Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Broken Promises for CCSD's Renaissance Elementary Schools

"Despite original intent, first-year teachers are big part of Renaissance project at 4 Charleston County Schools"--so reads the headline on Monday's paper. Maybe CCSD Superintendent McGinley hoped residents would be too busy watching football games to read the paper. Maybe she believes affected parents don't read the paper.

So, what happened?

McGinley "expected" no first-year teachers would be hired, but 44 percent are just that! How could she be so out of touch? Burns, North Charleston, Sanders-Clyde, and Memminger--the elementary schools at most risk for state takeover--have become part of yet another experiment costing over $1 million. McGinley's promise convinced the School Board that she was serious.

What the reporter's statistics do not reveal is how many of the 15 teachers in the group who did not get a contract renewal were first-year teachers. Half? All? If so, how many of these 23 new ones will last more than a year? (We can discount the two-year Teach-for-America contingent.)

"Schools where the majority of students are low-income often have higher teacher turnover rates, and they struggle to attract and retain the most effective teachers."

This truism describes exactly what happened in the hiring process. You have to wonder what McGinley was thinking when she promised the opposite.

The reporter manages to help the superintendent put the best face on the facts. Now the enthusiasm and extra training of first-year teachers will make up for their lack of experience. If that were the case, why would the superintendent have promised experienced teachers in the first place?

Don't get me wrong. Enthusiasm and idealism can go a long way with children; however, nothing beats the experience of an effective teacher.

In a final irony, two of these "low-income" schools, "where more than 95 percent. . .live in poverty" are not located in low-income neighborhoods! They are de facto resegregated schools, one in a high-income area of the peninsula (barely above Broad!) and one in a middle-class neighborhood of North Charleston.

CCSD's previous policies created this mess. Can it be trusted to fix it?


D20 said...

McGinley is certainly facinated with words that begin with the letter "R". Her constant, almost annual, plans to reshuffle schools almost always include catchy, but vague words like Renaissance (recycled after it was first used for the now failed N.Chas./Stall high schools merger plan), Remove, Rebuild, Return, Realignment, Reconfiguration. Someone should give her a copy of Margaret Atwood's book, "Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes". No telling how many more amusing "R" word plans she could give us after that. Too bad McGinley's stories aren't anywhere near as entertaining as Atwood's.

Anonymous said...

So many were happy to see (r.i.p.) goodloe-johnson leave and praising Mcginley for saving C.C.S.D. I hope(wish)plan..nope, pray the school district will find someone that actually knows how to fix such a broken school district.