Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Burke's Future on the Line in CCSD

What should happen to a high school that has failed, failed, and failed over the last dozen years? At times the state has threatened its takeover.  If you asked Senator Lindsey Graham, he would say, "Close it."

Closing Burke High School is not an option. When Charleston County's districts were consolidated as part of an order to integrate black and white school systems, Burke survived because of its long, proud tradition as a black high school. With the demise of the High School of Charleston, it became the only public high school on the peninsula (District 20). It has continued to have the strong support of its graduates.

So, what went wrong? Certainly its buildings are more than adequate, but the school has slid on the slippery slope of high-achieving students (both black and white) transferring to high schools where the course offerings, such as foreign languages, prepare them for college. Enrollment, despite transfers in from other parts of the county, continues to plummit.

Parents and taxpayers in District 20 are exploring whether turning Burke into a charter school makes sense. Certainly removing CCSD guidance from the everyday business of Burke has the potential to improve recent dismal outcomes.

How could a charter school be worse?

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