Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Staggering Statistics on CCSD's Literacy Failures Under McGinley

Remember Nancy McGinley? She who gripped reins of power in the Charleston County School District for the longest tenure ever as Superintendent, also in charge as Academic Officer prior to that? Yes, that McGinley.

Just thought I'd remind you because present Board members such as Cindy Bohn Coats and the local media have forgotten her name. It's marvelous to see a long op-ed from Coats regarding the last decade's literacy failures without mentioning she-whose-name-cannot-be-linked-with-failures. Vitriol aimed at the Board of Trusteesunderstandably annoys Coats when she knows that the Board merely carried out McGinley's wishes. 

What a dilemma: how to defend cuts to McGinley's failed pet literacy programs without mentioning who's responsible. Clearly the Board should have made cuts before now, given the inefficacy of the efforts. The $18 million budget shortfall has given the Board the perfect excuse to save face. 

Under attack for curtailing literacy efforts, Coats reveals several shocking statistics, the kind of numbers unheard when she-who-cannot-be-named was around. Her points?

  • At the end of the 2014-2015 school year, only 15 percent of the African American students in our third grade classes could read on or above grade level. 
  • Only 59 percent of Caucasian students in our third grade classes could read on grade level.
  • After three consecutive years of First Grade Academy, Primary Grades Academy and a host of one-to-one literacy interventions, I do not believe these results are indicative of a program that works.
  • At the end of the 2014-2015 school year, 400 Charleston County School District graduates entered Trident Tech; 68 of those students were college ready. 
  • Three hundred and thirty-two Charleston County School District graduates enrolled in Trident Tech had to complete at least one remedial development course prior to enrolling in college credit bearing courses.
  • The literacy programs that have been in place in CCSD for the past decade have not ensured all our elementary students are proficient readers, have not ensured all students entering high school are able to read and comprehend high school level courses, and have not prepared all of our students to graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to move onto college or careers. 
  • This is the outrage.

Fifteen percent of black public school third-graders can read on grade level; for a third grader that means he or she is able to read. 

Don't you wonder if this is greater or less than five years ago? If we had had a control group of like students not attending school at all, how much lower would the percentage be? 

Mind boggling.

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