Tuesday, March 25, 2014

CCSD's Coats Needs Map-Reading Skills for Hursey

What is "walking distance" for an elementary school? No doubt Hursey Elementary School parents are asking themselves this very question.

According to Cindy Bohn Coats, Charleston County School Board Chairman, when Hursey becomes all Montessori, "students would have traditional choices within walking distance of their homes." CCSD administration can't leave well enough alone. Hursey now contains both traditional and Montessori programs, both of which are equally "diverse," to use the new buzzword. Superintendent McGinley proposed, and the school board rubber-stamped, that the school drop its traditional program.

Take a good look at the map of Hursey's sending district, Cindy. How old must a child be to cross busy Montague Avenue to get to North Charleston Elementary or travel the distance to Chicora?

These are mere details to Coats, who's never had an elementary school student of her own. And she thinks she should be mayor of North Charleston.


Monday, March 24, 2014

US Department of Education's Lack of "Critical Thinking" in Dorchester 2 ACT Ruling

The request made so much sense that the U. S. Department of Education shot it down immediately. After all, who do those peons in Dorchester District 2 think they are--President Obama?

Based on the logic that ACT-developed tests make more sense for everyone involved, DD2 requested a waiver (with the full support of the S.C. Board of Education and S.C.'s Superintendent of Education) from taking the PASS. Using the ACT tests could have been a pilot program for the state, which must change the PASS in the next couple of years because of adoption of Common Core standards.

Now the logic of the refusal is that all students in a state must take the same tests, presumably so that one school may be measured against another. Of course, with the ACT-developed tests, all students taking the tests in any state could be measured against each other.

Too logical? The U.S. Department of Education is in competitor College Board's pocket? Opt-outs must not be allowed because they might set a precedent?

Herein lies the evidence of why education should not be run by inside-the-beltway educrats.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Burke High/Middle's Numbers Don't Add Up

Sunday's article on lack of integration in the Charleston County School District muddled the overall picture in several ways, not the least of which was its discussion of Burke High/Middle School. First of all, Burke has a long, proud history as an all black school which most natives of Charleston have been unwilling to change--just ask the NAACP. When the all-white High School of Charleston was closed, it was almost, if not certainly, inevitable that Burke would remain for all intents and purposes segregated. Of course, other principals' recommending difficult students into Burke that went on during the last 20 years (and may still be!) didn't help matters. 

What really bears analysis, however, are the puzzling numbers cited in the article. For example, the reporter states that 13,245 students ages 15 to 19 live downtown. Where? Is "downtown" the same as the zoning to attend Burke? What is the source of this number? If it comes from the Census Bureau that also means it includes 18- and 19-year-olds enrolled in the College of Charleston as well as other high-school graduates.

Even if we cut the number in half, and claim that 6600 students are zoned for Burke, if 466 students is 45 percent of public school students zoned to attend, then the number still makes no sense. 

What the reporter inarticulately tried to state is that only 45 percent of students who are zoned for Burke and are enrolled in the Charleston County School District actually attend Burke. What the school board since its inception has accomplished through its own policies is for 55 percent of students from downtown to be bused elsewhere in the district. Now, the other statistic of which the reporter makes no mention is how many students are bused into Burke from other parts of the district. And don't tell me there aren't any.

In fact, wouldn't those numbers be interesting for all the schools in the district, but especially CCSD's high schools? Don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

SC's Walk-to-School Day Becomes Bus-to-School Day in CCSD

Children do not get enough exercise, or so experts tell us constantly. They sit to watch TV, play video games, or entertain themselves with the computer or a smart phone. Partly due to lack of suburban sidewalks, many children never walk farther than the end of their driveways. So what to do?

South Carolina, in an effort to encourage more walking, has created its own Walk-to-School Day, one that occurred as scheduled this morning. Local TV showed students walking to Lambs Elementary. What I hoped to see did not materialize: an interview with Superintendent Nancy McGinley of the Charleston County School District explaining her philosophy on walking to school.

Has there been anyone in the entire history of education in the State of South Carolina who has discouraged more students from walking to school?

From her actions and recommendations, the following picture of the McGinley-inspired school district appears: no neighborhood schools and a massive fleet of buses that criss-cross the district at all hours of the day and night ferrying students to and from so-called magnet schools.

Over the next few weeks, while you drive to work past students waiting for the bus in the dark, remember who is responsible for students' not walking to school.