Monday, May 04, 2009

Unnamed Schools Feed Alice Birney's Problems

Pardon me if I seem to harp on the effects of NCLB testing and ratings, but the reading program at Alice Birney Middle School touted in Monday's P & C would not be in place today if it were not for the school's multiple years of failing grades. [See You Can't Believe They Can't Read.', the second in a series on illiteracy in Charleston County.] CCSD would be going its merry way, mostly satisfying the middle-class suburbs and ignoring the poor.

The efforts of Principal Carol Beckmann-Bartlett and school psychologist Amber Brundage to remedy a train wreck in the making are admirable. According to the school, "Some Birney students can read only 20 [words per minute]. Some students don't know the difference between consonant or vowel sounds. Others concentrate so hard on understanding individual words that they don't understand what they've read at the end of a passage." That the two agreed the nonsensical approach of ignoring the obvious must end is to be applauded; however, why weren't such efforts made earlier in the education of these students?

The article misleadingly quotes national statistics on proficient readers to show that the school's problem is a national one. We're not dealing with proficient here, just satisfactory! If the problem is so widespread, let's see the statistics on Cario Middle.

Annoyingly, Courrege's article neglects to name the elementary schools that feed into Alice Birney. Is that too sensitive? Why wasn't it appropriate to go back to those principals to ask what happened to reading in their schools? Were they informed that students must be administratively promoted? Is that going to be the next installment? It should be!

Again, we have students who have been labeled as learning disabled who simply have an education deficit. Are you angry yet? And who believes lack of money is the problem?


Steve said...

Bravo! The P&C also ran a story about a college pitcher who is not doing so well but they DID NOT go back to his high school or Little League coaches to ask why!!! OMG! BIAS! What is the P&C covering up!?!?!?

Anonymous said...

For gosh sake, 10:26, that's baseball. I think we have a right to know where this much more serious problem when kids get ripped off for life. But then to you these people are probably just chambermaids and busboys. Let's keep those minimum wage employees coming.

Anonymous said...

It's not "just baseball"! This is about the P&C's obvious bias in protecting some people. The owner of this blog is really on to something here. Your dangerous dismissal of this important issue is troubling.

Anonymous said...

You are so right, 10:26. Why didn't the PC writer identify AC Corcoran, Midland Park,Dunston, and Ladson Elementary as the feeder schools? These elementary schools have problems of their own, and one of them is that the reading problems for Birney do start in these schools. These schools need to be under scrutiny also. As a retired teacher, I can truthfully say that some of the problems are not because of "bad" teachers, but often there isn't enough "home responsibility". How is that going to change, though? The demographics of the above mentioned elementary schools are so different from say a school like Cario. Therein lies a good bit of the problem with why so many of Birney's children can't read.

Anonymous said...

I hear McGinley's on her way out. Way over her head.