Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lewis Finds Scapegoat for CCSD's Woes

It's all the fault of the constituent school boards--so says former Charleston County School District operations manager Bill Lewis in a lengthy op-ed this week. If they hadn't wanted small high schools, none of the Charleston County School District's failing schools would exist! All high schools should be over 3000 students. Then those embarrassing stats would melt into the larger whole.

Californian Lewis has no idea what a high school means to a community. In fact, he wouldn't even recognize a community if it hit him over the head. Why do parents of Lincoln High School's or Baptist Hill's students object to their spending four or five hours every day on the bus? How could a small high school benefit an entire community? Lewis is still scratching his head.

His rant apparently responded to the paper's special series on the problems of North Charleston High School. Now, the reporters seemed to blame the school's low enrollment on school choice. Clearly the problems of various students at the school result not from school choice but from poverty, especially the lack of resources caused by broken families. Neither he nor the reporters questioned the school district's policies--and in particular, those of ex-Superintendent McGinley--in bringing about the low enrollment at the school. Would forcing the school to enroll a convicted armed robber bring back the middle class? Would having a majority of students reading at the second- or third-grade level in a ninth-grade class encourage the middle class to return?

So, let's get this straight: if North Charleston had a 3000-student school, these students' problems would be solved? Not likely. They would become part of the mass of students lost in the halls, but any low scores on testing would give no cause for alarm to a district that wants no failing schools. The failing students would still exist but not the failing schools.

Anyone remember Fraser Elementary? Its closure, with promises that its students would be tracked to see that they thrived in the new environment, in reality improved McGinley's stats. And the result was?

Oops! Down the memory hole. That would be the fate of NCHS's students.

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