Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Murray-LaSaine: Cleaning Up McGinley's Mess

You can't fool all of the people all of the time.

That's the lesson ex-Superintendent Nancy McGinley should take from the mess of misunerstanding she and her minions in the Charleston County School District administration created. In order to pacify objections from black families at Murray-LaSaine, she initially gave them the impression that parallel traditional classes would continue after a new Montessori program was established. When it became clear to them CCSD had scheduled these classes to be phased out, they loudly rebelled.

What was she thinking? That these parents didn't really care? that they didn't have enough clout for their objections to make a difference?

While the tempest roared, McGinley backed down and allowed as how parents had indeed been promised continuation of traditional classes by someone or someones unnamed. Then she left under a cloud.

The local rag wants to make this uproar all about race, but is it? Objections to Montessori by those opposed have yet to be articulated in the paper. Why do more black parents want traditional classes?  Do they have some basis for believing their children will achieve more in a traditional classroom?

According to one source,
"the Montessori environment lacks structure and instructions, while some children function better in more structured and more guided environments. Likewise, lack of completion in the classroom may lead to certain problems if a child enters a more competitive environment. Besides, some kids need more discipline than others, so they benefit from extrinsic, rather than intrinsic motivation.  Lastly, the Montessori Method suggests individual work at one’s own pace which leads to restricted social interactions with other kids in class. (http://www.bestkiddy.com/5-parent-montessori-method/)
Are these possible shortcomings the basis for the furor? Or do those whose families have been in the school's attendance area for generations believe they are being shoved around by more affluent newcomers who don't know what their children's best interests are?

Regardless, despite the racial divide at Murray-LaSaine, the new school board reneged on McGinley's promise: traditional classes will disappear.

No comments: