Saturday, December 15, 2018

Eight of 9 Worst-performing Schools in North Charleston

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"What a great school system we have in Charleston County," think parents in Mt. Pleasant. A great system that has worked to the advantage of the middle and upper classes, that is. If it's so great, why are nine of the Charleston County School District's schools on the naughty list?

Why should the state need to intervene in one of the state's richest districts? 

What has happened over the years since the consolidation of once multiple school districts into one countywide district is, in fact, a crime. It's a crime against the poor and black. Gregg Meyers and his ilk have some 'splaining to do, but the upshot remains that the middle class and the powerful in the county guaranteed for their children a decent public education.

The first, and one of the biggest mistakes, was to close the white High School of Charleston and guarantee the existence of historically black Burke High. What idiot thought at the time that the parents of white students would happily sign onto a school that prides itself in its black culture? We can see the result: Burke remains virtually all black and the remaining white students in its attendance district have managed by hook or by crook to opt out. Even the mirage of a thought that Burke's attendance district might be redrawn to reach across the Cooper into Mt. Pleasant and relieve the crowding in its high schools would be enough to start a second revolution. 

Burke isn't on the naughty list, however. That ignominy is reserved for the black population of North Charleston, most of whom decades ago lived on the now-gentrified peninsula when CCSD was formed. 

It's time to face reality. The Board of Trustees and Superintendent keep crunching numbers in the vain hope that educating the poor doesn't cost any more than educating the rich, or in edu-speak, the "resourced." Though equal outcomes are unlikely to occur, CCSD administration must break the mold by dedicating more money per pupil to the nine schools in trouble. 

This, of course, assumes the correct schools are on the list. Notably absent is Sanders-Clyde. We all know how poorly it has done over the years.

Revenues from North Charleston subsidize the rest of the district. Maybe North Charleston needs its own school system; then it could spend more on these failing schools.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Leaner, Meaner CCSD Payroll Process Took Only Six Years

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"Festering payroll issues" should be renamed "festering hourly employee issues," but as usual our local rag doesn't want to put the responsibility where it belongs. Instead, it joyously reports that after acknowledging six years' worth of problems over sloppy time cards with a 2015 budget disaster three years in, the Charleston County School District has finally put some teeth into the enforcement of hourly employees' pay. Duh.

It's only OPM--that's Other People's Money--so why should we care?

In reality, we know that auditors first complained about the mess six years ago, but how many years did it take to create the culture that " 'was very lax with clocking in, checking in, and supervisors approving leave and time sheets and everything else,'” according to Board member Todd Garrett? 

Hourly employees became highly disgruntled when a more effective system took effect last year.

You mean I have to prove that I actually worked those hours? Shocking!

"In the week of April 15-21, nearly 800 employees and 800 supervisors failed to properly submit time cards. During the week of Nov. 18-24, those numbers were down to 235 employees and 173 supervisors, according to data provided to the board’s Audit and Finance Committee on Dec. 4."

We guarantee that no one has yet lost employment over this disobedience.

"Starting this [month], the district is using a five-strike discipline policy to bring those numbers down to zero. The new policy applies to all hourly employees and their supervisors. For the first two offenses, employees or supervisors who fail to comply with time card approval rules will receive written warning letters. On the third offense, the worker’s pay will be withheld until the next two-week pay period has ended. A fourth offense leads to disciplinary action up to a three-day suspension without pay. A fifth offense results in disciplinary action 'up to and including termination.'”

We're getting tough, oh so tough, now.

How about three strikes and you're out? Works in baseball. Five strikes just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

CCSD Must Expand In Loco Parentis for Struggling Students

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While in loco parentis in our public schools originally  controlled students, if the Charleston County School District wishes to narrow the achievement gap between the races, it must expand its reach to their parents. Resources devoted to what the edublob now calls "under-resourced" students must dwarf those for the "over-resourced." Yet the district must come to grips with the role of parents if more than minimal progress is to be made. Too often, the elephant in the room is ignored.

Why are Superintendent Postlewait and the Charleston County School Board and the Post and Courier ignoring the elephant? 

It's not politically correct to point out that the child's parents frequently aid and abet the "under-resourcing." 

Let's be realistic for a change. Many poor (in more ways that one!) students have poorly-educated parents, a result of decades of failing schools. Some single parents (not all!) are so distracted by financial problems and poor health that sufficient attention is lacking. What about fathers (and/or) mothers in prison or daily drugged out? Grandparents lacking the energy to keep on top of what the children they must raise are getting into? Neighborhood cultures (and gangs) jeering at achieving students for "acting white." that is, acting middle-class.

We can never erase every factor dragging down the achievement of these children, but the school district must explore avenues regarding parental care that will put them back on the playing field.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Letter Writer Corrects P & C About SC "Segregated" Schools

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This Letter to the Editor was from someone who understands the state's history, unlike the reporters who wrote the education series appearing last month.

Education series
Nov 25, 2018
"I have read the first two stories in your series on education shortfalls in South Carolina. The reporting about the need to educate all South Carolinians so they are employable in today’s workforce and/or able to enroll in colleges or technical schools is spot-on. To me, this means improving the quality and equality of education throughout the state and demanding that students apply themselves. A great goal."


"That you suggest, in the second installment, that blacks are set up to fail because they do not have white students among them is not only racially demeaning and elitist but classically racist."

Yet is generally the view of white liberals from off.

"There are areas of the state that are majority black, as I suspect you know, and labeling this as segregation is questionable. Laying guilt on white students for this long-standing state of affairs that will probably not change soon is disingenuous and ineffectual."

But makes the reporters feel superior.

"What The Post and Courier needs to do is offer more practical approaches that emphasize improving education and equality with emphasis on student achievement."

Chuck Freas