Friday, July 26, 2013

Purpose of Assigned Summer Reading?

Does anyone else find it laughable that the venerable College of Charleston assigned a comic book as summer reading for its incoming freshmen? Surely they can read better than that!

And don't blame the English Department; a diversified committee adopted the book.

Perhaps C of C is dropping the pretense of being an intellectual institution.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bottom Line on School Superintendent Pay

Sunday's article shows what most followers of the Charleston County School District have known for quite some time: Nancy McGinley is paid all out of proportion for her performance and responsibilities. Also, John Emerson is part-time only. He's making out like a bandit!

CCSD finances need outside oversight.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Brian Hicks Needs New Title: Former Columnist

When the Charleston County School Board voted to allow member Chris Collins's church to rent the vacant Charlestowne Academy, it followed a pattern of conflict of interest observed throughout its years. Collins didn't create the conflict.

In fact, no one questioned the Healing and Deliverance Church's lease fulfillment until someone tipped off administrators last fall that Collins had allowed a group interested in forming a charter school to meet at the building. We all know how Superintendent McGinley feels about new charter schools. She cowed the Board into voting against lease renewal in November.

The lease expired in June, but the district accepted Collins's check for the July rent, thus signifying its acceptance of another month of use by the church. 

Suggesting that Collins should have recused himself or expressed no opinions regarding Montessori at Hursey Elementary because his children attend the school is so egregious as to almost beggar belief. If school board members in the past had done so, no Buist Academy or Academic Magnet would exist, since they were pushed through for the use of former school board member Gregg Meyers's children and the children of many other members.. Evidently, only black board members should refrain from stating opinions.

No other entity has expressed an interest in renting the building for any amount of time. The rent paid by Collins's church is the only offset to its $40,000 per year cost of upkeep. Certainly the superintendent has no plans to offer the building for use by a charter school.

Chris Collins certainly has faults in the ways he has dealt with the situation; however, he is a duly elected member of the board trying to represent his constituents. 

Who elected Brian Hicks columnist? What are his qualifications to judge?

Monday, July 01, 2013

CCSD: Montessori More Important for Mt. Pleasant Than Gadsden-Green's Successful Charter

Just in case you have forgotten one of charter schools' successes, I am reposting a previous story about Charleston Development Academy (CDA).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Gadsden Green's Heroes

Mention Gadsden Green to Charlestonians and you are likely to hear complaints about the latest shooting or drug-deal--not about positive developments in this city-owned public housing complex. In fact, this week's local TV filmed mothers of six teens arrested for armed robbery complaining that their families should not be forced out of the complex because the crimes were caused by "peer pressure."

TV 5 News also quoted James Heyward, of the Charleston Housing Authority, as saying "The parents need to be held accountable for their children where they are and what they're doing. . . .We as the Housing Authority in accordance with state and local laws, have a right to remove families who are involved in criminal activity on or away from the property."

Amen to that, and thank you, Mr. Heyward! Gadsden Green has its heroes too.

In fact, recently the P & C focused on the successes of the Charleston Development Academy Charter School and its principal, Cecelia Rogers:

  • "founded in 2003 to serve economically and socially disadvantaged children who live in Gadsden Green, a city of Charleston Housing Authority project, and the surrounding area.
  • About 75 percent of the 105 students live in that area, and many others are the children of professionals who work downtown.
  • The school, in a retrofitted building at Gadsden Green, grew out of a tutoring project at Ebenezer [AME] that was designed to help parents learn to teach their children.
  • It developed into a charter school, which is run by a governance board of parents, teachers and community leaders."
  • Keith Waring, who is on the governance board, says that its principal, Cecelia Rogers 'has taken the vision, to raise the comprehension levels of the children and make sure they test above the Adequate Yearly Progress level under the federal No Child Left Behind initiative, and is succeeding,' he says.
  • 'She's doing what you're not supposed to be able to do: to go into Gadsden Green and turn those children into exceptional students.'"
"Professionals that work downtown" are sending their children to a charter school located in Gadsden Green? Now THAT is news! And this school is meeting AYP while other downtown elementary schools are sinking? GOOD news! Funny, I haven't heard any complaints from the CCSD Board of Trustees about THIS charter school's draining students away from CCSD oversight.

I hope that others in District 20 are taking notes on how Ebenezer AME, Rogers, and the community have succeeded with this school. Visiting the school's website, I was struck by the following statement: " CDA incorporates, The Charleston Plan of Excellence, The Coherent Curriculum and The Core Knowledge Curriculum [italics mine] as the foundation teaching tools."

E.D. Hirsch, Jr.'s cultural literacy ideas have been controversial in educational circles for 20 years. I've always thought Hirsch makes sense, but I'm not an elementary school teacher. I do know that in San Antonio, Texas, several public elementary schools adopted this curriculum and met with success. Do any other elementary schools in CCSD use it?

You can check the curriculum out at
Now Principal Cecelia Rogers wonders why the Montessori charter in Mt. Pleasant gets special treatment viz an empty school building for its expansion in return for sharing its successes with CCSD. CDA desperately needs a larger building also. Rogers could share her successes with low-income students and train assistants for CCSD also  

It turns out that some charters are more equal than others,