Wednesday, October 28, 2009

McGinley's Town Halls Preach to the Choir

What if we hold a meeting and nobody shows up?

This is an anomaly that will never occur in the Charleston County School District, thanks to planning on the part of our district officials. [See Residents Offer Feedback in Wednesday's P&C]

The reporter seems befuddled over lack of opponents to Superintendent Nancy McGinley's plans presented at her "town hall" meeting at Burke High School Tuesday night: "Some of the school district's toughest critics and most- challenged schools are on the peninsula, but it seemed that most of the approximately 50 residents who gathered at Burke High were supporters of the district."

Diette, McGinley always recruits a good crowd of supporters. She probably uses the "or else" method. During last year's round of meetings, her opponents learned what a waste of time they are.

These are PR meetings, not opportunities for change.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

First Things First at CCSD's SIxth-Grade Academy

Maybe previous principals rode their bikes to North Charleston's Sixth-Grade Academy (AKA Orange Grove Charter School, AKA Ron McNair Elementary). Or maybe they reduced their carbon footprint by walking. In any event, having their names on the handicapped parking spaces nearest the back entrance wasn't their top priority. Not so with Superintendent Nancy McGinley's newest choices.

According to a Saturday P&C Watchdog story [McGinley Settles Confusion over School's Handicapped Parking], "For a couple of weeks or so this past month, students and parents entering the Sixth Grade Academy in North Charleston walked directly by cars belonging to the school principal, assistant principal and secretary, all parked atop bright blue spaces designated for the handicapped."

It seems that McGinley-appointed Principal Gail Glears decided early on that names on parking spaces were a necessity--even for the school secretary. She took it upon herself to have signs put up, even though the spaces nearest the door clearly were marked for the handicapped.

That was the first mistake in what Watchdog kindly calls "one mistake after another."Let's hope this fiasco is not indicative of Glears's judgment on other issues!

Friday, October 23, 2009

CCSD Committee Dithers over Reading Standards

Even Brian Hicks can be right at least one-third of the time. [See Isn't the First 'R' Reading? in Friday's P&C]

Ever since the P&C's August series revealing just how disastrous literacy levels are in CCSD, administrators at 75 Calhoun have practiced damage control. Beyond the public hand-wringing by the CCSD School Board and administration, we can only hope some effective classroom changes are being made to improve the situation.

However, reports of the CCSD School Board's literacy committee show just how ineffective such committees are. According to an October 20th story, [School Board Discusses Creating Literacy Policy], district officials can't figure out how to measure grade-level reading. Chief Academic Officer Doug Gepford stated, "The issue that's troubling district officials is how to define what reading on specific grade levels means."

If Doug Gepford and Janet Rose can't figure out how to set a standard for each grade level, they should lose their jobs and the district should hire people who can.

These objections are just more of the same mealy-mouthed, self-serving drivel that passes for competence in CCSD administration.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bottom Feeder Does Good in CCSD Territory

Who would want to be associated with a debt collector, especially one that bends the law and makes headlines with consumer complaints? Apparently, Mayor Joe Riley. Check out this description of Sherman Financial Group, big buddy of Mayor Riley, who encouraged the City Council to spend $5 million purchasing land for Meeting Street Academy's new campus sponsored by this bottom feeder [see Dreaming High in Thursday's paper]:
"Charleston, S.C.-based Sherman generated revenues of $1.05 billion in 2006, according to MGIC’s 2006 annual report filing with the SEC. Sherman contributed nearly $122 million to MGIC’s pretax income last year, Michael Zimmerman, MGIC’s vice president of investor relations, told earlier this month.

"1.05 Billion? How many consumers did they rip off to get that? The scale of this is unbelievable. How many times have they violated the FDCPA, the FCRA & the FACTA to get this amount ?

"Let’s see, mortgages, insurance, credit, debt collection, New York offices, three paper corporations in Delaware, banks in Las Vegas, Brazil and Mexico. The CT Corporation system that they use as Registered Agents has offices in Reno, Nevada and is headquartered in Chicago. They report forgiven debts on 1009-C forms to the IRS, when they have only paid pennies on the dollars; how do they report the profits? Structured to shield the higher ups form law enforcement. Harrasment, illegal debt collection practices, extortion. If this was the 1950’s, I’d say it was the Mob." [Mortage Servicing Fraud Forum]

See also Ripoff Report on Sherman Financial
Let's hope Riley hasn't made a Faustian bargain.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

CCSD Needs to Repair Neglect of Rivers Campus

I'll admit: it looks like an earthquake hit it.

Seismic "repairs," is it now? So says Gregg Meyers in Tuesday's P&C regarding the Rivers campus where the Charter School for Math and Science has set up shop in portable classrooms. [See Rivers Campus Promised Funds]

According to the story, "The charter school and a proposed district program, currently called Lowcountry Technical Academy for Health, Human and Public Services, have received the board's OK to share space in the building, but the structure needs a considerable amount of work, including seismic repairs, before students can occupy it."

Those repairs would be from the nonexistent earthquake that occurred after CCSD last emptied the building of students, well documented previously on this website.

You've got to figure that the anticipated earthquake will actually occur when pigs fly, or when the proposed Lowcountry Tech materializes, whichever comes first.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Stronger Academics Pull White Students into CCSD

The percentage of white students attending partial-magnet schools of Haut Gap Middle and Mitchell Elementary has risen. CCSD Superintendent Nancy McGinley credits the ability of students at Haut Gap to earn high school credits and the Montessori program at Mitchell. [See Some Partial Magnet Programs Succeed in Helping Integrate Schools in the online P&C.]

Gee, just maybe white parents were discouraged previously not by race but by sinkhole academics.

Dot Scott, eat your heart out!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

South Carolina: Bottom Tier Again

Our state legislators must like being at the bottom.

"South Carolina has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates, but the state is taking its time using federal stimulus money to launch job-producing road projects."

See the chart provided for ProPublica report: Stimulus Dollars For Schools Miss The Mark in Wednesday's P&C.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Waiting for the Other Shoe on PASS Testing

The one result so far of switching to a new test (the PASS) to replace the old (the PACT) is to delay the results. See Test Change Advances in Tuesday's P&C. It also obfuscates progress being made.

What other conclusions could be reached from the following:
  • "a scoring system that would mean more of the state's schools meet federal education goals"
  • "means more schools will make 'adequate yearly progress' under No Child Left Behind"
  • "years of complaints that results came in after the school year ended and provided no analysis on topics in which students excelled or struggled"
Next, our superintendents will be extolling the progress made by switching tests.

It's coming.