Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Theme for Mt. Pleasant Magnet at Whitesides?

To relieve overcrowding without offending any parent in Mt. Pleasant, Charleston County Schools Superintendent McGinley has a brilliant idea: create a magnet elementary school open to any resident of East Cooper. The school, unlike other magnets, will have no attendance zone and will be located at the former Whitesides Elementary in an almost all-white area of the town.

The idea neatly sidesteps the toes of Mt. Pleasant parents who want smaller classes in their overcrowded schools but want somebody else's child to change schools.

But what happens if too few parents sign up for an untested school not knowing what its student body will look like?  How many parents will be enticed by a "theme"? CCSD is taking chances with its overcrowding because Mt. Pleasant parents have clout. You merely need peruse McGinley's effusive praise of Mt. Pleasant in her op-ed: "There's not a town in America that does a better job of supporting high-quality public education than Mount Pleasant." "The town of Mount Pleasant should beam with pride that so many people want to reside within its boundaries."

As we used to say, "Gag me with a spoon." No, these parents need not suffer the closing of neighborhood schools and shuffling around of their children nor tolerate one ethically-challenged principal running two elementary schools, as downtown District 20 residents know so well.

Just try to imagine a theme created by administrators that will actually fulfill a desire of Mt. Pleasant's residents while resulting in an integrated school. McGinley knows perfectly well that what residents desire most is another Buist Academy located in Mt. Pleasant, an all-honors elementary, if you like.

Has anyone sensed support for a theme other than that one? In truth, most parents want their children to stay in the attendance zone they paid for and for the pesky newcomers crowding into the schools to go away.

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