Tuesday, April 08, 2014

CCSD's Garrett Has Clear-Eyed View of Segregated Schools, Vague Solutions

One of the newer members of the Charleston County School Board, Todd Garrett, opined in Saturday's edition that the district has not fulfilled the promise of desegregation nearly 60 years after Brown versus Board of Education. While no one in his or her right mind could dispute Garrett's figures, other board members and district administration have tried to gloss over the details for decades. 

For sure, the disparities among schools are the result of decisions and policies of the CCSD School Board ever since its inception when Charleston schools were consolidated. The effects of decades cannot be overcome overnight. 

Most people probably assume that segregated schools in the district (15 by Garrett's count) result from homogeneous neighborhood school populations. Not in Charleston County! These schools by and large are in thoroughly integrated neighborhoods. Where homes sell for half a million dollars and up, some neighborhood schools are nearly 90 percent free and reduced lunch. We're not talking just about race here; economic background is the villain. The middle class of all ethnic backgrounds has deserted these schools for those that are succeeding. The poor would do so if they knew how.

Garrett's analysis is cogent; however, his plea that the community trust CCSD board members to fix its problems is premature. The Board needs more members such as Garrett who are willing to speak the truth and criticize blanket proposals from the McGinley administration. 

When the CCSD Board of Trustees stops rubber-stamping administration and acts as the boss, and not the underlings, perhaps desegregation will go forward.

1 comment:

D20 said...

Thanks for speaking the truth. Now we need a school board with the courage to act on it.