Wednesday, September 07, 2016

CCSD's Charter Schools Not Creators of Racial Disparities

Finally paying attention to the racial disparities in the Charleston County School District, our legislative delegation held a forum for CCSD Superintendent Postlewait and local by-invitation-only activists (presumably) Tuesday night. 

See legislative-panel-highlights-racial-disparities-in-charleston-county-schools

Why it was even necessary for anyone to "paint a dismal portrait" of how black students fare in the system remains a mystery. Perhaps they thought someone hadn't been paying attention. No, the real question is why the district has schools that are de facto segregated, a mystery that has puzzled me since I began this blog more than a decade ago. See, while I lived in other parts of the country, I just assumed that the city's schools were desegregated long ago. Silly me.

While Charleston County has a sizable portion of black students, the percentage doesn't begin to approach the 90 to 98 percent found in so many of the county's schools. The short answer is, when Charleston County's schools desegregated and consolidated decades ago, those in authority made a mess of it. We live with the results.

Only the most dense could disagree with Jon Butzon: 
“We cannot have a productive, effective, honest discussion about public education in this state without talking about race. It has to be front and center,” said John Butzon, former chairman of the Education Network. “If you doubt that, just look at the numbers. Look at the data. Get out of the opinion business and look at the data.”
Publicity surrounding the ACT results of the first time all SC students took the test has brought racial problems to the forefront. Since many of Charleston County's black students are poor, it's hardly a surprise that they attend schools full of poor students, given housing patterns in the county. Demanding low-income or Section 8 housing in, for example, Snee Farms or I'On hardly seems likely to succeed.

Yet the lack of veteran teachers and access to more varied curricula should be addressed more fully. Rep. Gilliard's claim of being "up against a different type of monster here" and statement that someone deliberately "designed" the lack of academic success among the county's black students, falls into the unfortunate category of race-baiting. It may sound tough to some of his constituents but sheds no light on solutions.

Rep. Limehouse, on the other hand, dismisses the disparities too lightly as not "all doom and gloom." The problem is not that all students should be college bound (although too many politicians think so) but that they at minimum need to be prepared for jobs available locally. Having CCSD "offer advanced manufacturing courses for students as early as middle school" would not only help the local economy but also help students to stay interested in school.

Board members Miller and Coats at least had proposals that the legislative delegation could address, unlike some other comments. Both loan forgiveness for new teachers and flexibility in allocating funding are within the purview of the legislature. 

No discussion would be complete, however, without mentioning the NAACP's war on charter schools. In fact, according to Joe Darby, such schools are the cause of de facto segregation in the district. Actually, they are a result and a symptom of failure. Darby seemed to call for demolishing all magnet schools such as Academic Magnet and School of the Arts. Not going to happen, Joe.

Although the legislative delegation plans another meeting in January, a rehash of CCSD's problems hardly seems productive. What will the delegation do in those six months? 

Will there be an accounting in January or simply hot air?  


Anonymous said...

I continue to wonder why this blogger refuses to acknowledge or invite a discussion about the now "Eight Principals in Eight Years at Math and Science."

Anonymous said...

CCSMS is an enigma. The real story about the operation of this school will blow your mind.

Anonymous said...

So whey doesn't the host blogger open this up for discussion?

Anonymous said...

Take Park Circle for example where some homes are now selling for 250k plus. How many of those NEW residents of Park Circle are sending their children to Morningside or North Charleston High? I doubt more than five. If you feel comfortable enough to buy a home in a particular area then your child should attend those schools.