Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Seabrook Weighs in on CCSD Plans

Bona fides. Authentic credentials. That's what makes Luther Seabrook's op-ed for CCSD in Tuesday's P & C worth contemplating. How insulting to Seabrook that Butzon's remarks received equal treatment!

After pointing out that District 23 actually had plans on file that fit into and enhance Superintendent McGinley's now revised School Redesign plan, Seabrook kindly does not point out that much hot air and grief (not to speak of $25,ooo in consultant fees) could have been avoided if McGinley had looked to his district for ideas in the first place. So I will.

According to Seabrook,

Anyone may go to the files in the District 23 office. There they will find an unfinished plan for the reorganization of the district schools — a plan that fits into Superintendent McGinley's proposal.

The plan caps three of the four elementary schools at the third grade, giving Pre-K to third-grade teachers the responsibility to assure, by any means necessary, that students are functional readers before they move through the gate to the middle schools.

How like CCSD! Lots of plans developed over the years, often at a hefty cost, but most lie ignored, languishing in a closet or file somewhere.

Seabrook also requests that the district pour its most effective teachers into a school to show just how much difference that one act would make to "underachieving" students. As he writes,

If we believe that teachers cause learning and that competent and effective teachers will radically improve learning for our neglected students, then why haven't we done so?

Putting together one school with the most competent teachers in the district would not negatively affect a single school in our vast district. If successful, what will it teach us?

The plan sounds sensible--with one caveat: the curriculum. Schools must teach a sound core curriculum that allows those students who have developed the skills to continue to advance at the same pace as their more advantaged peers.


Anonymous said...

Was Mr. Seabrook the candidate who dropped out so Ruth Jordan could when that West Ashley seat on the board a couple of years ago?
It's too bad we don't have him on our county board.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Babbie is pushing something like Core Knowledge. That was tried once in (not by) CCSD: about a decade ago by the 'real' Charlestowne Academy. The result: spectacular achievement -- a close 2nd to Buist. CCSD's response? They destroyed the school. A district can easily do that to a magnet; it's harder against a charter.

Anonymous said...

That was another Seabrook who entered and then bowed out of the school board race in 2006. I think that was Leroy Seabrook who was (is?) a member of the St. Pauls Constituent District Board. The author of the recent op-ed is Dr. Luther Seabrook. Yes, he is highly qualified. He's gone full circle in his career as an educator. A native of downtown Charleston, he eventually served as a teacher and senior administrator in the New York City schools. He was for a time the superintendent of the Harlem "constituent" school district. (Don't believe it when CCSD's hired hands tell you constituent districts don't exist anywhere else. How do you think NYC manages so many different "constituencies"?) Dr. Seabrook probably has far more experience and insight than anyone on this county's current school board or in Dr. McGinley's office.

Babbie said...

Yes, I do believe that the Core Knowledge curriculum or its equivalent is as much needed as skills instruction. I didn't know that about Charlestowne Academy, but I believe that Charleston Development Academy is using at least part of it at this time. Seems to be working, too.