, but why was she not more responsible in her private life by keeping her legs closed until she could emotional and materially provide for her children.

I wonder about how this woman was as a child. Was she the student in the classroom years ago who thought they knew everything and when her teachers try to get her to focus. She continued to disrupt the classroom? And now the seeds show sowed have finally matured as plants and she has a poor harvest and she wants to cry foul. Why did she not graduate from high school or get her GED? Did Charleston County not have a policy or program for unwed mothers. After the first child, why did she not live a more responsible life? Why did she continue to have more children when she was obviously not able to take care of the first one.

The only true victims in this story are the children and they have to go to school every morning with the thought they are not living with her and how does that affect them. I do not feel for this woman. She made her bed, but her children did not ask to lay in it. Why don't we hear about what she is trying to do to get her life straight. But she can afford a cellphone calling plan. Is she in an adult high school program trying to get her GED or enough credits to graduate from high school. It is great that people are helping her, but there is a part of me that it does not sit well. She has lived an irresponsible life and now she wants us to feel sorry for her. I can't feel that for her, but for her children I do.

As far as transportation, CCSD has to provide bus transportation for those parents who have worked within the system. Granted this woman made the right choices with her her first child being in school. The school system did not have to transport her child to Mt. Pleasant and she did what she had to do to get her child a good education. But with no child left behind, the school system has to provide transportation to those who have worked within the system, getting a legal transfer. I bet this woman's children have a Mt. Pleasant home address and not a downtown one and this is why she cannot get bus transportation for her children.

There are capable teachers in the downtown schools and there are students who could be equal to any student East of the Cooper; but everyday, 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 to 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 the fact that when a student goes to the principal's office. It is 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 as the teacher. We must hear the child's point of view and then we decide if the teacher was right or wrong. What ever happen 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 accountability for their action 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 ran 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.