Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Other Shoe Drops on Five CCSD Schools

Anticlimactic. That's when the final result doesn't match up to the sturm und drang that preceded it. Was Charleston County Schools Superintendent Nancy McGinley's aim "to frighten the audience or imbue them with extremes of emotion," as the the nineteenth-century literature of sturm und drang attempted? If so, she has succeeded.

Now in the calmer aftermath, what have the Superintendent and School Board accomplished?
  • They've convinced rural schools that their days are numbered;
  • They've temporarily taken the focus from "seismic upgrades";
  • They've convinced many taxpayers of their plan to continue to sell land and buildings strategically to pay for operating expenses;
  • They've spent tens of thousands on facilitators for meetings;
  • They've proved that "transparency" is not in their dictionary.
I'm not going to shed any crocodile tears over the closure of the middle schools--McClellanville, Brentwood, and Schroder Middle. Middle schools are a form of educational torture that rates right down there with water-boarding.

CCSD has also telegraphed the merger of Fraser and Sanders-Clyde so many times in the last few years (does anyone dare to bring forward the name of the former "joint" principal?) that its being closed comes as no surprise--it's been set up for it. Let's do keep an eye on what happens to that piece of land where it sits, folks.

And Charlestown Academy seems to have had the least vocal support from residents of North Charleston, even as its seventh and eighth grades have excelled. Squeaky wheels, etc.

Maybe one of you can shed light on the murky process of how these closures will solve the school budget's shortfalls.


Anonymous said...

Curious thing is McGinley didn't meet or communicate with any of the groups that did submit an alternative plan. It looks like she didn't bother to read any of them either. Like it's being suggested, she may have created a sense of fear just so she could offer a lighter version as if to say it could have been a lot worse.

One St. Johns parent has already figured out that their close call this time may be short lived. This means they can just as well become a target again in the near future. There is no security or confidence in CCSD's leadership.

The members of the county board should ask how this "new" version of McGinley's plan actually relates to the plans each of the 3 or 4 constituent communities submitted. I'd be surprised if they did this publicly, if only to restore some level of credibility to the process...which almost no one feels was credible.

The downtown group has already called the entire process a sham....not so much because almost none of their proposals were included, but because the administration made no effort to discuss the alternatives with representatives of the community. Forget CCSD sharing any information.

Anonymous said...

BTW, exactly how much is McGinley's plan going to save CCSD? What is the net savings? Unless she tells us up front how much the moves and closures will cost in addition to any savings, she will be only giving the public partial information. So what else is new with McGinley and CCSD's upper management?

Anonymous said...

They are building Jerry Zucker Middle School of "Science" now on Dorchester road. It was to replace Brentwood anyway.That hasn't come up in any of the articles in the PC

Anonymous said...

oh yeah
go to

PE Gone for elementary schools even though it is state law.

Day porters gone

so much double speak we are still trying to see

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of misrepresentations in CCSD's public relations campaign running along side the school remake fiasco. (It’s sort of like making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Just describe it like you want them to see it, not like it is.)

CCSD outsourced an 80 school maintenance contract a long time ago. That explains why our newest schools look 50 years old. They pay the contractors big time. The contractors in turn pay their employees next to nothing, no benefits, no health care. The turn over is crazy and the workers get replaced almost monthly. How can anyone take pride in their work or have loyalty for the schools they work to maintain?

Outsource the day porters and it will only get worse. The other stuff is misleading, too. CCSD did away with recess long ago for all but a few "special" schools where the principals don't fear for their jobs. (Got to study for those tests, you know.) Just ask any elementary school teacher who has to find a way for wired up 10 and 11 year olds to blow off steam without leaving the classroom. PE doesn't even exist, except on paper, at some schools. And we wouldn't want to upset the string section of our school orchestras or the annual up fits to the athletic programs. Tell that to the sections of the county that are being asked to give up their schools and bus their kids out, just so the "special" schools don't have to cut their "special" programs. St. Johns escaped closure (this year), but their athletic stadium hasn't seen a decent renovation in 30 years.

Don't be taken by the threat to cut teaching positions or increase class size. CCSD has already done that. How do you think they could make the false claim they had no teacher vacancies last fall? They just did away with the vacant positions, reassigned a few teachers and upped class sizes from 28 to 35.

There is no transparency. Victory in the classroom is a lie. Chris Collins may have it right. This makeover is more about hiding the numbers, not fixing CCSD's broken learning process that will continue to leave so many kids behind.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing honest about this whole exercise. The superintendent with the fewest failing schools wins! Nobody's counting the number of failing kids.

McGinley is so caught up in her agenda she wouldn't know the truth if it hit her in the face. No one is grading her on that anyway.