Monday, October 16, 2017

Historically Black Neighborhood Gets Boeing's Support for Schools


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Nelson Rivers hopes to keep Liberty Hill a black community; Boeing's inadvertently trying to help.

"Liberty Hill was bought in 1864 by a free black man and his wife, who sold it to four families whose descendants still live there. But the neighborhood is now surrounded in the East Montague area by new development, much of which is unaffordable to those longtime residents, Rivers said."

If left to market forces, Liberty Hill might become unaffordable to its present residents; it might even become integrated, or the latest buzzword, "diverse." Rivers is struck with horror at the thought of gentrification. 

With the assistance of Rivers's Charity Foundation, the Charleston County School District, and Boeing, "special programs in science, technology, engineering and math at three schools serving the city's Liberty Hill community: North Charleston Elementary, Morningside Middle and North Charleston High" are planned.

"The education initiative is just one of four parts in a larger community revitalization effort called Transformation: Liberty Hill. Boeing, the Charleston County School District, the Coastal Community Foundation and the Charity Foundation are partnering with a mission 'to transform Liberty Hill into a community of multi-generational and economically stable individuals and families,' according to a press release."

"Under the agreement, Boeing will contribute $150,000 to the STEM project this school year, with the option to extend the program based on results. The school district will contribute $350,000, which a district spokesman said was approved in its 2017-18 budget."

"The money will support the use of STEM curricula from Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit that provides programs for schools across the country." 

The edublob gets its hands in the till as usual.

"North Charleston High already has a Project Lead the Way program. Boeing’s donation will support that as well as new Project Lead the Way initiatives that began this school year at North Charleston Elementary and Morningside Middle.Middle schoolers will use a curriculum called PLTW Gateway to Technology."

"With the agreement signed and workforce development in place, organizers will focus on the next component, affordable housing, Rivers said. The community has more than 240 vacant tracts, he said. About 160 homes are owner-occupied, and another 100 are lived in by non-owners."

"'Frankly, that sets Liberty Hill up to be gentrified, and that's what we are concerned about,' Rivers said."

"North Charleston and North Charleston Housing Authority currently have few affordable housing programs, but Rivers said they have shown interest in his group's plans."

Few programs because North Charleston already has plenty of affordable housing? More than any other area close to downtown?

"The plan calls for buying lots to build or renovate with a "Liberty Hill home," a 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home with a garage, he said." 

Who's paying?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Clear Bag Policy Headed for CCSD Schools?


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Once upon a time the only bags in classrooms were pocketbooks and pencil cases. Today's classroom has such large book bags that walking the aisles can be a hazard. Can anyone else remember carrying books openly or balancing them on a hip? Everyone could see what you carried on your person. Not so now.

The necessity for clear bags in the classroom has crept up on us gradually. The recent decision by Goose Creek High School to require clear bags at football games is the beginning of the end of hiding stuff in book bags. That stuff can be as innocuous as toy cars and dolls and as dangerous as guns and ammunition and drugs. 

It's a "safety measure" whose time has come. Best to phase it in when students change schools--from elementary to middle, from middle to high school. 

No kidding. Such a policy could avoid future tragedies.

“'As Goose Creek High School is currently our largest high school, it was the best location to pilot this new safety measure,' said Tim Knight, Berkeley County School District’s security coordinator."

"The procedure allows staff and on site law enforcement to easily identify prohibited items, reducing delays that result from bag searches, Knight said. 'We want our fans and guests to enter and enjoy our facilities with the peace of mind that we are taking proactive steps necessary to ensure their safety.'”

"Prohibited items include weapons, drugs, alcohol, tobacco and electronic cigarettes.Goose Creek's move is similar to those at many college football games, including Charleston Southern University, which implemented a clear bag policy this year." 

"In January, a student with a handgun and .32-caliber bullets was arrested at Goose Creek High. Last month, two students were caught with guns in separate incidents at North Charleston High — including one teen who suffered a gunshot wound when his firearm discharged in a classroom. Also, a Stall student was arrested after a Facebook post showed him brandishing a gun in the school's bathroom."

'Nuff said.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Make Vetting of Student Teachers Mandatory


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When a school district hires a teacher, all kinds of background checks are required. What happens if the person in the classroom is a local student performing "student teaching" requirements for a teaching certificate? 

What happened recently at Stratford High School in Berkeley County suggests such persons may be slipping under the radar. Note that the local rag carefully omits the name of the university the suspect attends. Anyone not Google-challenged can affirm it as Charleston Southern.

"A 23-year-old man interning as a student teacher at Stratford High School has been accused of sexually assaulting a student, authorities say."

"Kendrick Rashard Roach Jr., of Field Pine Avenue in Hopkins, was arrested Monday by Goose Creek police. He is charged with one count of sexual battery with a student 16 or 17 years of age, without force or coercion."

"Roach was a student teacher for the school's physical education program and oversaw the girl's class, according to an affidavit. Police allege he made sexual advances, which included touching her buttocks during class. On Sept. 14, the girl said Roach followed her and a witness to a vehicle in the parking lot after school and got into the back seat. He is accused of touching her inappropriately, exposing himself and asking her to perform oral sex."

"He has not returned to Stratford, according to administrators who learned of the allegations."

Charleston Southern University and the Berkeley County School District need to study this incident carefully. Lawsuits.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"Diversity & Cultural Competency" Coming to Charleston County Schools

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It seems that the Charleston County School District will soon be on the cutting edge of liberal think.

In a little-noticed addendum to last month's meeting, the School Board "voted to engage with Clemson University to create a Diversity and Cultural Competence Assessment, which will analyze the 'climate of diversity and inclusion' and identify sources of tension in the district, according to board documents."

No wonder so many parents are choosing to home school in the district, and not merely for academic progress!

Ready to claim your identity? Ready for your child to claim his or her identity?

Presumably the Superintendent proposed the assessment, and the Board went along with it because no one wanted to be accused of prejudice against "diversity and cultural competence."

As they say, "Garbage in, garbage out."


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

SC to "Hold Back" Worst Non-Readers in Third Grade


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Everything-old-is-new-again department

A few of us are old enough to remember when students who failed to thrive in one grade were forced to repeat it. Was that fifty years ago? 

Our state legislature has addressed the problem of high school freshmen reading on the fourth-grade level or below with the "new" idea that "Starting in the 2017-18 school year under the Read to Succeed Act, third-graders can be held back if they score below a certain threshold on the reading portion of the state-administered standardized test." Such decisions were once the bailiwick of teachers and principals.

But enough of that.

Five percent of all third graders met the criteria for retention. Of those, some possibly will advance based on performance in a summer program or fulfilling "certain exemptions."

Let's argue that only three percent actually repeat the grade. That three percent will not be evenly distributed throughout the state or even a particular school system. What will happen in the Charleston County School District's most failing elementary schools when the percentage approaches a quarter of the class?

CCSD's response will be interesting.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Three School Board Members Defend CCSD's Postlewait


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Was there ever a Charleston County School Superintendent who wasn't under attack? Most of them deserved it.

CCSD School Board members Todd Garrett (downtown), Eric Mack (Wadmalaw} and Kate Darby (Mt. Pleasant) signed an op-ed recently that took up the defense of Superintendent Postlewait. What happened to the other six members--Coats, Collins, Staubes, Hollinshed, Miller, and Jeffrey? Did they authorize the article?

The op-ed succinctly summarizes the district's worst problems:

"Last year, 84 percent of our black students and 41 percent of our white students were not reading on grade level by 3rd grade. At graduation, only 3.7 percent of our black students and 38.6 percent of our white students met the Gold Work Keys level, the equivalence of which Boeing requires to apply for a position. Half of the kids in nearly every grade fail to improve by a grade level each year. Consider year after year of this scenario and what do you have? Students who are several years behind in skills by the time they graduate. We know this because 90 percent of Charleston County School District graduates at Trident Tech had to take remedial classes last year before being able to start a course for credit."

Basically, the three point out that for change to come, the status quo must be crushed, and when that happens, "pushback" appears. Postlewait has focused on the district's financial order, student growth rates, and rewarding teachers and principals. Reading the article, you must wonder why anyone would argue.

Clearly, the response does not address concerns that have appeared over the Superintendent's performance. 

So, what's the problem?

Friday, October 06, 2017

Ft. Dorchester HS Teacher Wants to Teach!


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In his Letter to the Editor, Willie Dasinger, a teacher at Fort Dorchester High School, remarkably has the audacity to tell it as it is for classroom teachers. Too bad administrations aren't composed of former classroom teachers!

"No one can be surprised that over 6,000 teachers didn’t return for the school year, or that fewer than 2,000 are in the pipeline to replace them."

"Ask around and you’ll find that we are subjected to a barrage of meetings and new programs to implement, often by people either unrelated to our profession or with minimal experience in it."

"We are burdened with documenting every meeting and encounter to demonstrate that we’re actually professional enough to do our jobs. New teachers are treated as if they didn’t just get a degree."

"It all comes down to one thing: we’re not treated as professionals. Decisions are made for us to implement because our jobs have been politicized and downgraded by policymakers who concoct easier ways to bypass normal avenues into the profession."

"We do whatever people addicted to the “newest” fix on the market dictate. If it’s technological we’re supposed to be wowed by it and run off to implement it immediately because, well, it’s computer-based and 21st century and all the other typical buzzwords associated with a long line of hucksters and billionaire philanthropists and their subsidiaries, all selling a misinformed public on something new and exciting and bogus." [italics mine]

"The public is often informed of fallacious statistics and not on how much money is wasted training the already trained to do what they already know how to do in the first place. We just have to take it. Those unaccountable, low-wage teachers and their state-budget busting pension plan need reforming anyway. Right?"

"The public should demand that we be allowed to teach kids instead of dealing with the latest in test-prep, computer-driven, buzzword junk on the market. It’s time to let us teach and start holding those who buy into every new, costly program accountable. Maybe then, with that respect afforded to us, kids will want to be teachers again in this state."

"Unless you want the gap in the pipeline to get bigger, and your children and grandchildren to learn nothing in school but how to Google their way into a cheap certificate at the end of four years, the public needs to pressure policymakers to unburden the professionals entrusted with their kids before they begin dealing with a crisis bigger than a nuclear plant failing. (By the way, the lesson there is that they’ll act when it’s too late.)"

Willie Dasinger
Trevor Street
North Charleston

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Rambo for CCSD School Board?


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Is this the first strike of the get-rid-of-Postlewait brigade?

"Principal Jake Rambo became a household name this spring during a clash between school employees and the district office.The embattled ex-principal of James B. Edwards Elementary in Mount Pleasant says he is seriously considering a run for the Charleston County School Board in 2018."

Rambo's main point is that Postlewait is a liar. Strong words. He provided his letter of resignation to the public, stating "that the superintendent had lied about employee evaluations." It's the "value-added" nemesis that's under fire, and rightly so.

Whose seat is he going after, that of Christ Staubes or Kate Darby? 

At least as a former educator he's more qualified than most.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Destroying Garrett and a Football Stadium in CCSD


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If the Charleston County School District wants the good opinion of its inhabitants, destroying schools should not be on the agenda. Garrett Academy has been a cornerstone of technology in North Charleston for decades. "Garrett, a county-wide magnet school that already offers technical programs including pre-engineering, cosmetology and architectural design, draws most of its 401 students from North Charleston attendance zones." And North Charleston likes it that way.

As reported last March, " Beverly Gadson-Birch of the Charleston Area Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance said she supported the idea of a North Charleston CAS, but not at the expense of closing Garrett and razing the stadium."

"'Now that (Garrett) is predominantly black and no longer one of your showcase schools, you want to close it, merge it with North Charleston High, close down a stadium that's important to that community, build another stadium somewhere else, spend more taxpayers' money to construct a new stadium,' Gadson-Birch said. 'Stop using these children as pawns.'"

You have to ask yourself, why do administrative staff in the district wish to eliminate Garrett? No one at the Taj Mahal consulted those affected when they devised the 2014 county ballot item. Apparently it never occurred to them that the lowly peons in North Charleston might want to keep what was theirs.

"One proposal was to build the CAS on the current site of a football stadium beside North Charleston High. Another option was to build the CAS by adding on to the campus of Garrett Academy of Technology."

"District staff recommended that the board stick with its original plan, which would involve eliminating Garrett Academy, and build the center next to North Charleston High. Several Garrett Academy alumni implored the board to keep their school open and move the CAS to its campus in the Waylyn neighborhood."

The school board "voted unanimously Monday to put off a decision and instead create a steering committee with North Charleston community leaders and elected officials."

Forming another committee hardly solves the problem. The vote postponed last March and now postponed again this September will never buy enough time for those most affected to change their minds.

Time to bite the bullet. Put the Center for Advanced Studies with Garrett and keep your hands off their beloved football stadium. 

Is it too much to ask that district administration do what the people want for a change?

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

North Charleston Schools Dumping Grounds for Gun-Toting Students?


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Forget the metal detectors. What the public really deserves to know is why students with guns at North Charleston and Stall High Schools are at those schools in the first place.

Our lovely daily paper becomes tight-lipped when producing details regarding the students involved in three gun incidents since school began this year. At least one of them lived in West Ashley. Another is suspected of living in Goose Creek. What about the third? Does he actually live in North Charleston? 

If not, we have prima facie evidence that CCSD is steering troubled teenagers into North Charleston's high schools. In Mt. Pleasant they think North Charleston is made up of thugs anyway, so why not?

It should occur to readers that some sort of gang war is spilling over into these schools, or should I say "drug" war? Heaven forbid that the word "gang" should ever be applied to youth in the tri-county area!

No, surprise searches, transparent bags, and sniffer dogs tower over metal detectors as an antidote to guns, but also the Charleston County School District needs to weed teenage gunmen out of the classroom.

Superintendent Postlewait has muzzled both principals so that they cannot speak to the press.

Why?

Board member Priscilla Jeffery announced loudly that she is a dingbat. 

"Board member Priscilla Jeffery, a former school teacher in Colorado and Vermont, said metal detectors would only create a  'prison-like' environment while failing to address why kids bring guns to school. She suggested more violence prevention programs starting when students are young."

How helpful! Why didn't we think of that?

Monday, October 02, 2017

$20,000 Robots for Autism in CCSD


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No one knows why so many children are now diagnosed with autism since the cause remains mysterious. Parents must hope that intervention will allow their children to function normally in society. Now the South Carolina Department of Education has decided that robots may be one of the answers. 

Taxpayers hope that robots costing $20,000 each are not merely expensive toys. According to State Superintendent Molly Spearman, "The hope is some children will find it easier to talk to the robot than to people. 'It’s just a fantastic tool that we’re putting in the hands of therapists and teachers across the state,' she said."

How does she know? 

The jury remains out on whether such robots will indeed make a difference. On the other hand, companies who make these devices stand to gain big bucks from our schools. The desire to try anything to fix things trumps once again over cold, hard research. How will the effectiveness of these devices be revealed?

Yet another example of what's wrong with the educational establishment's approach to education. Sold a bill of goods with the latest trendy innovation.

Friday, September 29, 2017

SC Teacher Retention Letter Raises Valid Points

Brooks P. Moore's Letter to the Editor earlier this month made a number of recommendations regarding how to get and retain South Carolina's teachers. Below are some that need highlighting.

It's not about the money any more.

  • Boost teacher morale by celebrating and validating the teaching profession.
  • Allow our teachers to spend more time teaching than documenting what they do daily.
  • Reward experienced teachers by extending the salary scale for years of experience.
  • Set realistic and obtainable expectations for all teachers. Teachers are not superhuman.
  • The business community needs to provide teacher discounts, just like they do for senior citizens and military discounts. This is an advantage to teachers and commerce.
  • Provide principals and district level support staff with additional training on how to support and validate teachers. “It’s not what you say but how you say it.”

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

National Merit Exams Reveal Drawbacks of CCSD's Magnet High Schools


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What happens when you put all of your eggs in one basket, or two baskets as the case may be in the Charleston County School District? Well, practically no one else has any eggs.

That's pretty much the situation revealed by this year's distribution of National Merit Semifinalists in CCSD: thanks to its magnet programs, only three of the district's 14 high schools have any eggs.

Don't get me wrong. Magnet schools are great for the students who test into them. In an atmosphere of achievement, the most talented students take the most advanced courses and prosper. And giant Wando High School even managed to produce seven without that advantage.

What happens in the other 11 high schools? Suddenly, your best students should be B students, but that doesn't happen. Instead, B work becomes A work, creating a false sense of achievement. High standards become almost impossible to maintain.

Motivation and drive go a long way, but not having a standard to look up to works against those left behind.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Meeting Street Schools Producing Results


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While the educational establishment wishes to downplay the successes of Meeting Street Schools with poor and at-risk students, as Benjamin Navarro's Letter to the Editor shows, results don't lie.

"We recently began our tenth year operating Meeting Street Academy (MSA), an independent downtown school serving 244 under-resourced kids in grades Pre-K through five who would otherwise be attending a failing school."

"By way of background, we use a standardized testing regime called Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), a rigorous test used across Charleston County School District (CCSD) and by approximately 15,000 elementary schools around the country. We consider two primary measures: how did our students score on MAP at the end of the school year, and how much did our students grow academically over the course of the year?" 

"Well in fact, in the spring of 2017, MSA students scored on par with Sullivan’s Island Elementary and Mount Pleasant Academy — two of the most affluent and highest-performing schools in the district — achieving a median MAP score of 83rd percentile for reading and math combined! And in terms of growth for the academic year, MSA students grew at a median rate of 1.35 years, outpacing these wealthy district schools by a measurable amount."

"Our only requirement is that someone from the family — be it a parent, grandparent or other caregiver — partners with us in supporting what’s required for their child to learn."

"Meeting Street Elementary @ Brentwood (MSE@B) is a public Title One school where, as with all public neighborhood schools, all students who live in the enrollment zone can attend. MSE@B has just begun its fourth year in operation, with an enrollment of 590 students in grades Pre-K-3 through fourth grade."

"These students achieved a median MAP score in the 68th percentile, far surpassing the 36th percentile median score of other North Charleston Title One schools and the national median of 50th percentile. And MSE@B’s students grew at a median rate of 1.25 years, while other North Charleston Title One students actually lost ground — advancing only 0.92 years’ worth for the full year of instruction."

Where's the Op-Ed from Superintendent Postlewait or school board members explaining why all Title One schools can't perform this well?

Waiting. . . 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

CCSD's Teacher Allocation Guidelines Ignored?

According to Lowcountry Source's Robin Steinberger, parents and teachers in the Charleston County School District are frustrated that the administration is not following its own guidelines in teacher allocation.

Overcrowded kindergarten classes:

"One teacher states that the three kindergarten classes at her school have 77 students. Each class is to have no more than 25 students; therefore, the school should be allocated 4 teachers. The teacher further states that Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait now says that the classes need 27 students in-order-to be allocated another teacher. This is in violation of district policy."

Lack of middle-school vice principal:

"Deer Park Middle has only one vice principal. The enrollment at Deer Park is over 500 students. Garrett Academy has 3 vice principals with around 400 students. A parent stated that this is the only school in North Charleston with one vice principal."

Preschool students uncounted in total enrollment:

"CCSD has decided not to count preschool students in the teacher allocations for a school. Because of this, the school lost a teacher."

Chaos in CCSD's Human Resources office: 

"The Human Resources office at CCSD is disorganized and in chaos. Teacher and administrative positions are not allocated based on policy. When teachers are re-assigned, the students are then divided up among other classes, increasing class size. Lowcountry Source previously reported on shortages among school psychologists, and the adverse effect it had on special needs students. All of this upheaval is disruptive to the climate in the schools."

Well, here are the administrators to contact. Good luck with that!

Terri nicholsTerri NicholsAssociate Superintendent of Leadership Development
terri_nichols@charleston.k12.sc.us








Kathleen MagliacaneDirector of Teacher Recruitment & StaffingKathleen Magliacane
kathleen_magliacane@charleston.k12.sc.us






Yvonne MarshallDirector of Classified StaffingYvonne Marshall
yvonne_marshall@charleston.k12.sc.us





Krishinda JenkinsDirector of Business Services
Krishinda Jenkins
krishinda_jenkins@charleston.k12.sc.us





Susan Watson-BellInterim Director of Teacher Evaluation

Susan Watson-Bell
susan_watson-bell@charleston.k12.sc.us





FrancineInterim Director of Certified Administrator Staffing
Francine Mitchell
francine_mitchell@charleston.k12.sc.us





Robert BowersCompensation Officer
Robert Bowers
robert_bowers@charleston.k12.sc.us



Monday, September 25, 2017

Teacher Shortage Not Alleviated by Education Innovation Forum


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A Letter To the Editor worth posting. 

Not written by the PR department of Spearman's Department of Education!

Letters: Teacher shortage

I attended the Aug. 31 Education Innovation Forum at the Francis Marion Hotel, because I was attracted by the possibility of an honest discussion about teacher shortage and retention. I was sadly disappointed, because it became a typical administrative “pat each other’s back” for a job well done.

There was no mention of the negative perception of teachers by the public and the general student body, no discussion of the reasons for the middle class abandoning public schools or of the funding needed to adequately pay the teaching staff. Nothing was mentioned about the low morale of teachers as a consequence of administrative neglect and abuse. We have allowed adults to abrogate their responsibility to discipline children when they misbehave in the classroom.

The superintendent offered nothing to the conversation. And there was no mention of the fact that the governor proposed the previous day to remove the teachers’ pension and replace it with a 401(k). School officials spoke of using PR to elevate the perception of the teacher. I think they meant to increase the deception of the public. Poverty was mentioned as the biggest obstacle for learning.

My friends and I were poor as church mice, yet we became scientists, engineers, scions of industry and, yes, teachers. Attitude is the obstacle to success in the classroom.

The primary speaker spent an hour trumpeting her program, mentioning innovation and digital portals, along with other such meaningless edu-speak, the kind that I was subjected to during my 30 years as a high school teacher. I reminded her that the only portal that was used in my day was between our ears, and it was very successful.

Too much money is wasted on services that are duplicated on the state and federal level. If we are going to attract youngsters to the teaching profession, the role of the administrator must be changed to one of support for teachers. The only people who count in the educational process are the teachers and their students. Everyone else is superfluous. [italics mine]

Ian Kay
Wingo Way

Amen!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Why Must Allegro Charter Fight for Space in CCSD?


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This public charter school desires to serve the downtown community. As long as charters cannot afford to provide busing, Allegro should remain downtown. 

Problem is, the Charleston County School District wants Allegro (and all other charters) to fail.

The impossibility of putting Allegro into Burke High, where the halls are so empty that they echo, remains a mystery. Allegro has agreed to disagree. Who will provide enough classroom space downtown for a projected 350 students also remains a mystery. Any space large enough is becoming a hotel. As the peninsula becomes a museum, perhaps Allegro's hunt for downtown space is doomed.

"'One struggle is our own lofty mission, to serve primarily the peninsula and give them a great option for an art school,' said Principal Daniel Neikirk. 'Of course, it’s tremendously difficult to find anything on the peninsula.'"

http://www.allegrocharterschool.org

Vacant school buildings owned by CCSD sit rotting downtown. Anyone ever hear of Fraser?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Reading Levels: Meeting Street Schools Working in CCSD?


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Why are so many Charleston County students unable to read to learn in the fourth grade? Let's stop blaming teachers and look at reality. The reality is poverty and poor parenting. No amount of curriculum tweaking will overcome it.

If a child is not on reading level in the third grade, disaster awaits with the rest of his or her educational career. With social promotion that child falls farther and farther behind, finally dropping out or graduating without the literacy needed for a job that doesn't consist of physical labor alone.

Is there any path to the Charleston County School District's replicating the results of Meeting Street Schools outside of Meeting Street Schools?

Gerry Katz's recent Letter to the Editor pointed out the following:

"Children who enter MSS preschool education system at 3 years in pre-K and graduate MSS elementary school in fifth grade have Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) scores in the top 5 percent nationally, and have been accepted into high-achieving public and private middle schools."

"Using nationally recognized MAP education standards to determine student academic preparedness, third-grade MSS students are shown to achieve competency in the 98th percentile in reading. By comparison, third graders in North Charleston Title 1 schools have MAP reading scores in the 20th percentile."

"On the basis of MAP testing, the MSS model for under-resourced children is five times more effective than the Charleston County School District model for educating under-resourced children to read proficiently on grade level at the end of third grade."

"Under-resourced children: a) Do not have a literacy-rich home environment; b) Do not have parents who can support their educational needs; and c) Do not have systems to neutralize the negative home drivers that prevent under-resourced children from learning. Under-resourced children cannot respond positively to first-grade instruction." Sad but true.

Does CCSD now have enough data to drive a decision on securing the future of its most at-risk students?


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

SC's ACT Scores: No Future Comparisons


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See, South Carolina's required ACT results weren't really all that bad, but as usual, next year's changes in testing will guarantee future results cannot be compared. Next year, some students will opt out of ACT testing for SAT testing instead.

To be only 1.1 points lower than the other states that required all students to take the test is not such a bad result. Yes, we are below the national average by more than two points, but look around you. South Carolina also has one of the most disadvantaged populations in the country.

No, it's more important to point out that Charleston County actually bested Dorchester District 2! Imagine how much it would be if all of Dorchester County was included!

That only 15 percent met all College Readiness benchmarks is much more problematic, since more than 15 percent of high school graduates enter college--hence high numbers in remedial college classes.

"The proportion of graduates showing virtually no readiness for college coursework remained sizable. In the class of 2017, half of South Carolina’s students and 33 percent nationwide met none of the benchmarks, suggesting they are likely to struggle during their first year in college." Shudder to break that one down by race!

Does anyone wonder why we haven't seen the stats for individual high schools, since we can see those for Academic Magnet and School of the Arts? How about Burke, West Ashley, and Stall? 

Let's start with them.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CCSD's Ignoring History of Local Schools Enervates Support


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Everyone understands that some local schools no longer exist, whether through consolidation or closing. What rankles long-time residents is the utter disdain from the current and previous administrators of the Charleston County School District for the history of the schools. You only need attempt to track down a yearbook from the seventies from any local high school, with the possible exception of Burke, the only high school allowed to keep its original name, to find this truth.

So it is bittersweet to see that someone actually cared to rehang a specially-commissioned portrait of FDR in the current Moultrie Middle School and that a portrait of Francis Marion has returned:

"According to Town of Mount Pleasant archives, Gen. William Moultrie High School, originally on Pitt St., relocated to Coleman Blvd. in 1944. In 1973, students moved into the new Wando High School on Whipple Road. The old high school became Moultrie Middle School. This facility was demolished in 2007 and the new building was completed in 2009. That was the third Moultrie School to be built on site. The Moultrie Schools were named in honor of Gen. William Moultrie, the highest ranking South Carolina officer during the Revolutionary War and hero of the 1776 Battle of Fort Sullivan, which was later renamed Fort Moultrie. He fought in the S.C. Militia during the 1761 Cherokee Wars, and served in the Royal Assembly and first Provincial Congress. He was elected Lieutenant Governor and was Governor twice. While Governor, he relocated the capital from Charleston to Columbia and established the county system and county court system. Moultrie designed the first S.C. state flag during the American Revolution."

"Through the years school archives were lost and sometimes thrown away. [italics mine] Some were even given away. And that turned out to be a blessing in terms of a portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt."

"Common tradition is for a graduating class to gift something to the school. The class of 1944 commissioned a portrait of Gen. William Moultrie by local artist and actress Alicia Rhett. The following graduating class commissioned an oil portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, also by Rhett.

"Talk of those portraits took place recently between a local mother and daughter. Doris Dayhoff, a 1944 graduate of Moultrie explained to her daughter Linda Dayhoff Smith, a 1970 graduate, the significance of those and other gifts.

"This got Smith to wondering what had become of the portraits. She called the Charleston County School District and officials there were unsure. [italics mine] The new principal Ryan Cumback was too.

"Smith happened to run into an old family friend at the grocery store recently. He just so happened to be a Moultrie graduate, retired Wando teacher and local historian. Why is this important? Well, when she told him what she was up to regarding the missing portraits, he smiled and said he was in possession of the Roosevelt portrait. The school's fifth commencement gift had been offered to him when items were being removed from the old Wando in preparation for the move to the new facility.

"I almost fainted in aisle two of the grocery store," Smith said. "Of course I asked him if he would return it to the school and he was happy to do it."

"As a teacher at Wando he frequented the library because he was a social studies teacher. There were often stacks of books that the librarians were disposing of or giving away, but on one particular occasion there were stacks of portraits. Among them was the Roosevelt.[italics mine]"

"I looked in corner and saw that it was an Alicia Rhett who played India Wilkes in 'Gone with Wind.' I thought that really it should not be thrown away and I took it for safe keeping," Williams said."

"Also, Roosevelt was the president of Williams' childhood. A president during a time of war. It was important to Williams that the portrait be salvaged." Not important to CCSD, however!

"In a small ceremony Williams, Smith, Dayhoff, Cumback and district officials met to return and hang the FDR portrait in it's proper place in the halls of Moultrie Middle. Talk turned to the missing Gen. Moultrie portrait when Cumback realized they were referring to the very one hanging just down the hall in the vestibule. It was removed from the wall for inspection and in light script a scrawled message on the back read, "given back by class of 1960." During a reunion they think took place in 1986 which would have been their 25th reunion. The story behind this is unknown."

"As of last week, the only other Rhett portrait that was missing is that of Francis Marion given by the Class of 1946. On Friday, an anonymous person came forward to return the painting."

How does an area that prides itself on its history put up with this stuff? 

CCSD has shown its utter disregard for the past. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

School Buses Versus College Scholarships in SC


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Ah, yes. The "education" lottery!

Back in 2002, SC voters approved a state lottery whose proceeds would fund education. Where has that money gone in the past 15 years, and where should it go in the future? Should funds be used to update the state's aged fleet of school buses? Should proceeds fund scholarships for college students? Politicians disagree.

One sure result of the state's watering down its grading system is that many more high school graduates will qualify for college scholarships. Where will the extra money come from? Why has the legislature not tightened up qualifications? At the rate we're going, soon half of every graduating class will qualify.

Meanwhile, South Carolina purchases used school buses that other states have deemed too old to be on the roads. 

Anyone see a problem here? 

Maybe the problem is that only one-fourth of money spent on lottery tickets is ever used for any educational spending. If three-fourths is not spent on education, how do politicians justify calling it the education lottery? Semantics.

And don't get me started on the fact that the lottery is a tax on the poorest among us.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

SC's Teacher Shortage Not About Money


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Scholarships for those pursuing teaching are effective. South Carolina's Teaching Fellows program has worked over the last 17 years, according to State Superintendent Molly Spearman. So too the Call Me MISTER program to recruit black males to become teachers. 

Not so much the recruiting drive to import teachers from out of state. Looked upon from the Lowcountry angle, no one should be surprised. Take the Charleston County School District, for example. The beauties of the area beckon; then the reality of its struggling schools defeats all but the most dedicated recruits. 

Locals tend to stay; those from off leave. 

"Dorchester School District 2 Superintendent Joe Pye said school districts need to find a way to recruit more locals, who tend to stick around longer."

"We travel all over the North and we haul them in by busloads because they can't find jobs," Pye said, "but the beach only attracts them for a year."

Let's make South Carolina's schools of education first rate and recruit outstanding students to attend. Pay attention to Jody Stallings's points about teaching conditions as published previously.

Gone are the days when female college graduates settled for teaching as the only possible career and put up with all the nonsense. The days of treating teachers as non-professionals should disappear as well.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Note to CCSD: What Teachers Really Want


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Jody Stallings is my hero. He's the only person who seems to understand why teachers leave the profession so often. It's not about the money, as he clarified earlier this week in his Moultrie News column:

"Many people think that offering higher salaries will help recruit better teachers. I’m not so sure. It might just attract greedier ones. The best teachers seem to have a unique passion for students that surpasses financial gain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a man who will turn down a good raise, and everyone needs a living wage. But as much as it pains me to do so, I have to look at the issue critically."

[snip]

"And that, to me, is the real issue. It isn’t that teachers are outright underpaid. All things considered, we probably get compensated quite fairly. It’s that we are underpaid in proportion to the amount of sludge we have to endure. Personally, I’d take a pay cut if it meant I could simply teach. But that’s not how it works. Teachers have to struggle with out-of-control students daily; verbal and physical assaults; nasty, unsupportive parents; antagonistic administrators; mountains of paperwork; a clunky, inefficient, ineffective system; long days with high-stress and no breaks; and school boards who think all the burdens of society should be placed on teachers’ backs."

"I recognize that reasonable minds may disagree, but to the powers that be I say keep the money and give me sanity. Mandate that parents support their children’s educations. Hire principals who will back us up in our decisions. Empower teachers to restore order and discipline to the classroom. And make education about more than just test scores."

"For a teacher one of the warmest thoughts of all is being able to make a difference in the lives of students without having to fight those who should be our biggest supporters at each and every turn."

Amen and amen!

Thursday, September 07, 2017

CCSD Should Offer More Training for Boeing Jobs


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Since 2007, Lockheed Martin "has been providing scholarship funds to Greenville Technical College for the school's aviation maintenance and training facility." 

Six high schools in the state have taken advantage of a $50,000 grant from the South Carolina Department of Education to offer a curriculum  "designed to appeal to students who are curious about the design and flight of aircraft and spacecraft vehicles. The curriculum, designed by the Southern Regional Education Board, consists of four courses: fundamentals of aerospace technology; advanced aerospace technology; aeronautics engineering application; and astronautics engineering applications." 

Happily, Stall High School in North Charleston is one of them.

"Spearman said she recently visited R.B. Stall High School in North Charleston, where the curriculum is being taught, and "was surprised to walk into a classroom where the students were on a simulator learning how to fly a plane."

"Their interest has been sparked, and we need to now supply a pathway for them all the way from elementary to high school so they can walk right into the technical training they need to be successful," she said.

"For the curriculum to succeed, however, Spearman and others said they need the industry's feedback.

"We don't know it all," Spearman told industry leaders. "If we're going to get every child in the state ready, we need help. You have an open invitation to come into our schools."

Boeing, we're calling your number!

Now, that's a high-tech program we can all support.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Memminger's International Baccalaureate Result of Parental Determination


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Nine years! Not exactly turning on a dime, was it?

A decade ago, parents in the attendance zone surrounding Memminger Elementary in downtown Charleston asked themselves why a failing, nearly 100 percent black school existed in an affluent, white-majority zone. They wanted to improve the school's integration and its academics. Wise heads decided that an internationally-recognized academic program would lure white (and middle-class black) parents to take a chance on Memminger. 

The Charleston County School District balked in 2008 when parents first proposed the IB program: it cost money that she-who-cannot-be-criticized, our great former superintendent, was unwilling to spend for accreditation and language teachers. Instead, Memminger got "IB-lite," which was about as satisfactory as "lite" beer. Under that administration, only prized Buist Academy deserved IB.

Fast forward after five years of "global studies": 

"After a second push for IB in 2013, the school began the process to earn authorization. On April 21, 2017, IB officially authorized Memminger."

"Memminger has 326 students enrolled this year, with about half coming from the school's attendance zone and half coming from elsewhere in the county through the school's partial-magnet lottery admissions. The sleek modern campus, opened in 2013, still has room for about 100 more students."

Memminger should give Buist a run for its money. Implementing Core Knowledge would have been cheaper, but we'll take what we can get.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Thank CCSD: Gun in North Charleston Classroom Imported from West Ashley


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Students often petition the Charleston County School District to attend high schools outside their attendance zones. Many times the student wishes to take courses not offered by his or her local high school. 

So now we wonder: what course of study could be available at tiny North Charleston High School that is not offered by mega West Ashley High School? Or could there be another, more nefarious, reason why a 17-year-old resident of West Ashley would be attending NCHS?

Not long ago Burke High School was the dumping ground of choice for students with bad conduct records. Has North Charleston become the new Burke? Which high school did this student attend last year, and why was he attending North Charleston High?
"Officers learned that a teacher heard a 'pop' sound coming from inside of the classroom and began to walk about the room to determine what the sound may have been," Pryor said. "At that time, the teacher smelled the odor of what was believed to be gunpowder and instructed students to exit the classroom." 
Shortly after, a male student was seen walking down East Montague Avenue and detained by officers, he said. 
"At that point, officers discovered the student was suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg," Pryor said. "Emergency officials examined the wound and determined that it was consistent with being self-inflicted. The victim was transported to the hospital for treatment. A handgun was discovered in a parking lot near the school."

Friday, September 01, 2017

Insurance for Paying Ransom? Dorchester County District 2 Hacked


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It's a sign of the times. Now you can insure yourself against paying ransom.

Say what?

Yes, insurance exists to protect your data. In fact, Dorchester County School District 2 was reimbursed this summer for paying $2900 in ransom to regain access to the data on 24 of  25 servers affected, approximately 40 percent of its total servers. Its "insurance coverage" funded the payment. The district is reconstructing the data not regained using hard copy and other details from those affected.

In other words, DD2 was hacked.

"During the investigation, district officials contacted the S.C. Department of Education's chief security officer, the State Law Enforcement Division and other law enforcement agencies, as well as attorneys for help with the situation, the report said."

"Officials approved a security assessment contract with a "technology solution company," the report said. The company has identified weaknesses in the system and is expected to make recommendations during a mid-September school board meeting on how to shore them up."

Weaknesses in the system? That should be an interesting meeting. Of course, no one's job will be affected.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Careful Consolidation of Dorchester School Districts for Win-Win


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After more than thirty years of consolidation, few remember that Charleston County Schools were once divided into several districts--Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, St. Andrews, etc. How's that working out for us? Some would suggest that schools at one end of the county have little in common with the rest. A quick look at the map shows why. Nevertheless, Charleston County consolidated schools are here to stay.

On the other hand, Dorchester District 2 never lets the Charleston County School District and its taxpayers forget how much better DD2 appears on paper. Where are its failing schools? Its majority-black attendance zones? 

Why, they're in Dorchester District 4! 

How Dorchester County managed to split itself into two districts is a mystery to most of us. It's only 14 miles from DD2's administrative offices to those of DD4, but a world away in terms of student achievement. 

Imagine. If DD2 and DD4 were consolidated, not only would some administrators lose their jobs, but the new Dorchester District's educational statistics wouldn't look much different from Charleston County's!

Got to be win-win.

It's not about football rivalries!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Public Charter Schools Must Provide Transportation

Transportation is not a side issue in education; it is a primary requirement.

If students desiring to attend a public charter school have no means of transportation, it's closed to the poor. 

South Carolina needs to address this serious inequity in funding of public charter schools. The position taken by the Palmetto Promise Institute is the only equitable solution:

"Without access to transportation, “public school choice” is not really a choice for many families.There are currently only a handful of public charter schools that are providing transportation, which creates a barrier to access."

"Average transportation costs range from $650 to $1100 per student at these schools, For public charter schools that do provide transportation, those costs come directly out of the classroom education dollars."

"South Carolina should work to provide transportation to all public schools and programs, including charters, magnets, dual enrollment, career and technology centers and open enrollment options."

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Stratford Makes Case Anew for Uniforms


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High school has always been a fashion show. Fifty years ago boys would check others' labels to see if their shirts were made by Gant. Girls disparaged home-sewn dresses. As long as appearance and status matter to teenagers, the desire to impress with clothing will never die.

That's the background for the dust-up over Principal Heather Taylor's remarks about tight leggings at Stratford High School last week. 

For those of you who haven't visited a high school lately, here is the school's dress code:
New Dress code
We don't know what came before or after the remarks that caused such furor: "I'm gonna tell you this now: Unless you're a size zero or a two and you wear something like that, even though you're not fat, you look fat," but it's fair to assume Taylor was discussing the dress code. Experienced teachers know all too well the horrors of enforcing one.

The large majority of today's teens have no concept of modesty. In fact, our culture at large reviles any suggestion of female modesty in its celebration of sex. Take a good look at what the media sells to teenage girls and you'll understand. Girls thin as sticks won't look sexy regardless of how immodestly they dress; those of more normal weight will. Was that inchoate idea in Taylor's mind when she made her comments about fat?

We'll never know, but with uniforms she never would have made them. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Gregg Meyers's Goal: Destroy Private Schools with Lawsuits

Former Charleston County School Board member Gregg Meyers gained notoriety for many acts: destroying the High School of Charleston with consolidation; creating Academic Magnet for his children; ignoring favoritism in Buist's student selection; and suing the Catholic Diocese of Charleston. 

Now he's after Ashley Hall. Well, what better lawyer to use?

Someone at Ashley Hall made a dreadful mistake, emailing details of students' medical histories to all parents. That staff member should be fired posthaste.

Seizing the opportunity, Meyers files a class-action lawsuit. " It seeks actual and punitive damages as well as an injunction requiring the school to update its privacy procedures and training." Meyers said. "This is a cautionary tale for every school."

Well, we'll believe "every" when he sues CCSD.

No doubt, he loves his job.

Friday, August 25, 2017

CCSD Needs State-of-Art Education, Not Football Stadiums


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What problem needs the most attention in the Charleston County School District? Some of us point to at least five of the worst failing schools in the entire state.

We can guess what's most important to Gene Sapakoff; after all, he's a sports writer. Nevertheless, his rant concerning Charleston County's high school football stadiums is more than ill advised. 

Now, no one thinks that Burke doesn't need a new stadium, and other stadiums in CCSD could use some upgrades, but really? Artificial turf? 

"Texas has state-of-the-art high school football fields that cost $62 million, seat 12,000 people and have scoreboards the size of Vermont."

Sapakoff wants Texas-style high school football? He needs to move to Texas. Somewhere along the way he forgot that the purpose of high school is to prepare students for college and the workforce. Bonding at football games doesn't hack it.

That's not to suggest that the shared-stadium idea proposed in North Charleston and under debate in Mt. Pleasant isn't a lousy solution. It is. 

Maybe it's time for CCSD to divorce football. Let's have independent teams based in each area of the county. Those who agree with Sapakoff can finance new stadiums that meet his expensive standards.  
http://www.postandcourier.com/columnists/sapakoff-ccsd-high-school-football-facilities-stink-and-we-re/

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Spearman Pushes Bus Routing, Consolidation, and Pay


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How does a panel of state senators in South Carolina's Republican-controlled body get a chairman who is a former Democratic candidate for governor? Never mind.

In response to the Abbeville schools lawsuit decision, SC Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman mentioned raising teacher pay, efficient bus routing, and consolidating small districts. 

"Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden and committee chairman, encouraged Spearman to compile a list of what she believes are the state's top needs for addressing education equity."

Forget the rerouting, Molly--just get us newer buses!

Teacher pay, always a problem, is no more important than teaching conditions, Molly.

Good luck on those consolidations. I'll believe it can happen when Dorchester District 2 merges with Dorchester District 4.

Not likely in my lifetime!


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

CCSD's Early College: An Idea Whose Time Has Come


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"I'm proud to say I'm a student at Early College High School."

So stated Bethany Grove to her classmates attending the new school on Trident Tech's Palmer Campus. 

Some of us are so ancient that we can recall that Palmer was once a private business college in its own right, before taxpayer-supported schools drove it under.

Be that as it may, the Charleston County School District's school for those motivated students who normally get neglected in heterogeneous "regular" courses (those scoring between 40 and 60 percent on standardized tests) seems off to a good start with its 96 freshmen. 

"It's kids who we know have incredible potential," [Director Vanessa] Denney said. "It's about taking those kids who are in the middle ... and pushing them."

Exactly. And why shouldn't those who can handle dual-credit courses in high school take them on the school district's dime? Too many courses offered at Trident Tech should be offered on the high school campus instead.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ed Deficits Show Need for Vocational Classes in High School


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Every year the P & C runs an op-ed by Gene Budig and Alan Heaps bemoaning the educational deficits in America's youngest generations. They moan about the facts, but offer no solutions. This year's bemoans the disconnect between what students and parents think they are getting (a good education) and what they are actually achieving. Here are their stats:

• A mere one-third of our eighth graders are proficient or better in math and reading.
• Only a quarter of graduating high school seniors are ready for college level math, and less than 40 percent for reading.
• Our 15-year-olds rank 38th of 71 countries in science and 24th in math.
• Fewer than 60 percent of those who enter college graduate within six years.
• Only a third of Americans have a four year degree or higher.
• We import skilled workers. Companies annually request between 200,000 and 300,000 imported workers to fill science, technology, engineering and math positions.

One of the many problems with these facts is that they assume that a four-year college degree is desirable for the majority of students. Nothing could be further than the truth. Oh, yes, I know that it is drummed into every child's head that if he or she doesn't get a college degree, the student will spend the rest of life as a downtrodden peasant.

That's part of the problem. We actually had a President state that everyone should graduate from college. Such blind assertions exacerbate the notion that somehow a person isn't quite, well, valuable to society unless B.A. or B.S. can follow his or her name. Let's judge the statistics from another angle. 

A mere one-third of our eighth graders are proficient or better in math and reading. This group should enter high schools that will prepare them for college entrance. Right now many of them are simply segregated into "honors" classes. The two-thirds who are not proficient should attend high schools that prepare them for skilled workforce jobs. 

Only a quarter of graduating high school seniors are ready for college level math, and less than 40 percent for reading. These are essentially the same one-third of eighth-graders mentioned above, with adjustments made for high school dropouts. Students not ready for college-level work would already have a workforce skill if they had the opportunity to develop one in vocational classes.

Our 15-year-olds rank 38th of 71 countries in science and 24th in math. Maybe we should look at how other countries segregate their students into schools that prepare them for skilled careers. They do, you know!

Fewer than 60 percent of those who enter college graduate within six years. Because those dropouts shouldn't have taken on the debt of student loans in the first place. Some of these no doubt were caught up in the party culture so prevalent on campuses today, but most colleges accept unqualified students to meet their quotas. Take a good look at all of the colleges and universities that essentially have open admissions, taking anyone who graduates from high school and spawning multiple non-credit "college" courses to bring those students up to standards (they hope).

• Only a third of Americans have a four year degree or higher. Why is this a bad statistic? How many jobs really require a college education? Look around you at the salesmen, real estate brokers, barristas, and office workers. Did they really need four years of college? Did they really need to forgo income for four years while racking up thousands in student loans?

• We import skilled workers. Companies annually request between 200,000 and 300,000 imported workers to fill science, technology, engineering and math positions. Here is the only argument that holds water. The number is inflated because foreign workers will accept less pay, but don't we want educated immigrants to our country? The question for our schools is, are these skills necessarily taught in college, or could many of them be taught in high school if our system took job skills seriously?

Food for thought.

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?