Friday, August 18, 2017

CCSD's Associate Superintendents Strike Again!


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Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing? Given events at Wando High School earlier this month, we doubt it. 

According to Lowcountry Source, "Elizabeth Adamson gave the 8th grade commencement speech at Cario Middle School this past June. She was featured in a Post and Courier article. She was looking forward to taking honors classes at Wando High School. She already had her schedule set and had enrolled in JROTC. She attended JROTC orientation beginning Monday, July 31. Her mother Anela Adamson received a phone call the evening of Wednesday, August 2 from Principal Sherry Eppelsheimer asking that Elizabeth not return to the school. No explanation was given."

Bizarre. The student's mother was advised her daughter would be in a contained classroom at the School of the Arts.

CCSD ignored Elizabeth's legal Individual Education Plan (IEP) as "Thursday, August 3 Elizabeth and her mother returned to Wando High so she could finish her JROTC orientation week. . . . Eppelsheimer asked them to leave and had the school resource officer (Mt. Pleasant police) escort them off the campus. Anela Adamson said she would be back and was subsequently served with a trespassing notice."

Thanks to intervention by concerned individuals, Elizabeth is now attending Wando High School as her IEP instructs. 

What's going on at the Taj Mahal anyway? Biggity associate superintendents arbitrarily changing IEP's?

The Andersons should sue CCSD for damages.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

"Reading by Third" Sets Same Goal as No Child Left Behind!


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Down the memory hole.

George Orwell is looking more and more prescient.

How else to explain this week's reporting of local counties' enthusiasm for the Reading by Third initiative? Leaders from DD2, DD4, CCSD, and Berkeley School Districts signed up for  a "partnership between their districts and Trident United Way."

"Supported by $1.5 million in funding from Trident United Way, the districts have offered training to teachers in 12 pilot schools through the University of Florida Lastinger Center. The training was designed to help teachers address students' skill levels in small groups or one-on-one."

"During the three-year pilot program, the Charleston County School District will focus on pre-kindergarten students, while the other school districts focus on kindergarten through second grade. Teachers will try new instructional models and receive coaching from Lastinger employees throughout the school year."

"The pilot schools include: Clay Hill Elementary, Harleyville Elementary, College Park Elementary, Oakbrook Elementary, A.C. Corcoran Elementary, E.B. Ellington Elementary, Ladson Elementary and Midland Park Primary. Williams Memorial Elementary will begin the pilot program next school year."

"The initiative is beginning at the same time that a major provision of South Carolina's Read to Succeed Act takes effect. Starting at the end of this school year, third-graders who can't pass the literacy portion of the standardized SC READY will be held back in third grade unless they meet certain exemptions or make enough progress in a summer literacy camp."

All of this without mentioning NCLB or its leading proponent, George Bush. There's nothing new about research showing that all students need to read by third grade. Can the reporter be that ignorant of the past?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Can Wando Campus Handle 4700 Students?


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How crowded does a school campus need to be before someone in charge says, "Hold, enough"?  

CCSD's Board Chair Kate Darby thinks it doesn't matter how many students squeeze into Wando by 2020 because " a lot of 11th and 12th graders will want to finish out where they've been," rather than entering the new Beckham High School. What's really going on is worry over where the District 2 Constituent Board will draw the attendance-zone boundaries for the two schools. Can't be unbalanced, ya know.

Meanwhile, the Charleston County School District toys with competing with virtual charter schools already in existence. " Unlike the full-time virtual charter schools run by private management companies in South Carolina, this school would be run locally by the school district and would not be a substitute for traditional school." And would cost CCSD to run. How much? "According to a planning document distributed to the school board, district staff plan to determine the budget, technology and personnel required for such a program between October and December."

And the reason that what virtual charter schools offer must be duplicated? 

We can guess.

Filling the Taj Mahal with educrats is expensive, not merely because of their salaries. They must justify their jobs by promoting more spending.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

We All Live Here: Charleston County Juvenile Crime and Schools


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A 14-year-old boy charged with two homicides in Charleston County attended Charleston County schools. Don't you wonder what went on when he was in the classroom? His father "has no comment" on his son's incarceration. Where is his mother? What about his extended family and friends? 

It's certainly unlikely that he will ever enter high school, much less complete it. So-called experts called to explain such criminality at this young age have suggested that he may have been bullied or that he doesn't know how to meditate or control his anger or that he just lacked role models. Really? I suppose it's not possible that drugs were involved. Certainly, the entire P & C article on juvenile crime in the state never mentions them!

Charleston County leads the state in juvenile crime. Charleston County also leads the state in the number of failing public schools. 

Golly, could there be a connection?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Ban "Honors" Level in Charleston County Schools


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Is anyone else as annoyed as I with bumper stickers that say, "My child is an honor student at [fill in name of school]? What purpose does that bragging accomplish? 

Easy answer: it reinforces the stereotype that it is an honor to be in a particular level of instruction. Abolish the term "honor" for these classes. Call them "Advanced, Grind, Nerd, Irregular, Developed, Extreme"--in other words, anything but "Honor." 

Don't get me wrong. I'm probably more enthusiastic about leveling students in sections than you ever were, but something has gone wrong in its public interpretation. Hence, the letter to Jody Stallings from a frustrated mother whose school moved her child into regular classes based on test scores. His weekly column points out the dangers of misplacing students. Yes, on a continuum of test results there will be students "on the cusp," but the student in question doesn't appear to be one of them. Take it from this former AP teacher: putting students into Advanced Placement classes who cannot read on grade level does no one an "honor."

"Q. My middle school child was an honors student last year. She worked so hard to get good grades. She did hours of homework every night and went to a tutor for help in math. This year I’ve learned that, due largely to test scores, she will be placed in regular classes. Now she says she doesn’t understand the point of working hard when you’re just going to get dropped to a lower level no matter what. I’ve asked the principal to move her back into honors, but he wouldn’t. How do I keep her motivated if she has to stay in regular?"

"A. Your question seems to begin with the assumption that last year she was properly placed in honors classes and this year she is misplaced in regular. But it sounds to me like it could be the other way around."

"In general, children who are appropriately placed in high-level courses don’t require tutoring to succeed. Honors courses are designed for students whose minds are ready for going above and beyond the standard grade level material. Mastering the curriculum should be challenging for them, but it shouldn’t require professional help.

"Secondly, no student should be spending hours on homework every night. That is a used car lot-sized red flag that the material is too difficult. The rule of thumb is ten minutes of homework per night for every grade level. A sixth grader should have about an hour. No student in K-12 should average two hours except perhaps high school seniors, and I can hear the parents of those seniors laughing at that suggestion right now.

"So it appears to me that the principal is trying to right a wrong. Many principals find themselves in the middle of a constant struggle between parents and teachers. Parents want their kids in honors at all costs, often because they think it’s an actual “honor.” Teachers want kids placed based on their developmental abilities and achievement. It waters down the class when too many lower level students are plied into upper level classes. Imagine a high-intensity aerobics class where half the participants are recovering pneumoniacs. (Do they still have aerobics classes? Just change that to “Jazzercise” then. Or “Extreme Yoga.”) It sounds like your principal is siding with teachers, and for that I award him a digital star: *.

"It’s not surprising that your daughter would use the perceived demotion as an excuse to give up. Taking the easy way out is endemic to adolescents. If a doorway to comfort is opened, you can be certain it will be used. Your task as the parent is to slam that door as hard as you can, lock it, and throw away the key. A great start would be discussing with her the difference between setbacks and failure. A setback is when one doesn’t get what one hoped; it often requires determination to get back on track. Failure is when someone gives up. Failure isn’t an outside explosion. It is an inner collapse. We can’t control setbacks, but we can control failure.

"Most of all, setbacks are a bruise. Failure is a tattoo. Once children start down the road of giving up, it leads to a habit of failure, and that habit can be so hard to break that it becomes part of their identity. So candid discussions with your child about doing her best are definitely required.

"Also required is recalibrating your expectations. If she got B’s in honors math, expect A’s in regular and hold her accountable. If she already was an A student and she finds that getting A’s in regular classes is too easy, then at the semester talk to the teacher (not the principal) about possibly giving honors another shot. If she stays in regular, then use the money you were spending on a tutor last year to enroll her in extracurricular courses this year (like an art class, a language class, or a new sport). With the time she isn’t spending doing homework, she can expand her horizons.

"So far in my career I’ve never seen anyone given a college scholarship in middle school (and Doogie Howser doesn’t count because he’s made up). Don’t worry that your daughter will somehow fall behind her classmates. True, they may take algebra a year before she does, but so what? While many of them will be learning the benefits (if there are any) of spending hours every night struggling with material that will be totally forgotten by next August, your daughter will be learning habits and character traits that will keep her soaring for a lifetime.

"Legendary coach John Wooden said, “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” Making the best of things is not a naturally occurring trait. This situation is a perfect opportunity for you to help your daughter learn it.

Jody Stallings has been an award-winning teacher in Charleston since 1992. He has served as Charleston County Teacher of the Year, Walmart Teacher of the Year, and CEA runner-up for National Educator of the Year. He currently teaches English at Moultrie Middle School and is director of the Charleston Teacher Alliance.

Personally, I'd like to call such classes "extreme." Then the bumper sticker could brag,

"My child is an extreme student at ____ elementary."


Friday, August 11, 2017

CCSD Bus Route Takes the Prize


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The Charleston County School District, renowned for its early bus routes, has finally scored a coup! No district in the entire state, heck, in the entire southeast will ask elementary school students to wait at an earlier time in the day for that ride to school. Make that an earlier time in the middle of the night!

Maybe the district wants to see if anyone actually reads the published bus schedules?

In these days of electronic submission, perhaps someone actually typed the wrong time four times?

Now parents of Goodwin Elementary students on Route 510 can brag about how early they rise.

The stop at West Montague and Floyd Circle wins the prize, however: how about 2:36 am?


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Another CCSD Dropout: Juvenile Arrested Last Weekend

Does anyone seriously believe that the juvenile described below was about to begin his junior or senior year at one of Charleston County's high schools? 

Does anyone believe he dropped out because he read so well that his classes were boring?

Remember this young man the next time you're inclined to think that high school dropouts are of no concern!
Juvenile Charged with Unlawful Carry of Handgun
On Sunday, August 6th, Special Assignment Team Officers were conducting proactive patrol of the Charleston Farms Community. While doing Officers observed a group of subjects flee in the area of Oakwood MHP towards the Read St. Apartments. While attempting to locate them, officers observed one subject enter a silver BMW on Mole Ln. Officers recognized him from a previous incident where he was arrested for Possession of a Stolen Gun.. As officers approached, the vehicle pulled off and a traffic stop was conducted on Sumner Ave near Dutton St due to illegal window tint.
Upon approaching the vehicle and making contact neither the driver or occupants were able to provide a lawful ID. While attempting to locate the required information, officers observed the front passenger seat appeared to be breathing unusually heavily and refused to make eye contact with officers. He also repeatedly moved his hands towards his hips despite repeated orders not to do so. At that time officers requested that he exit the vehicle. Upon doing so he immediately spun around and placed his right hip against the side of the vehicle. A .45 caliber Glock Model 30 with one round chambered and an additional 10 in the magazine was retrieved from the male subject. 
The suspect was arrested and charged as a juvenile on 07/05/2017 for Unlawful Carry of a Handgun, Possession of a Stolen Firearm, Possession of a Handgun by a Person Under 18, and Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Berkeley Supt. Ingram Faces Interesting District


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Don't you like the sound of a superintendent who began his career teaching English and Latin where he graduated from high school? So what if Berkeley County recruited him from only 100 miles away. Who decided that Lowcountry superintendents need to come from as far away as possible anyway?

And we're still wondering about former Superintendent Brenda Blackburn, touted as the best thing since sliced bread, who resigned after stories about the FBI probe of the district's finances broke. 

Speaking of FBI probes, the former chief financial officer is still helping with its inquiries, is he? When will the other shoe drop?

New Superintendent Eddie Ingram faces an interesting situation in Berkeley County. Let's hope he's up to the challenges ahead.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

CSMS's Tenth Principal Will Get the Job Done


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It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. The Charter School for Math and Science on the peninsula has called its tenth principal, Mary Carmichael, who has had years of experience with the school in other capacities. In fact, she's seen it from outside--as executive director of the Public Charter School Alliance of SC, from the parent's view--with children enrolled at CSMS, and from the PTO's viewpoint--as its president. 

Considering that CSMS takes in students in the sixth grade from 30 incredibly varied county elementary schools, it has continued to perform at a high level. 

"The downtown public school serves grades 6 through 12 and is open to all Charleston County students. It boasts a racially integrated student body and a 90 percent college acceptance rate for its graduates, with about one-quarter of those students becoming the first in their families to pursue higher education."

"David Wolf, a member of the school's charter board, said part of the problem is the sheer difficulty of the job. Because the school operates independently from the Charleston County School District, the principal has to take on a range of responsibilities, from human resource management to textbook selection, that would ordinarily be covered by district office support staff."

"[Melissa] Frasier, last year's interim co-principal, will continue as lead principal, while Carmichael will serve as executive principal and CEO."

Sounds like a plan.

Monday, August 07, 2017

P & C Does Charter School Hatchet Job Again



Why does an article about South Carolina's virtual public charter schools begin with a large picture of  Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos? No reason except to stir up anti-Trump readers. She supports virtual charter schools? So do many others.

The "National Association of Charter School Authorizers" is hardly a well-known or authoritative group when it comes to charter schools in South Carolina. Supposedly South Carolina's public charter school authorization law "could make the state a breeding ground for failing schools." 
Pardon me for a moment.
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We aren't already a breeding ground for failing schools? Could have fooled me!

This "news" article is yet another attempt by our local rag to disparage public charter schools in every possible way. Absolutely no evidence exists to suggest that such schools have been shopping for lower standards here in South Carolina. 

"Erskine College announced July 27 that it had become the first private college in the state to serve as a public charter school authorizer. Program leaders say they want to collaborate with the college's education department and improve opportunities for students in such high-poverty areas as Abbeville County, where the school is located." Golly, that is suspicious!

"Among the first two schools to express an interest in the Charter Institute at Erskine are S.C. Virtual Charter School and Cyber Academy of South Carolina, a pair of online schools that received a warning this spring that their current sponsor might revoke their charters due to years of poor performance that lagged far behind state averages. The two schools enrolled more than 4,000 students and received a combined $33.5 million in state tax funding last school year." Could it be they desire help with meeting their goals? Nah.

Of course, virtual schools have their downside, one of which is the need for major self-discipline that many students lack. Yet these schools also serve a need for many situations where ordinary daily school attendance is not possible.

This is the worst they can dredge up? South Carolina's public charter schools must be doing okay.

The real mystery is why our local paper hates charter schools.

Friday, August 04, 2017

We Have Met Allendale School District, Right in Charleston County!


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The woebegone Allendale County School District contains four schools and about 1400 students. As recently pointed out, "Three of the district’s four schools rate in the bottom 5 percent of schools in the state, which consistently rank at or near the bottom nationwide." This abysmal performance exists AFTER the state department of education supposedly helped the district by an emergency takeover in 1999. Teachers there called that help a disaster. Its school board regained control about 10 years ago. Even though spending per student is almost twice the state average, little has changed in test scores. Now the state office has declared another emergency. Maybe money isn't the answer?

If you live in Charleston County, don't feel superior too fast. Ask the question: does Charleston County have more students than Allendale in district schools that "rate in the bottom 5 percent of schools in the state"?

The answer is "yes."

The Charleston County School District is too complacent in its rankings, forever touting its banner schools, both magnets and those in wealthy neighborhoods. Its students stuck in failing schools are the dirty little secret.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Donate School Supplies to Teacher or Specific School!


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A retired CCSD teacher has some good advice if you wish to donate school supplies. Robin Steinberger, writing in Lowcountry Source:
"As the tax-free weekend approaches this Friday, parents are rushing to buy the needed school supplies required by each school.  They want to save money on back-to-school purchases like clothing, school supplies, electronics and more. I taught in Charleston County middle and high schools for 30 years and spent thousands of dollars of my own money for supplies for my classroom.  Almost all teachers I know have done the same. 
"When a student comes to class without paper and pencil, school work is not going to get done until it is provided.  A student can become disruptive until he/she can get to work, so teachers end up providing the pencil and paper. There are several local programs in the Tri-County area for school supplies to be donated to local needy families. I suggest instead of the supplies being donated to individual families, they should be donated to schools or individual teachers.
"In my experience, the donated supplies go missing after a short period of time, and the teacher is left digging into his or her own pocket.  You may ask, what about the school providing the supplies?  The schools run on very tight budgets and barely have enough money for copy paper and ink.  The solution is to give the supplies to the teacher, who will have them on-hand in the classroom when needed.
"Consider contacting your local school to find out what supplies are needed.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Education Stats Needed on Teenage Shooters


Brandon CookJavare Smith




It's not your imagination: nearly every night on the local news we're treated to mayhem committed by teenagers, some as young as 14! These serious crimes usually get a small paragraph in the paper; after all, unless the teenager is white or lives in an upscale neighborhood, it's business as usual, right? Doesn't concern us, after all.

Wrong. Just wrong. 

It's time to put to bed the idea that low achievement in school only affects other people. How can we get the true effects of low-achievement and dropouts across to the community at large so that the school district must change for the better?

Publicize who these children (yes, children) are. 

First example from last Monday night:

"Brandon Cook, 18, of Wayfield Circle, is charged with one count each of armed robbery and possession of a firearm during a violent crime."

He's 18. Did he graduate from high school? Was he in school last year or a dropout? What was his reading level on the last standardized test he took?

See what I mean? What are the chances that Brandon graduated from high school reading on grade level? What future beckoned for him if he didn't?

Second example from last Sunday afternoon:

"19-year-old Javare Cortez Smith, of Jobee Drive in Charleston, was arrested. North Charleston Police Department spokesman Spencer Pryor said Smith is charged with attempted murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and possession of a stolen firearm. 
"Police said  [17-year-old Tyrese Wanya-Shih] Middlebrooks, the shooting victim, is charged with conspiracy to violate South Carolina narcotics law."

So, was 17-year-old Tyrese planning to enter his senior year at West Ashley High School, or did he drop out years ago when he couldn't read his textbooks? What about Javare? High school graduate?

You tell me.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Back to School Finances


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All's quiet on the school front? Maybe too quiet. With a bit over two weeks to go before school opens in the Lowcountry, the Post & Courier is trying to stir up more trouble for Berkeley County and its ex-chief-financial officer (who's cooperating with an FBI investigation). 

Say, isn't it possible that said FBI investigation could slop over into Charleston County? The counties are contiguous, after all. Nah, couldn't happen. Why, finances in the Charleston County School District have always been as clean as the driven snow. 

Where are the CCSD chief financial officers of yesteryear?

Friday, June 30, 2017

CCSD's Progressive Discipline = Progressive Disaster?


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Principals and teachers dare not complain. Yet sometimes we actually hear from students who want to learn in an orderly classroom. Here's what Gerrida Postlewait "listened" to:
"Students from West Ashley High praised a few school leaders as mentors and said the school feels like a family — but they also complained about the district's new Progressive Discipline Plan, which they felt had led to a particularly unruly year marred by a series of fights on campus. 
"West Ashley senior Siara Spratt said the school had seven fights in a single day this year. She said a handful of repeat offenders were to blame, and she felt the gradual punishments and interventions meted out under the new plan were sending the wrong message. 
"Just keep giving them strikes, and they're going to keep on doing it," Siara 
Here's what the student is talking about: high-school fights as a Level 2 category:

http://www.postandcourier.com/archives/charleston-schools-may-use-new-discipline-plan/

How about the effects on learning? Nah, not so important.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CCSD School Board Pay: Too Much Too Soon

Flying under the radar may be fine when attacking the enemy, but the Charleston County taxpayers deserve better treatment. Let me be among the first to say that the elected members of the Charleston County School Board are underpaid. However, the rush to fix the problem will create more furor than the increase is worth. Let's slow down!

What a strange coincidence that the two school board members who voted against the salary are two of the most well-heeled among the group. No, it's not. 

People who are not independently wealthy should be able to serve too.

 More importantly, those currently on the school board should NOT vote themselves an immediate increase. Each needs to run for re-election first. This requirement would also alleviate the need to hit this year's budget with a half-a-million increase. The cost could be met in phases. Certainly, voters should have the right to say who gets the new increase.

Second, missing board meetings should hurt paid members in their pocketbooks. Why not make the salary less and the pay for each meeting more? What if members received $300 per meeting?

Given time, the board should forge a really effective increase that would encourage those who are qualified to serve in the future.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Teachers Seen, Not Heard, in Charleston County Schools

There's no secret about it: any teacher who voices an opinion in the Charleston County School District does so at her own peril--of her job. That's policy. 

It's also no secret that the responsibility for whether students learn or not now falls on teachers instead of parents. What a thought! How could parents be responsible for little Henry's lack of vocabulary, incorrigible behavior, and vulgar language? Hence, the value-added factory-widget-production-line mindset of educrats. If only that teacher had correctly taught poor little Henry, his test scores would have soared.

Yeah, right.

Every single assistant superintendent, principal, and assistant principal should be teaching in a classroom as part of his or her job description. Not only would teacher shortages be relieved, but experience on the front lines would speak more loudly to them than any "listening session"! 

Ah, yes. When pigs fly.Image result for teaching memes funny



Wednesday, June 07, 2017

CCSD's Postlewait Suffering From TMB*

Anybody noticed a communications gap in the Charleston County School District lately? If you haven't, go back to sleep.

The rest of us should recognize the disease for what it is: *too much bureaucracy (TMB).

Time to slough off the layers of assistant superintendents and associate superintendents and all those other positions remaining between principals and the superintendent. How about the super's actually supervising the principals directly? Could it be that perceived lack of communication directly results from her distance from the classroom?

Monday, June 05, 2017

Always Hope for Sanders-Clyde


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Here is a Charleston County elementary school where not a single student reads at grade level or above. Did you think that was even possible? The history of Sanders-Clyde is fraught with problems, not the least of which was the massive fraud in test scores perpetrated by a principal about a decade ago. 

No one can accuse the Charleston County School District of old or neglected classroom space here. This school belongs on a different "Corridor of Shame," an academic one.

What interventions can force this failing school to succeed? Surely one should be continuity in leadership! The school has run through five principals in the last seven years. Roshon Bradley, who took over the school as interim in March and now has the official position, needs all the help he can get. One "help" should be at least a three-year stay. 

This native New Yorker has many plans to address the problems that poverty brings to the school: a parent resource center, a beefed-up student clinic with a clothing closet, a new program (ROOTS, LLC) headed by colleague Christopher Cuby, and support from the Charleston Promise Neighborhood. Supplying basic needs for students is, well, basic. However, one need is to prevent the teacher burn-out that has produced one of the highest teacher turnover rates in the state. Teacher support and encouragement should be near the top of Bradley's concerns.

Students who cannot read well cannot succeed in high school or in life. Kudos to Bradley and his team for accepting what has often been a thankless task.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Does Anyone Else in CCSD Have This Much Common Sense?

Maybe others hold similar opinions. Maybe each is afraid to speak out for fear of losing a job. Maybe. For sure, the present Charleston County Superintendent of Education isn't one of them. 

Educational experimentation has stalked victims for decades. We've had teaching sets instead of multiplication in elementary math; allowing misspelling without correction, even dropping phonics entirely in reading and grammar in writing. As Jody Stallings explains, experiments have taken on a whole new dimension.
Teacher to Parent - Generation Guinea Pig
By Jody Stallings Special to the Moultrie News May 31, 2017  (0)

Q. I see a lot of things that concern me about my child’s education. Things seemed to make a lot more sense when I was in school. How is it different for Generation Z, and what is their prognosis?
A. This generation could end up as the smartest, most successful generation in our history. Or it could end up in a grotesque disaster of epic proportions. It will be a long while before we find out. That’s because today’s students are being treated as subjects in one risky experiment after another, and no one can know where it will all lead.
A more appropriate name for Generation Z might be Generation Guinea Pig. Consider just a few of the experimental shifts in education during the last decade:

Schools sink billions into the latest screen technologies like iPads as substitutes for traditional teaching methods. Coupled with loosening the restraints on Smartphone usage during school hours, this has caused an explosion in the amount of time our children interact with screens. While providing zero evidence of an increase in learning, a stream of deepening research warns of dire consequences for students in our rush to screen proliferation.
School districts are rolling back the use of meaningful consequences for bad behavior. They are opting for untested replacements like “Restorative Justice,” which mandates that disruptive children remain in class, teachers apologize for their role in student misbehavior, and students psychoanalyze their actions in group therapy. More motivated by the desire to avoid lawsuits from the Department of Education than concern for children’s welfare, districts have no idea what impact this will have on the education and character development of students.
An obsession with data has led to Generation Guinea Pig being being perhaps the most tested generation in world history. As a result, Big Education companies are churning out experimental programs in a race to inch the data upwards even a fraction, and districts are buying them up like snake oil. What effect this will have on our children is anybody’s guess.
We continue to experiment with drugs without sober consideration of the possible repercussions. Millions of children are prescribed pharmaceuticals to control hyperactivity, often without trying other methods first. Though the CDC assures us this is safe, they also warn of possible long-term side effects like addiction, abuse, and an increased risk of heart and psychiatric problems. Many of the drugs haven’t been in use long enough to know their ultimate impact. Meanwhile, schools rake in revenue acquired as states rush to legalize marijuana, exposing children to an approving culture of cannabis-infused lollipops and Gummy Bears, all while science cautions that in adolescents it likely increases the risk of schizophrenia, lower IQ, addiction, and behavior disorders.
In the past, students who failed through lack of effort were required to go to summer school, retake courses, or, occasionally, even repeat a grade. Students of Generation Guinea Pig, however, are often promoted from one level to the next without inconvenience until they reach high school. By that time, failure has become entrenched, and rather than hit the books to earn their diploma, many drop out. What long-term impact this learned failure will have on our society remains to be seen.
But I’ve barely scratched the surface. Think of all the other experimentation today’s students are exposed to. Are we confident that personalized learning and flipped classrooms are doing more good than harm? Do you know if your child has been helped or hurt by the elimination of fact-based learning, cursive writing, keyboarding, civics, industrial arts, or health? Do you have any idea if Common Core standards, data-based questioning, or RIT Band instruction is aiding your child? Are you confident that PBIS, the Lucy Calkins Project, Edgenuity, or Springboard is preparing children for a successful future? Do we really know if specialized magnet and charter schools are improving or hurting our children’s education? Were you even aware that your child will be subjected to many if not most of these experiments at some time in their k-12 experience, usually simultaneously?
Good grief, where does it end?
Innovation and experimentation are hallmarks of progress, and probably many of the things I’ve mentioned are good, but how can we tell? It feels like we’ve reached a point where experimentation is so prevalent that there’s no possible way to know which innovations are working and which ones are killing us.
By all means, we should continue to search for something better, but experimentation in education, like in any of the sciences, ought to be targeted, methodical, and evaluated. We shouldn’t binge indiscriminately on novelty like a pack of lost, starving wolves.
Loving our children should demand care and deliberation in how we teach and reach them. G.K. Chesterton wrote that education is “the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.” If that’s truly the case, then it may be time to do some serious soul-searching. 
Jody Stallings has been an award-winning teacher in Charleston since 1992. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Someone Knows Who: Fire Set in Charter School Bathroom

Maybe he or she had an exam this morning. Let's hope someone who loves his or her school has the guts to tell who set the fire at the Charleston School for Math and Science. The little miscreant could move on to bigger and nastier pranks.
Intentionally set fire breaks out in Charleston Charter School for Math and Science bathroom  By Jack Evans

Toilet paper dispensers in two bathroom stalls acted as fuel for a fire Tuesday morning at the Charleston Charter School for Math and Science, officials said.

The fire was set intentionally, Charleston Fire Department Deputy Fire Marshal Rick Anewalt said. Crews responded at about 10 a.m. to the school, located at 1002 King Street, and extinguished the fire.

An evacuation was already underway when crews arrived, and no injuries were reported. The incident is still under investigation.

Though the fire was contained to the bathroom, Anewalt said water from the sprinkler system caused more serious damage when it overflowed the bathroom and went into the second-floor hallway.

Anewalt said he didn't want to speculate on the financial extent of the damages, but "it's definitely going to be more than $10,000."

Except for one area damaged by smoke and water, the school was reoccupied and remained open for the rest of the day, according to a Facebook post from the fire department. Fire investigators, along with school officials and the Charleston Police Department, are reviewing the incident.

Mary Carmichael, executive director of the Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina, said in an email statement the school will be open Wednesday.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Make It Stop! CCSD's Postlewait Misjudges Community Reaction to Change

No one, least of all yours truly, denies that the Charleston County School District has a fraught load of problems that the sainted previous superintendent left for her successor. During Gerrita Postlewait's short tenure, she had seemed to understand how to proceed without getting stuck in the mud. No more.

What caused the superintendent to behave as she has is unclear. Certainly, the abysmal scores on an unbiased national achievement test (the ACT) may well have been a factor. Her initial request to the Board of Trustees to hand her the power to hire and fire principals passed with barely a discussion. The new meeting regime with only one per month meant for the public at large displaced input from the community but calmed the waters. Now her efforts to change the educational climate in some failing schools have blown up in her face. You could almost feel sorry for her--until you remember that she's paid over $200,000 per year to steer our schools in the right direction.

Who would want to be a teacher in Charleston County? Perhaps a glutton for punishment! So many flaws have appeared in the value-added system of teacher evaluation that most districts have already abandoned it. CCSD has come late to the party. What schools need is effective leadership from principals. Any teacher worth her salt knows that the principal makes or breaks the school climate. Question: is CCSD's system of assistant superintendents allowing its principals to do their jobs?

We might as well have a value-added system of parent evaluation, for all the good it would do.

Data driven? 

How about common-sense driven? 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

CCSD's Early College High School on Palmer Campus

"Applications are being accepted for the Charleston County School District's new Early College High School, which opens in the fall and will let students take college-credit courses through Trident Technical College.
If students stay on track, they can graduate high school with as much as an associate degree completed.
Kinda surprised that the NAACP hasn't accused the Charleston County School District of trying to take good students away from Burke. Still a good idea.
“We are looking for those kids who are hard workers and have the ability to get the work done,” said Kim Wilson, the school district's executive director of secondary learning.
“They just need some support in place to help them be successful at whatever they decide to do, whether it’s a four-year college, two-year college, they go in to the workforce right after high school or they join the military.”
The school will accept up to 100 students for the ninth grade only. It will add grades 10 through 12 in the coming years.
Modeled after a similar Horry County program, the school will be housed on Trident Tech's Palmer Campus in downtown Charleston. Students will take high school courses from a small staff while pursuing college-credit courses at Trident.
According to the school district, the school is "designed to encourage student groups who are underrepresented in post-secondary education, such as students of color, English language learner (ELL) students, students from low-income families, and prospective first-generation college students." 
The district has budgeted $647,000 for Early College High School to cover its costs, including administrative staff, transportation, supplies and one teacher each in English, math, science and social studies. That funding will also cover tuition for Trident Tech courses.
The district will provide transportation to the school, and students will be allowed to participate in arts and athletic programs at their neighborhood schools.
To apply, go to ccsdschools.com and click on "Early College High School Application" under the Quick Links sidebar. Applications are due June 1.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Prosecute Former Estill Principal Over Sex Activity in Middle School

What happened in Estill Middle School four years ago should make every parent and taxpayer angry. We should especially be really, really enraged that no one has held an adult  responsible for activities that harmed the students under the school's care. Who was in charge of the school, the principal or its preteen students?

The school may have the worst physical environment, the highest percentage of free-lunch students, and be nearly 100 percent black. None of that matters if the adults in charge are in fact doing their jobs. Annoying as it is, we can understand that prosecutors could not bring a strong case of criminal conduct against the preteens; however, the same is not true of the principal and teachers. Universities may have abjured in loco parentis, but middle schools do not have that choice. Clearly, this activity was allowed by negligence.

You have to wonder, as I do, how much the activity of the previous school resource officer, now convicted of sexual assault of a student at the school, contributed to overall problems. No one was paying attention to his suspect activities either. Quintina Moore, the school resource officer who replaced him, at least had her head on straight and reported what was happening around her. She must be incredibly frustrated that no action against anyone concerned has taken place.

Well, perhaps one action happened. The principal of four years ago is now the assistant principal. 

Yes, you read that correctly. You can't make this stuff up. Why has Hampton County District 2 allowed Synetria Hawkins to continue supervising the students she failed? Must be related to Mr. Big.

No one can be held responsible for all of the ways in which preteens can hurt each other. However, providing a climate and lack of supervision that allows them to do so without repercussions should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. Ms. Hawkins loses her certification for life? Good.


Thursday, May 04, 2017

Let's Go For It: Trump Admin Plans to Promote School Choice


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People who don't support school choice have never faced sending a child to a school where discipline is poor and learning just about impossible. So my theory is that they wish for poor children to be stuck in those schools where they won't be seen or heard.

We have our own schools in Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties that parents dread--or would dread if they knew what really comes down. 

Any push for school choice is a push for equity in educational opportunity for the poor and disadvantaged. All children can achieve given the right environment for learning.

And while we're at it, make sure that those students have access to transportation to schools of choice. Without transport, there is no choice.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

CCSD's Delay, Linger, & Wait on Lincoln HS Replacement

Wasn't it a done deal? Who else in Charleston County thought that the school district was all ready to build a new high school on the land it identified for us as an alternative to the now-closed Lincoln High School? Haven't various members told us just that for almost a year?

So it came as a shock to learn that the district has now retreated to square one because the land--which apparently was never purchased--consists mainly of wetlands. Too bad we're not playing a board game here.. Someone could roll the dice to jump to the patch of land that would be adequate. 

Why did it take so long to identify the property as useless? Why is the present property owner's name top secret? Why has CCSD treated that end of the county in such a careless manner?  It takes years and millions of dollars to build a new high school. 

There'd better be a Plan B!

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/charleston-county-school-district-s-awendaw-land-purchase-falls-through/

Friday, April 28, 2017

Time for German in Charleston County Schools?





Spotted on Palmetto Commerce Parkway
in North Charleston

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reducing Federal Meddling in Local Schools

What lasting effects the latest education executive order issued from the White House will achieve, only time will tell. However, most reasonable adults agree that edicts from the US Department of Education for too long have shoved one-size-fits-all down citizens' throats. So it is heartening that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos must "identify areas where Washington has overstepped its legal authority in education, and modify and repeal regulations and guidance" not compliant. 

We can hope such actions will decimate the number of bureaucrats now working in the Taj Mahal on Calhoun Street but don't place bets. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

CCSD's Academic Magnet Knocked Out by Charter Competition


Image result for "basis scottsdale" high school

Actually  the Charleston County School District's Academic Magnet dropped out of US News & World Report's 10 best public high schools. It's all a numbers game, folks, so don't take the news too seriously. Nothing suggests that AMHS is headed downhill.

However, of note is the reason that AMHS fell to No. 11: public charter high schools run by an Arizona for-profit organization known as BASIS. BASIS high schools seem to be both proliferating and performing. Amid their successes are the usual complaints pointing to high dropout rates and under-representation of minorities. Anything sound familiar?

Friday, April 21, 2017

One Historian's View of American Public Education: True?

"The main function of American public education is to make sure that the talented poor do not get a good education and are not able to rise and compete with the class that can afford private schooling, a class noted for its sterling verbal commitment to egalitarian public education."--Clyde Wilson

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Stallings Hits Another Educational Home Run

Jody Stallings has been an award-winning teacher in Charleston since 1992. He has served as Charleston County Teacher of the Year, Walmart Teacher of the Year, and CEA runner-up for National Educator of the Year. He currently teaches English at Moultrie Middle School and is director of the Charleston Teacher Alliance. This column is from the Moultrie News.

Teacher to Parent — Hold students accountable for their own learning
"Q. Recently I’ve heard of different districts using test scores as part of teacher evaluations. As a parent, I don’t see anything wrong with this. Why shouldn’t teachers be held accountable for test scores?

"A. I guess it sounds good on the surface. If a patient dies, it must be the doctor’s fault, right? Seems legit.

"As a teacher, I can tell you the one data point that wildly fluctuates more than any other is student test scores. As research (and any teacher) can tell you, a teacher whose scores are in the top 25 percent this year is very likely to be in the bottom 25 percent the next. Same teacher. Same curriculum. Different results. Weird, huh? How can this be? It’s almost as if student achievement has more to do with students than teachers. But I kid.

"Anyway, the idea of using test scores for evaluations has been thoroughly discredited about a hundred times for about a dozen years. The most notable study was an Economic Policy Report in 2010. That was seven years ago, but we’re still trying to ride the crippled horse. Why do districts keep coming back to something that is so problematic? I don’t know. Maybe because some elected leaders don’t have any better ideas and it seems like a quick and cheap fix. Or maybe it’s supposed to be motivational or something. You know, like “We’re going to throw one hostage off the plane every hour until we get what we want.” That sort of thing. As if teachers are just sandbagging it, saving their energy to bask in their money baths after school like Scrooge McDuck.

"A better approach — at least from a teacher’s perspective — would be to put policies in place that actually help us do the tough job of trying to educate students. If this were to happen, then maybe you really could hold teachers responsible for test scores because we would actually have the support we need to teach effectively. At a minimum, that would be these four things:

"1. Hold students accountable for their own learning. Teachers are often pressured to pass students who fail, and students who do fail are sent up to the next grade anyway. Each year this problem is compounded. There’s not even summer school anymore. How can you hold teachers responsible for educating students who have been groomed to believe there are no consequences for failure?

"2. Implement a discipline plan that works so teachers can concentrate more on teaching and less on classroom management. How can you hold teachers responsible for educating students when classrooms are out of control and teachers have little power to ensure that the focus is on learning?

"3. Hold parents accountable for supporting their children. They have vastly more influence on their kids than teachers ever will. Some leaders laud the success of charter schools, but they overlook the fact that those charter schools mandate parental support, and if it isn't given, those students can be removed from the school. How can you hold teachers responsible for educating students when their own parents don’t make them study, read, do homework, behave, or even show up?

"4. Give teachers more autonomy. It’s ironic when districts denigrate teachers for getting bad results when it was the districts that came up with the teaching methodologies to begin with. To paraphrase a famous coach, districts want to hold teachers accountable for how the meal tastes, but they don’t want to let us pick the recipes or shop for the groceries. How can you hold teachers responsible for educating students when, in many cases, their techniques, materials, textbooks, technology, pacing, and strategies are all mandated by someone else?

"I wouldn’t file any of these solutions under “Innovative.” I’d put them in the dusty, long-lost file labeled “Common Sense” that somewhere along the line fell behind the cabinet. Maybe it’s time we picked it up, dusted it off, rolled up our sleeves, and got to work.

"Wait a second. Common sense? Hard work? Hmm. Maybe it’s innovative after all."

Does anyone else wonder why Stallings's columns don't appear in the Post & Courier as well?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Early College High in CCSD's District 20 to Compete with Burke?

According to the P & C, "A new high school offering courses for college credit is set to open this fall in Charleston County, possibly at Trident Technical College's campus on the East Side of downtown Charleston."

Possibly? Isn't there a rather large totally renovated high school building barely in use only one and a half miles away? You know, the elephant in the room?
"Charleston County School District leaders say the planned Early College High School will put students on track to graduate high school with an associate degree or industry certification. Graduating with as many as 60 college credit hours already earned through Trident courses, students could save money on college tuition or head straight into a career."
"Basically we're blending high school and college into one," said Richard Gordon, executive director of Career and Technology Education. . . . The school could open in August with as many as 100 ninth-grade students attending classes at Trident's Palmer Campus. The school plans to add grades in subsequent years until it serves grades nine through 12. 
"Modeled after similar programs in Horry County, Berkeley County and Dorchester District 2, the Early College High School aims to attract first-generation college students and students who score between the 40th and 60th percentile on eighth-grade standardized tests. . . .Gordon said he would begin to "recruit like crazy" in middle schools as soon as the board gives the school and its location final approval. 
Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait said she hopes to expand the program eventually.
"Ultimately, it would be our goal to have an Early College on each of Trident Technical College's campuses throughout the district," Postlewait said. "I hope that we think about it as the first effort, not to exclude anyone."
The idea sounds great, but--are we giving up on Burke High School? Won't this program entice away those remaining students reading on grade level? Let's hope someone has thought this through completely.

Monday, April 17, 2017

CCSD's Suspension Stats Don't Tell the Tale


Image result for how to lie with statistics cartoons

What difference does it make if one Charleston County school has recorded more suspensions than another? Are we to assume that the fewer the suspensions, the better the discipline, or what? Meeting Street Schools programs suspend more students: does that statistic mean that its students need more discipline or that discipline at those schools is Draconian? If there were no suspensions at North Charleston High, does that mean there was no discipline either?

Let's put this another way: would statistics matter if Mt. Pleasant Academy had a much higher suspension rate that Meeting Street @ Brentwood, or vice versa? Why?

Trying to make an issue out of suspension rates is a red herring. What really matters is learning. If "sweating the small stuff" leads to a better learning environment, who's to quarrel? Adherents can massage statistics to support almost anything. Keep in mind that old book, How to Lie with Statistics. It should be required reading for all.

Or as Darrell Huff puts it, "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics."

Friday, April 07, 2017

CCSD Needs New Evaluation of Principals, not Teachers

Evaluating teachers on improvements in student test scores will never work. Some states have already discovered that truth. You might as well plan to grade parents on their child's improvement. In fact, that might be a better measure!

Students are not widgets and schools not factories. The sooner school districts learn those facts, the better.

On the other hand, Charleston County School Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait cited some problematic causes of student non-achievement: "Some teachers have given all of their students As, even those who failed the End-of-Course tests, she said. Entire schools, including the now-closed Lincoln High, had an unwritten policy of never giving a grade below a 60." 

At Lincoln High a principal-who-cannot-be-named set a policy regarding grades. Teachers had no choice but to follow it. Our glorious past superintendent allowed the policy to continue or, more likely, with her horde of associate superintendents never knew what went on. Whose fault is that?

Teachers giving all of their students As have given up. Who are the principals-who-cannot-be-held-responsible who allowed this travesty of education to occur? Does CCSD employ principals who believe that everybody deserves an A regardless of achievement?

No one should wonder why the shortage of teachers continues to grow. When teachers have respect both in and out of the classroom that will begin to change. Of course, teachers need evaluation and advice. Apparently, on the front lines in CCSD principals have dropped the ball.

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/charleston-county-teachers-put-on-notice-by-surprise-evaluation-changes/


Monday, April 03, 2017

The Lowcountry's Glorified Remedial High School, Trident Tech

No one doubts the necessity of Trident Technical College. Its programs from nursing to policing are essential to the tri-county area. However, the failure of tri-county's high schools to educate their graduates has forced TTC to become what it was never meant to be: a remedial high school. 

The shocking statistic that ninety percent of high school graduates entering TTC must take remedial math should shake up our local school boards. That percentage doesn't even count the graduates who don't meet TTC's low entrance requirements! 

Where's the outrage? 

These students, who by and large come from the lower economic rungs of our local communities must now pay for classes to learn what they should have learned in high school for free. 

How about a class action lawsuit against the school districts of Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley Counties? Where are the PI attorneys when we need them? These students must shell out dollars they probably have borrowed and delay entering the work force, with accompanying delay in wages, to make up deficiencies their high school diplomas promised they wouldn't have.

Don't kid yourselves. It's our loss as well as theirs. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

CCSD's Hollinshed and Caesar's Wife


Image result for caesar's wife

A decade ago when chairman of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, current Charleston County School Board member Kevin Hollinshed used his county credit card to pay for an upgrade to first class and Indianapolis Colts tickets. After an Ethics Commission investigation cleared him, partly because the commission had no written policy on credit card use, you would think that he would be extra careful not to run afoul again. Not so.

Hollinshed's excuse for not filing his financial information in his 2016 campaign for School Board is that it's the computer's fault. Somehow all the information he entered on line did not appear in the records kept by the State Ethics Commission. However, no campaign reports from Hollinshed were ever received. You can miss a "button" to click once, but if you miss it every time, something else is wrong. If the school district had never notified him of his non-compliance, would he ever have reported?

No one is suggesting Hollinshed had nefarious contributions for his campaign. Slipshod records are more likely. That doesn't bode well for his oversight of spending as a board member. 

Keep in mind what's going on next door with the Berkeley County School Board. Its members had no idea, no idea what was happening to funds over the course of several years. It's not a pretty story.

"Caesar's wife must be above suspicion." Let's hope Hollinshed takes notice that he now has two strikes. What will people think if there's a third?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Berkeley County School District Soap Opera Continues


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We now learn that BCSD's former treasurer's brother-in-law's firm was financial advisor to the district. Thomas continues to cooperate with the FBI. He hid cost overruns in the building program by dipping surreptitiously into reserves. And no one knew. They are shocked, shocked!

Well, someone knew. Cost overruns or kickbacks? And why did it take persistent FOIA requests to uncover the dirty deeds? Does not the school board have some fiduciary responsibility?

We haven't heard the last of this iceberg. Inquiring minds still ask, "Why is it the FBI and not the IRS leading the investigation? Money laundering? Interstate transfer of funds? Kidnapping?

All we need next are sex, lies, and videotape.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hold SC Governors Responsible for Education

Have you ever seen anyone run for governor without promising to improve the dismal state of education in South Carolina? Me neither. That focus is the result of voters wishing to see improvement, what else? The reality is that the governor of South Carolina has little authority, if any, over our state's education.

However, again this year our state legislature has the opportunity to give the governor more power. Why would it want to do that? So that whoever is governor can take responsibility for the state education department by appointing its superintendent. What possible advantage derives from a superintendent independent of the state's governor?

Right now, the state superintendent of education runs independently for office on a party ticket the way the lieutenant governor used to do. That process makes the superintendent beholden to political supporters who may not support the governor's agenda. Yet the voters still believe the governor has the responsibility for what happens.

The governor should appoint the state superintendent as is done in 36 other states. It's time to modernize our statewide political system.

Image result for responsibility cartoon images

Monday, March 20, 2017

CCSD: Capital Sales Proceeds Should Not Fill Operations Budget!




Image result for archer school charleston sc

The Chicora "Graded" School building deteriorated for years while owned by the Charleston County School District. That was then. The present CCSD administration actually pays to maintain unused buildings, or at least, it gives that impression to taxpayers. A case in point is the Archer campus downtown, claimed to cost $18,000 per year to maintain. 

Have you ever driven past that building? Built in 1936 for black elementary students, it has undergone renovations for use as "swing space" as the district spent its way into multiple new buildings unhampered by lack of capital funds. Now CCSD hopes to sell it and the city block it occupies. The sale of the Laing School property in Mt. Pleasant for $12 million has the administration salivating for more. 

Just a simple query before the district starts devouring itself: into which budget did the $12 million go? In the past, such windfalls (if you can call them that) ended up in the operations budget. How about this one? In other words, is the desire to sell off surplus buildings seen as a money-saving gesture or as a way to build up the operations budget?

As any savvy investor knows, living off capital leads to disaster in the long run.
Image result for snake devouring itself cartoon

Friday, March 17, 2017

Shame on CCSD and North Charleston over Chicora


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The building rots while politicians twiddle their thumbs.

How did the deterioration of Chicora Elementary School happen? Who dropped the ball and allowed thieves to scour all copper from the building? Who allowed the building to deteriorate to its current dilapidated state? Why has nothing happened to secure the building since the City of North Charleston took possession from CCSD?

No one should evince shock over the Charleston County School District's allowing the building to crumble. That's the modus operandi of CCSD regarding older schools. However, why has the City of North Charleston allowed the building to sit as "an eyesore and a threat to public safety" in the middle of one of its neighborhoods? Apparently Mayor Summey has other priorities, such as golf courses.

A reputable organization has proposed a plan to renovate and reuse the almost century-old building, when no one else has come forward. And the City delays.

Do we really need more foot dragging?

How to Spend $40 Million on Charleston County Schools

Gerrita Postlewait may rue the day she asked administrators for ideas on spending an almost $40-million-dollar "windfall" due the district after the termination of a special TIF. It's bad enough that one educrat proposed hiring the district's own "journalist." Now Luther Seabrook's Letter to the Editor points out that after saving $18 million by closing an all-black school, the district feels no compunction to address the needs of black students with the much larger $40 million. He points out that the district caused hardship for the affected students.

Actually, the Charleston County School District causes hardship for every black student stuck in a district school with lower expectations for achievement. These students enter high school doomed to fail if standards are raised there. Seabrook's suggestion for spending the millions on "reading and learning" laboratories in each of CCSD's failing elementary schools should rank high on the Superintendent's list of priorities. 

Shouldn't it?

See http://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/letter-failing-schools/

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Berkeley County School District Puzzles


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New Jersey's evenly-balanced political-party split used to provide so many political scandals: as power switched sides, opponents threw corrupt politicians to the wolves. Now I'm beginning to wonder the same about the Berkeley County School District.

Its battle over the Yes4Schools fiasco has played out in the courts for several years. Now we are treated to the resignation of the BCSD chief financial officer, who somehow forgot which account was designated for several hundred thousand dollars. Oops!

But wait!

Its financial officer, who also oversaw capital expenditures, seems to be cooperating with the feds. He hasn't been charged with anything yet. And it's not the IRS that's unhappy: it's the FBI! 

Gets stranger, doesn't it?

Does anyone in Berkeley County believe the recent resignation of its school superintendent is not connected with these financial misdoings? 

This scandal could have occurred in the Charleston County School District, if forensic audits proposed over the last decade had gone forward. Instead, multiple players were let off the hook. Maybe they knew where the bodies were buried!