Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lincoln High: See the USA in Your High School Day!

Superintendent McGinley of the Charleston County School District has a vision for Lincoln High School, quite a vision indeed! Apart from moving middle grades around without first consulting its very supportive community, she has plans to gut the courses offered at the school to include "core subjects" only.

But wait! It gets better. Lincoln High students will get to ride practically the length of Charleston County each morning and afternoon to Wando High School to take the rest of their required courses for a diploma. Golly, what fun! Perhaps someone could estimate the time involved: will these students need to rise at 4 or 5 a.m.? Will they return before 6 p.m.? Does McGinley even care?

Of course she does, or as she puts it, "Let me entertain you." These "special" coach buses will be equipped with Wi Fi. That means those with laptops can play games the whole way! Or sleep. Brilliant.

It seems that she envisions quite a marvelous future for Lincoln: several years of this cavalcade and Lincoln will disappear. That is the goal.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

P&C Editorial Ignores McGinley's Motives

I'm always happy to see a sensible editorial in the P & C, especially when its topic is the Charleston County School District. Thursday's agreed with Todd Garrett, CCSD School Board member and downtown parent, that the district should not rush into a decision creating a better middle school on the peninsula (District 20), one that would attract rather than repel most parents, as Burke Middle does at present.

Is the writer naive? The "rush" is to save middle schoolers from any state takeover of a failing school (Burke High/Middle) and to erase another failing elementary school (Sanders-Clyde) from Superintendent McGinley's list of failures.

Some of us could provide a long list of her failures during her decade of leadership in the district. But who's counting?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

McGinley's Downtown Plans: Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!

Do you ever wonder if the superintendent of the Charleston County School District hopes to close all downtown schools and sell off the properties to outside investors? I do.

No rational person could believe her attempts (largely successful, thanks to a fawning school board) to move students around the peninsula like so many pawns in a game are for the purpose of improving their education. Burke Middle School is a case in point: have the students who were moved there from Rivers Middle under that aegis actually excelled? No. Quite the contrary.

To much fanfare, the Sanders-Clyde elementary school was rebuilt to serve as a neighborhood school for the surrounding east side community, largely made up of low-income housing. Students could walk to school; their parents, many of whom have no access to cars, could easily come for events and conferences.

Now, in order to increase her stats by closing failing schools, McGinley wants to take the building from them and refurbish it as a middle school. Those students would be loaded on buses and parceled out to the remaining elementary schools in the peninsula. The superintendent probably figures that their parents don't have enough pull or saavy to prevent losing their neighborhood school.

Let's face it: McGinley never met a neighborhood school she liked. She also has no interest in luring back to the peninsula schools those white students who live there but go to school elsewhere. For whatever reason she wants to keep downtown schools de facto segregated.

The Neighborhood Planning Team, even though stacked with McGinley supporters, has its own ideas that she should listen to. As Arthur Lawrence says, "What's the rush?" Why shouldn't we make sure this time around that these upheavals will do some good?

However, what sounds sensible to you and me does not to Superintendent McGinley, a situation that reveals her agenda to be more about self-aggrandizement than better education for students.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

CCSD Prefers Teach for America over SC Grads

Does it bother you that the Charleston County School District will increase the number of Teach-for-America (TFA) hires in the district next year? It should! This program equates to bringing in an untrained, out-of-state emergency crew to replace local teachers who retire, move, or are "let go" by the district.

Evidently, CCSD prefers these graduates who have no training in the classroom, over certified graduates of our state teacher-education programs at Winthrop, USC, Clemson, the College of Charleston, and Charleston Southern. Many TFA hires will do an enthusiastic and admirable job under those circumstances; however, then they will leave, and schools such as Burke, where many of them work, will be left to the vagaries of chance for the next round.

When founded, TFA touted the ideals of Ivy League graduates who wanted to "give back" to America. It is well past those heady days when it sends graduates of Grove City College. I'm not knocking that particular school; it may provide an excellent education. The point is, why is such a graduate superior to hiring our own state graduates of our taxpayer-supported teacher education programs? Is CCSD saying that these programs are so bad that their graduates are not suitable for the district to hire?

Or, is it that those graduates know what teaching in CCSD means?

At any rate, it is painful that the P&C led its TFA story with a Burke student who cannot understand a seventh-grade math problem.  Was that deliberate?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Surprise! CCSD Super Ignores Neighborhood Planning Team

Strangely enough, the District 20 Neighborhood Planning Team (NPT) took its duties seriously over the last few months and produced a masterful plan to create D20 schools that actually reflect the makeup of its neighborhoods on the peninsula.

No matter. Superintendent McGinley has her own agenda, especially regarding a stand-alone middle school. You see, Burke High/Middle is on the verge of state takeover yet again (can you say, deja vu?). The superintendent has determined to keep Burke's middle school students out of the clutches of a state takeover.

Now, would you believe it, she wants to turn the new Sanders-Clyde elementary school building into a stand-alone middle school, complete with retrofitting that will keep CCSD contractors on the payroll. The plan not only "saves" Burke's middle-school students; it distributes Sanders-Clyde's student body among the remaining elementary schools. Thus, the super can declare she has yet again reduced the percentage of "failing" elementary schools on the peninsula. Masterful.

You can't make a parody of this; it already is.