Thursday, December 31, 2009

Whatever Happened to LaRon Dendy--2009

Back when I started this blog, I focused on weak reporting of a diploma mill for high school athletes up in Pickens. In particular, LaRon Dendy, a potential Clemson basketball player caught my attention.

Things didn't go exactly as planned for Dendy. [See previous posts,Forward to Pickens!, What Ever Happened to--LaRon Dendy?] Last heard of, in August 2007, he was headed to a junior college in Iowa to attempt to beef up his academic prowess while playing.

Thursday's P&C article about the breaks athletes get in admissions [Admission Breaks for Athletes Widespread] made me wonder how his story turned out. According to this AP story,

"Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips said the university's admissions department conducts 'thorough research' in determining whether prospective athletes will have an opportunity to be successful students.

"'The ultimate measure is how kids are performing,' Phillips said. 'Are you bringing in young people that have a chance to be successful [student athletes]? That is occurring at Clemson.'"

As it happens, Dendy never made it to Clemson. Instead he is a junior at Iowa State University, doing well but not yet a starter. See LaRon Dendy for a summary of his first semester at Iowa State.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Crush the Infamous Tax Deal in CCSD

The Beach Co. has had its way with the Charleston County Council [see Council OKs 1,285-home Development in Wednesday's P&C].

Now is the time for taxpayers to wake up to crush any tax deal in the making with the Charleston County School Board.

See CCSD's Selling Potential Millions to achieve the necessary sense of outrage.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SC's Stupidity Rides Again on Tax "System"

Was ever a law passed that so clearly was ultra-idiotic from the very beginning, one that almost immediately began to show its stupidity to the rest of the world?

No, I'm not writing of prohibition, although it does come in a close second.

Of course, it's the idiotic property tax relief "system" put into place by the South Carolina state legislature in 2006. From now until the turkey is repealed, we will be trying to fix it and its repercussions.

See Legislature Considers Reassessment Cap in Tuesday's P&C

"Business groups, real estate sellers and those who bought property after 2006 have complained loudly that the new system is unfair.

"Under the proposed legislation, only new construction would be taxed at full value, creating another subset of aggrieved taxpayers.

"The legislation also would make an estimated $44 million in annual revenue disappear from local government, county and school district budgets statewide, the Board of Economic Advisors has estimated.

"The result would be a shifting of some property taxes back to current home and business owners, constraints on the budgets of local schools and governments, or both."

Sounds great, doesn't it? So great, it's hard to believe the CCSD School Board didn't create it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

We Kid You Not: How Much Did These Cost?

A "private company" produced the equipment and lessons for Stall High School's Star Academy profiled in Monday's P&C. Stimulus funds are paying the bills, $720,000 worth. Presumably CCSD is contributing the teachers' salaries. [See Star Academy Shines] As per usual with these articles emanating from 75 Calhoun, it is impossible to tell how much the program costs per student.

In case you are curious about the "ball chair" referenced in the article, here it is: an exercise ball.

Just my curiosity: how can stimulus funds have been used to pay for a program that is in its third year? This year, yes. The previous two years???

If you Google the Star Academy Program,, you will find a nice website with a phone number. Some might be mildly curious who started up this private company and who are on its Board of Directors.

Apparently, that's a secret only the edublob knows.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jim Rex Hasn't a Clue

And this is our state superintendent of education!

Anyone around many teenagers for very long knows their abysmal lack of knowledge of history, so the results of the most recently instituted end-of-course test in South Carolina, U.S. History, should have come as no surprise to anyone. [See Students Bomb on Newest Test.]

Superintendent Rex has another take on the ignorance, however. Quoted in the article, Rex stated that "'These low history scores, together with the mixed improvement we see for the other tests, are proof that many schools need extra tools for learning.'" Tools? Would that be chalk, paper and pencils, or desks? Or more edublob special programs and gadgets?

Maybe they can't read.

Rex's retirement from his position can't come a moment too soon!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How Many Designs Does It Take in CCSD?

The denizens of 75 Calhoun have never seen a traffic jam they didn't like--or so it would seem from the new, new design for a three-school campus in Mt. Pleasant. [See 3-school Campus in Thursday's P&C.] But at what long-term cost do citizens get this short-term savings?

We're talking about more busing and more traffic; more students taken out of their home communities; and more take-a-number enormous elementary schools. It's not good education.

And, let's get this straight: the CCSD School Board "initially approved and paid for a two-school campus design for Jennie Moore Elementary and Laing Middle" but now it's going to pay for another three-school design? Can we get a discount?

Oh, well, it's OPM (other people's money). Who cares?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Senseless Decision by CCSD School Board

Day after day, the former Charlestowne Academy school building sits vacant, after its being closed by the Charleston County School Board last year in the name of budget cutting.

A proposed church wishes to pay to use the premises two days a week for the next six months. And the School Board says, no, no, don't force that rent upon us. Why, heating and cooling costs will be associated with using the building! [ See Member's Request Denied in Wednesday's P&C.]


"Those voting against the item talked about two issues -- the appearance of a conflict of interest and the extra cost the district would incur by leasing the space to the church." The church would be started by Board member Chris Collins, who recused himself from voting. In her usual idiotic fashion, member Green suggested that "board members needed to exercise a higher degree of care and caution when it comes to requesting use of district buildings." What would that look like, Toya?

Those who voted down the request (Meyers-Fraser-Green-Oplinger) admitted that Collins would pay the same as any other entity renting CCSD property. Others do, including Trident Technical College, the Park and Recreation Commission, and Durham School Services. So why this sudden worry from "the quad" that "the fee doesn't cover all of the costs associated with using the building"?

What idiot set the fee so low that it wouldn't cover costs? Are the other renters also costing the district money because their rents are too low? Is this the gang that couldn't shoot straight?

Meanwhile, the district forgoes the $1,032 monthly fee. Chump change to them. Let them make up the loss.

That will be $258 each, please, for the next six months. Put your money where your mouth is.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Goal: CCSD Grads Will Be Able to Read Diplomas

The newest goal of the Charleston County School District is that all of its high school graduates will be able to read their own diplomas.

Now, some not familiar with CCSD might wonder what was going on before this. Don't ask. It's too embarrassing. The P&C should pride itself on Tuedsay's headline, Literacy Backed as Schools' Top Job. If not for a series of articles revealing the illiteracy secret within CCSD's schools, reading still would be at the bottom of the heap!

Cynics may point out that this new focus is another in a long line of promises made and not kept. The antidote is to keep the heat on. Do you hear that, Diette?

Meanwhile, it becomes clearer that the District will never share the results of last summer's enrichment programs touted as the model for future remediation. Theywould undermine confidence in and funding for the new set up. While pointing out that the literacy program needs the penalty of not promoting students if they do not participate in the summer programs meant to raise reading scores, McGinley said, "last summer's voluntary programs [are] an example [. . . where] some students came only sporadically, which lessened the programs' effect."

Translation: An analysis of the students attending last summer's voluntary programs shows little to no improvement in their reading scores.

Not encouraging. Let's hope for the best.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

CCSD's Selling Potential Millions for $350,000

When will the national media pick up on the idiocies perpetrated by the Charleston County School Board? Surely not all school boards can be this dumb, or should I say self-serving?

Such was my reaction to Sunday's article on the potential creation of a special tax zone for the Beach Company to develop a large portion of Johns Island. See the blithely-headlined School District Would See Immediate Gain.

For $350,000 (probably the yearly cost of Superintendent McGinley's transportation) economically-challenged Board members such as Ruth Jordan are willing to forgo forever millions of future tax dollars from property taxes on this major development by one of Charleston's most well-connected development companies. On the other hand, Board member Chris Fraser's remarks are simply disingenuous: he's looking out for his own term on the Board, not the interests of taxpayers.

You can't make this stuff up fast enough to keep pace with its escalating stupidity.

Never mind that such tax zones are supposed to provide incentives to redevelop blighted areas instead of providing an easy way for developers to pay back loans to develop pristine land. Such a zone presupposes that, without tax breaks, a large portion of Johns Island would never be developed. Yeah, right.

It's a sweet deal for the Beach Company. As the reporter explains, "Imagine you're building a house, and the government agrees not only to loan you funding for construction, but allows you to pay it back with money you would have otherwise paid in property taxes." Apparently, Jordan and Fraser find the county's schools to be so well-funded that increased property tax totals are unnecessary.

We can understand why the City Council might be interested in seeing the Beach Company pay for infrastructure, but the position of members of the CCSD hierarchy is untenable.

The rest of the taxpayers of Charleston County should rise up in revolt before the School Board sells its soul for a mere $350,000.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

CCSD Board Disdains the Poor--Again

Scurrying around the halls of the Taj Mahal at 75 Calhoun these days are minions planning the Charleston County School District's next building program. Much hand-wringing has ensued over its inability to continue alternative financing, the method for its program reaching its completion in 2010. How to get the millions? How to get the millions? Scylla and Charybdis appear on the radar screen.

In the vernacular, that's a rock and a hard place. The school district actually must put the question to the (gasp!) voters. Let's see, which would the voters prefer? [See School Board Weighs Finance Options in Thursday's P&C.]

That master of understatement, Michael Bobby, the district's chief financial officer is quoted as saying, "'The fact that we have to be on the ballot with the building program presents some real challenges and considerations.'" No kidding! The two options on the table? " a bond referendum or a sales tax increase."

Incredible as it may seem to the sane, the Board leans toward putting a sales tax on the ballot "which would be accompanied by a reduction in property taxes."

See, cynically the educrats and the majority of Board members think that people who don't own property (the poor) also don't vote. Therefore, the way to sugarcoat a tax increase is to promise the most likely voters a decrease in property taxes. Didn't the state of South Carolina just do that? Isn't it in trouble already by attempting to finance through falling sales tax revenues? Where will this madness end?

At least Chris Collins spoke up for the poor, knowing full well that the burden of financing through sales taxes falls most heavily on them. No one else seems to care or understands the issue. Chair Ruth Jordan opened her mouth to prove that she needs to take Economics 101, making the economically-illiterate statement (regarding an increase in the sales tax) that ""We all bear the same burden. . . It's the most fair way.'"

Painful, isn't it?

I need to create a new label: super-idiocies.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Is Forbes Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?

Is it possible to make Forbes' list of smartest cities while having among the weakest school systems in a weak state? Apparently the answer is "yes." [See Riley's Outlook: Mayor Says City, Area Poised to Be a Leader in Future Economy.] Maybe it's all those newcomers who were educated in Ohio.

What the rating reveals is the enormous divide between the haves and have-nots in Charleston County. Smartest to have the Academic Magnet to educate the top echelon of CCSD students and Wando High School to satisfy the wealthy and influential. Why waste breath on CCSD's failing schools? After all, they were fashioned for the have-nots and their poorly educated, noninfluential parents. Why, if you can't read on a fourth-grade level, you probably won't get a job with Boeing anyway. You won't be able to read the application.

Companies used to look at the overall educational achievement of a community when considering its workforce. Apparently no more.

Monday, December 07, 2009

McGinley Misses the Point on Harlem Zone

If you watched "60 Minutes" last night, you may have been entranced by the vision and results reported concerning the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City. Today's P&C followed with its own story on how local community leaders hope to create a Children's Zone in Charleston County. See Harlem Program Inspires Concept for Local Proposal.

How dense are Charleston County Schools Superintendent and Mayor Riley anyway? The Harlem Children's Zone school is successful because it is a charter school, because it is not overseen by the bureaucratic New York City Schools System! And McGinley has already made it clear that charter schools not controlled by her will not be allowed. McGinley's idea is doomed to failure, root and stem, because it sprouts from the bureacracy known as CCSD, the same bureacracy that has given us failed schools in every poor area of the county.

We should trust these same people to re-create the Harlem Children's Zone results? Please!

Let's see a robust, true grass-roots movement instead of more self-aggrandizing posturing from the Superintendent in order to get the district's hands on a half-million dollar nest egg.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Power Play in CCSD Almost Over?

Why would anyone assume that a public school should be allowed to use a public school building? As you read this, the Charleston County School District is wasting your tax dollars to prove this use illegal in Charleston County. See Ruling Soon on Charter School Act in Wednesday's P&C.

A charter school is a public school. Circuit Judge Roger Young should extend Act 189 of the State Legislature to all counties in the state.

CCSD's complaint against this use dates to the emergence of the Charter School for Math and Science, organized by a group of parents that the School Board and Superintendent did not, and do not, control. No such grief was given to Orange Grove Charter (for which Act 189 was written) or James Island Charter.

It's all about power.

By the way, why is Armand Derfner representing the District? Doesn't CCSD have a perfectly good lawyer, John Emerson, on its payroll? Derfner surely is an added expense!