Thursday, April 30, 2015

CCSD's Never Seen a Tax Hike It Didn't Like

Acting Superintendent Michael Bobby believes that Charleston County taxpayers are so stupid that they've forgotten the promises the Charleston County School Board made during the not-a-penny one-percent sales tax extension campaign. You know, the one about no property-tax hikes.

Suddenly, Bobby believes CCSD's income from property taxes will not cover the growth of spending in the district.


His complaint is that the list of owner-occupied homes is growing too fast and taking away tax dollars from the district, which he predicts will have the highest number of students ever next year.

What's wrong with this picture?

  1. The predicted 50,000 students, "highest ever for Charleston County schools" is not, I repeat, not the highest number ever served by the county. Prior to consolidation, enrollment in total was well over that number.
  2. The district contributed to the problem two years ago when it made its "tax swap" that reduced taxes on owner-occupied homes.
  3. How much of the reduction in revenue has been created by tax-increment financing (TIF) districts agreed to in several areas of the county?
  4. "Extra" expenses enumerated by Bobby include a step-increase for teachers (hardly a surprise!), making Orange Grove into a K-8 school (aren't students pulled from other schools? Isn't one West Ashley middle school slated for closure?).
  5. What is the taxpayer to think of an extra $10 million for "fringe benefits and materials and supplies"? 
Really, what does the latter include--two IPAD's for each student?

Board members Garrett and Collins voiced skepticism over the need to raise property taxes and vowed to review ways to cut expenses. 

Let's hear from the rest of the School Board: Cindy Bohn Coats, Chris Staubes, Kate Darby, Tom Ducker, Eric Mack, Tripp Wiles, and Michael Miller.

Their email addresses and phone numbers are found at .

Friday, April 17, 2015

Baptist Hill Principal's On-the Job Behavior Needs Investigation

How could a "Star Principal" in the Charleston County School District be guilty of allowing black students to bully white and Hispanic students and teachers and keep her job?

Kala Goodwine, darling of former Superintendent Nancy McGinley, had bounced around districts from Holly Hill to Summerville, finally landing in McGinley's domain. Under her administration Goodwine was awarded a bonus during difficult financial times in CCSD because McGinley made her principal of Morningside Middle, then nominated as one of the worst schools in the nation. Thanks to Goodwine's willingness to take "combat pay" for a difficult job, McGinley later named her as principal of Baptist Hill/Middle School.

Goodwine has lost the confidence of the school's constituent board, but apparently that's not a negative with the district's Lisa Herring and James Winbush, who also got their jobs from the ex-Superintendent. Constituent boards lost any real power they had under McGinley's watch.

Haven't we been down this road before? Apparently only when pending lawsuits begin to cost the school district big bucks will the Taj Mahal pay attention.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Atlanta's Test Cheating and Charleston County's Principal MiShawna Moore

From an earlier posting:
Who else remembers the glory days when Sanders-Clyde made great strides in its test scores? Why, [former Superintendent] McGinley was so impressed that she made its principal head of two schools [Sanders-Clyde and the now closed Fraser] simultaneously. [McGinley] supposedly had no clue regarding the scandal that finally came out of the closet--organized changing of answers on the tests. And the principal was allowed to escape to a district in North Carolina.
Hello! This is exactly what Atlanta's school leaders were convicted of.

Before the sad results of cheating at Sanders-Clyde came to light (thanks to a state investigation, not our local district's), one local reporter lauded Principal MiShawna Moore as the "Miracle Worker":
 She obsesses about the possibility of Sanders-Clyde's scores dropping while Fraser's improve or of Fraser getting only slightly better while Sanders-Clyde's scores worsen. That thought makes her sit in her office on weekends and cry. Last year, she cried for four days when she realized Sanders-Clyde missed an excellent rating by just 33 students.
 She fears what the media and community will say about the schools, and she sees any blame as resting squarely on her shoulders. She worries about teachers feeling disappointed because they already have suffered so much scrutiny and criticism.
"Cried for four days"? Juxtapose those compliments with the expose that followed. Evidently, what she really worried about was getting caught.

She was caught but maintained her innocence.  The evidence? "The state released Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test results [in 2009] that showed massive drops in test scores at Sanders-Clyde, a high-poverty downtown school previously recognized for its students' impressive achievement. The test score decline coincided with stringent district oversight of the school's testing, a first for the school." Moore claimed that decline occurred because strangers were in the classroom. Yeah, right.

Whatever happened to MiShawna Moore? After about a year in North Carolina she, believe it or not, returned to Atlanta, where she grew up. You can't make this stuff up.

Here's a recent bio:
Dr. MiShawna Moore joined Families First in November 2011, as the Program Coordinator for School Success. Prior to coming to Families First, MiShawna served as an Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, a principal, and teacher, where she earned “Teacher of the Year” and the “Community Motivator Award”. Since returning to Atlanta in 2010, MiShawna has mentored several pre-service teachers, taught parenting classes in the community and volunteered with numerous agencies. MiShawna holds a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Walden University, where she concentrated in Teacher Leadership, and holds three Master level degrees in PK-8 Education, Educational Administration and Supervision and Higher Education and Administration.
She's "mentoring pre-service teachers"? Good grief!

Perhaps you need to look to Geraldine Middleton, a former associate superintendent in CCSD. She's the person who gave Moore a job as an assistant superintendent in Halifax County, NC when Moore was under fire, pointing out that nothing was proven. According to Middleton, "MiShawna D. Moore, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction is working to communicate with the public and staff about student test scores and the meaning of the numbers. Moore is currently designing and implementing new programs to bring up student test scores and to get the staff and community more involved." Well, that statement can be viewed through the prism of her experience at Sanders-Clyde!

Once she had hired Moore in 2008, Middleton became embroiled in a data-driven scandal in North Carolina, After stating repeatedly she would stick with Halifax, she escaped to Chicago in 2009 with a $160,000 job, "one of the highest paid and most powerful" in the Chicago school system. That's Chicago. Need I say more? By 2010 Middleton was under fire there for her "data"  and left. Now she's an educational consultant in North Carolina, using "data" to turn around schools.

At least in Atlanta the students injured by this cheating have gotten some justice. The same cannot be said for those in the Charleston County School District, especially the Sanders-Clyde students and parents who were fooled into believing they were achieving.

It was all on McGinley's watch. Data-driven, indeed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why No Diversity in Charleston County's All-Black Schools?

Academic Magnet High School is 15 percent nonwhite. Unsurprisingly, that 15 percent met the same standards as white students. We could argue that AMHS shouldn't exist, since it skims the cream off CCSD's other high schools, but the decision to open it (for Gregg Meyers's daughter) was made decades ago, and now CCSD has one of highest-achieving high schools in the state.

That didn't happen by accident. The school takes the highest-achieving applicants from Charleston County--and some from other nearby counties, who take the places of Charleston County students because they scored higher and know how to work the system. The school has a long waiting list, most likely containing some nonwhite students.

Undoubtedly, some students living in the Burke attendance area attend AMHS. Burke High/Middle School, at nearly 99 percent nonwhite, circles the drain even as you read. This year's graduating class is the smallest ever. Its attractive modern buildings are not even half full, even with middle-school students counted. It rates below average today, and the state nearly took it over several years ago. Even so, a large chunk of its students--all nonwhite--do not live in Burke's attendance area. Some have accused CCSD in the past of "dumping" nonwhite students from other high schools into Burke when they have caused trouble elsewhere.

Now CCSD plans to hire an "executive director of diversity and inclusion." Why do I suspect that white applicants need not waste their time applying? More importlantly, why does the district need to pay probably $100 thousand for another edublob layer to shoulder the "right" choices? And what choices will those be--to freeze out top-scoring students from AMHS because they are white? Weasels.

What AMHS parent Charlisa Pugh and The Coalition Pastor Thomas Dixon (both from out-of-state, by the way) call "education assassination" is a two-way street. White students and teachers are routinely bullied in CCSD's de facto segregated schools. Sanders-Clyde on the peninsula greets white visitors with a beautiful Jonathan Green mural showing only nonwhite faces. CCSD routinely excuses rude and demeaning treatment of whites as part of nonwhite culture--how racist can you get?

While CCSD  teaches AMHS students racial stereotypes to avoid, how about  its holding nonwhite students to the same standards of classroom behavior, including language? It might cause some white parents to rethink their choices.

Until the county figures out how to challenge nonwhites even in mostly nonwhite schools, the disparity in AMHS percentages will continue.

Until the county figures out how to treat whites in mostly nonwhite schools, de facto segregation will continue to grow.