Monday, December 15, 2008

CCSD: Shaft District 20 and CSMS in One Blow

An elephant never forgets. Nor do Superintendent Nancy McGinley of the Charleston County Schools and her supporters on the Board of Trustees. They had the Charter School for Math and Science rammed down their throats (so to speak) and, despite their machinations, finally situated on the Rivers campus.

Even as you read this blog, CCSD is paying its lawyer to protest CSMS's right to reside on space owned by CCSD. And these so-called charter-loving folks have declared themselves above the law when it comes to considering future charters.

So it should hardly come as a surprise that all three options under the School Redesign proposals include putting CSMS into the Archer building, thus giving an elementary school building to what will become a 6-12 school. Furthermore, Archer will hold only 280 students; CSMS plans to enroll 480. That should be a good fit. The extra 200 can sit on the grass outside.

Let's face it: if the new Board members go along with the majority of the old (and so far they show no signs--other than Kandrac--of being other than cheerleaders for McGinley), they can ram this travesty through. They have the votes. All supporters of CSMS can do is make as much noise as possible and round up its own lawyers. What ever happened to the Office of Civil Rights, anyway?

It must be galling for McGinley and friends to see an integrated and successful downtown school arise after CCSD has managed to gut all previous ones.

Even beyond that travesty, after treating Charleston Progressive Academy, an erstwhile magnet school now in the Courtenay building, as the poor stepchild for years, McGinley et al will close it. That, my friends, is another piece of the pattern revealed in District 1 and District 4. CPA isn't McGinley's child, so why not jettison it willy-nilly, even though it is one of the most successful elementary schools downtown. As I stated previously, it's all about the numbers (and I don't mean financial ones).

"Seismic upgrade"for Courtenay, indeed. Does that make sense for new buildings? Yes. For the old ones? No. It's just another way to spend taxpayer dollars and keep cronies employed. Furthermore, let the Montessori school find space in Mt. Pleasant or West Ashley. Or how about on John's Island? I understand it has some excess capacity.

No, here's a better plan.

MERGE CPA with Buist
  • Any child now attending either school who is on grade level will remain; others will return to the schools in their attendance districts. Brilliant, isn't it?
  • That way, CCSD will have kept its promise to CPA's parents when it designated it a magnet school.
  • Kept its promise. Its promise.
  • This merger should be much less expensive than the options proposed by CCSD.
Redraw attendance lines for Burke High School!
  • Include those parts of Mt. Pleasant and West Ashley that are closer to Burke than to Wando or West Ashley High Schools;
  • Keep the eighth grade at Burke so that eighth-graders will make a smoother transition into high school; those prepared can take world languages and algebra at the high-school level;
  • Add the technological and vocational classes to Burke that its parents so highly desire.
Make all elementary schools K-7!
  • Redraw lines where necessary to include students from Mt. Pleasant and West Ashley to keep buildings full;
  • Keep Fraser and James Simons open; their space will be needed for the downtown students who will return once CCSD gets serious about improvement; otherwise, Bill Lewis will come hat in hand to ask for more millions to build schools before these students are out of high school.
Look what can be accomplished with a minimum of fuss and money. Oh, I forgot. That's not what McGinley and Meyers have in mind.


Anonymous said...

Your plan makes too much sense and you just described District 20 before CCSD started messing with it in 1968.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) for all their sincere diligence, is still a political creature with a life cycle tied to the election calendar. As one administration heads for the door, the hired hands are clearing their desks. The new administration after January 20 will have its own people cover the old wood with new paperwork. You can probably bet there will be new complaints from Charleston among them.

Anonymous said...

The more things change, the more they remain the know the line.

Just like it is here, the saga continues in Seattle (and probably a lot of other places in the US with a broken public school system).

This from the SaveSeattleSchools blog shouldn't surprise anyone here. It doesn't offer much relief from our misguided leadership also trying to sell us a used school closure plan. The Seattle writer says:

"Why must Maria Goodloe-Johnson be so cold? The cold, distant attitude might be okay if you're making strong, clear choices that are smart and logical. But this enormous and complicated proposal, coupled with the utter disregard for public opinion (public hearings are merely "required by law") just makes her seem downright mean. Is she really this callous?

"At least if she was doing it out of warmth and compassion - a sort of "tough love" approach - then we might be willing to put some trust in her. But there's not a word about how this will benefit the kids - only the budget. She claimed at a board meeting that this closure process is not fun. I suspect her job will never be fun if she keeps throwing Seattle's kids around like trash in a dumpster."

...or as one D20 parents said last night, packed and shipped like clothes in a suitcase.