Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Put the Edublob on a Diet in CCSD!

The Post and Courier finally caught up with this blog on Wednesday regarding CCSD's payments to outside consultants, i.e., the edublob. [See District Paid $25K to Consulting Firm] The discovery concerns money paid to the hapless consultant who bore the brunt of McClellanville's fury--over its inability to be heard at one of Superintendent McGinley's so-called public input meetings. Not that I'm sorry for the consultant. Or McGinley either.

A commenter on the on-line version of the article sums up the situation quite nicely:

Nearly every "public hearing" I attend these days is being run by some group of hired consultants. They pay some people to talk. They hand out forms, which we fill out. We almost never see the tabulated results. We sit down at little tables in "focus groups" to fill out more forms. We don't see the other group's forms. The one thing that never happens is that we get to stand up and say what we think and our neighbors get to hear it. There isn't going to be a "Give me liberty or give me death" oratorical moment where a leader emerges from the community. They don't want new leaders, they want to stay in control.

The entire purpose of all of this is to keep representative democracy, free speech and republican government from working. It insulates the decision makers and eventually wears the public down. It is a corrosive attack on the First Amendment, free speech, peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government, the core function of our public process.

I'm all for lectures, discussions, focus groups and surveys, but in the end the rubber needs to hit the road where the public is heard. Those people in McClellanville were right to rebel. We owe them a lot for derailing the process. We should rebel more often.

Being Broad-trained urban superintendents, McGinley and her predecessor Goodloe-Johnson learned this process well. In fact, in Seattle right now, the process is mucking up Seattle's problems in much the same way, closing schools without a clear plan for quality in sight.

Oh, I know: "Excellence is our standard." Explain how that dovetails to the seventh-and-eighth graders at Charlestowne Academy who are forced into failing schools from a successful one or to seventh-and-eighth graders at Charleston Progressive Academy who must proceed from a building (Courtenay) that accommodates middle-schoolers to one that doesn't or, again, to a failing school, or both.


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