Monday, February 24, 2014

CCSD Officially Crosses Insanity Line with Expanding APs

You know the definition: doing something over and over again and expecting different results.

How do you know when Charleston County School Superintendent McGinley is lying? Yes, when her lips are moving. She claims that spending another $900,000 to place 14 AP teachers in low-performing high schools is important because "we have to address the very capable students and make sure they're not being forgotten in some of our schools." Not.

No, the problem presents itself when capable students in areas served by low-performing schools petition the School Board to transfer to schools that have more AP courses. McGinley is attempting to keep more capable students in their own designated schools, thereby raising the academic climate in those schools. Nevermind that many years ago CCSD made the decision to skim off the academic cream and put it into the Academic Magnet and School of the Arts at the urging of "haves" such as Gregg Myers, thus leaving only middle-to-poor performing students in the rest of the high schools, with the exception of gigantic Wando. (CCSD could put all 300 of Burke's students into Wando with the effect of an elephant's swallowing a gnat.)

AP courses are great--for those students who have the background to succeed in them. AP preparation needs to begin as early as sixth grade for students from low-income and low-educational background to succeed. Burke's AP Academy is a case in point. Prior to AP, students need "Pre-AP," or Honors-level courses for at least three years. The accepted wisdom of the edublob is that would be discriminatory, so students who might have been otherwise capable will not qualify on the AP exam, which cannot be fudged, as with so many other measures of academic merit. No doubt Burke's AP teachers are competent and motivated and take their charges as far as possible, but spending $1.2 million over a four-year period to get a result of 10 "passes" out of 376 exams taken is wasteful. The students would be better off if the district gave each of them the $120,000 that their scores represent. Don't forget that most of the testing fees for these 366 students who did not pass were paid by the taxpayers of South Carolina. 

CCSD needs to get real about enriching programs in the lower grades feeding these high schools if it is to avoid throwing good money after bad. 

Oh, that's right. It's OPM.

1 comment:

Alex Peronneau said...

A score of 3 on a 5 point scale is considered passing. Some colleges and universities only recognize a score of 4 or higher if advanced credit is to be given. If only 10 AP exams were passed out of 376 AP exams given, there is no indication if even those 10 received advanced placement. The real tragedy is the superintendent continuing to be deaf to calls for proper preparation for these students in the lower grades. Just offering AP courses without the needed foundation work is pointless.