Tuesday, June 10

the southern gentleman

Charleston County schools are and have been for decades, in trouble. The school board is an over politicized cocktail hour where nothing much but pandering and posturing take place. Meanwhile the children suffer in under funded schools with under trained and uninspired teachers. Not surprisingly many of the board members have children who attended or are attending private school. The utter hypocrisy of that we will leave for another post.
When Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was brought in as Superintendent we thought that things would change. Slowly, because it is Charleston and heaven forbid we move quickly just because a situation is dire, but it would change. Then reality set in. Although she was able to make great strides in some areas surprisingly quickly she was not able to deal with the board for more than four years. When Seattle came calling she left.
Dr. Nancy McGinley replaced her and educators around Charleston County breathed a sigh of relief. They were not turning back into the wilderness; they had hired another strong educator with a history of turning schools around. It should not have been a surprise to anyone when Arthur Ravenel, Jr, a school board member, said to one of his staffers that he had gotten rid of one bitch that didn’t agree with him and he could get rid of another. We know he said it because the entire office heard him, including two other school board members who later covered for him, one a woman who advocated sterilization of unwed mothers. Yes, it’s bad in Charleston.
The comment itself is not the thing that sends my blood pressure through the roof. The comment is what you would expect from an 81 year old bigot from a powerful family when he’s confronted with two strong, smart women who are trying to make a change. He’s an irrelevant relic except for the fact that other board members have lied for him and are now supporting him. The entire board should have called for his resignation immediately. Actually the people of Charleston county should have never elected him, but what’s done is done.

The school board needs to be swept out like a cobwebbed cupboard. The people running our schools should be invested in the future of all children, educated and interested in advancements in the field and strong enough to fight the prevailing political winds if necessary. They should also be moralists who recognize what is right and work always towards it. That is not who they have elected to the Charleston County School Board.
We, as a nation seem to forget that we live in a bottom up government. You want better schools? Pick a better board. Yes, voting for President, Senate and Congress are all important, but do you know who your councilperson is? Your Sheriff? Your State Rep? These are the people who impact you and your family on a daily basis in the details – national government paints with broad strokes. While the people of Charleston get swept up in the national moment just like the rest of us hopefully they’ll remember that they also have an obligation to the children stuck in those schools. While they follow with interest the racial and sexual politics of this national campaign hopefully they’ll see the racists and sexists who are in charge of their children’s education.
The children need change, two women have fought for change, many board members stand in the way of change.

So, who’s the bitch?

16 Comments:

Doc said...

Good Grief that is f-ed up.

I am not Star Jones said...

While they follow with interest the racial and sexual politics of this national campaign hopefully they’ll see the racists and sexists who are in charge of their children’s education.

---Yes...all of us need to see the connection to how the isms affect our daily lives and futures and decide to do something about it. I feel exhaustion, feelings of defeat and
depression stops people from facing up to the reality that their engagement is needed to
fight the power.

Susan said...

I can't even talk about our school board here. It's...let's put it this way. If I were to have children, they wouldn't go to school here.

Jay said...

I've been trying to tell people this same thing for years now. Your county judges and sheriffs and city counsel members are the ones who affect your life the most. It's important to realize who these people are what they stand for. Elections have consequences on all levels of government.

WNG said...

Doc - no shit.

Not Star - and so many people just don't pay attention to local government. Apathy is the enemy.

Susan - Papa G would say that the fastest way to change a failing school is to put the board members, teachers and administrators kids there. That'll make them take action.

Jay - It drives me bat shit insane, Jay. Seriously. Especially in smaller towns and cities. These people literally affect your life every day and you don't even know who they are? It's crazy.

Doc said...

You say "Yes, it’s bad in Charleston." as if selective government sactioned mass forced sterilization (socio-economic genecide in essence) is a bad thing....

/sarcasm...

Geeze I just re-read your post - I missed that part the first time somehow.

WNG said...

Well, Doc, I encourage re-reading of my entire back catalogue for the truly dedicated minion, but I'm glad you caught that. Sick, huh?
This is what happens when people don't pay attention to local government. Then we wonder how our country got so screwed up...

NoRegrets said...

I"m glad you are so passionate about it.

WNG said...

Shit pisses me off...In case you couldn't tell.

Papa G is working with the NAACP on the petition and on media statements. He's taking care of Chucktown since I've been gone :)

The CEO said...

Let me see if I have this straight now. Shit pisses you off, NoR, keen observer of human behavior that she is notes that you are passionate over these issues that you have written about, you are registering people to vote; I am compelled to ask, when are you going to run for office there?

slag said...

"While they follow with interest the racial and sexual politics of this national campaign hopefully they’ll see the racists and sexists who are in charge of their children’s education."

In theory, I strongly agree with this assessment. But in reality, I think that we have a hard time just convincing people that certain obvious things are actually racist/sexist, let alone getting them to sniff out racism/sexism in their own communities. Sometimes, baby steps are in order.

As someone who often uses local voting guides and organizational endorsements--instead of thorough and intense research--to influence my voting behavior on a local level, I may be rationalizing here, but I do think that national politics can be just as, if not more, important than local politics at times. The reason I say this is that I think national politics gives everyone across the country something in common on which we can focus our national dialog. And I also think that national politics can have a broad-sweeping influence on local politics.

For instance, over the last seven years, I can't tell you how many times I've heard about arguments over "intelligent" design taking place in and around our classrooms. Before that, I can't think of many serious instances of that debate taking place. Do I think the precipitate focus on "intelligent" design was the result of a sudden 20-point drop in our nation's collective IQ between 1999 and 2000? No, I think it was in good part because we elected our Neanderthal-in-Chief at that time, and he gave voice to the knuckle-dragging collective who put him in office. Hence, the onset of the 8-year long Dark Age in America.

But I digress.

What I really mean to say here is that those board members of that school district you talked about suck and should be punished. And I think you're just the b*tch to do it. Just sayin.

WNG said...

Oh Monty, ex theatre majors from small liberal arts colleges can't run for office for many...uh...reasons...

I get what you're saying Slag, but these pols don't just spring fully formed from the head of Zeus. They start at the local level and we can stop them there. Shrub would never have been president if he hadn't been Gov. Many pols start on city councils and as state reps. If we pay attention we can clean out our political system.
Also, Shrub can talk about intelligent design all he wants, but if your school board ain't havin' it then they ain't havin it. It's where we have the most absolute control over the things that happen in our lives. Ideas and influence don't flow from the top down but from the bottom up - intelligent design came out of the school boards trying to get around teaching evolution. It couls have been squashed if enough actually intelligent people had stood up early instead of saying, 'it's just a school board'.
The President and Congress can set the tone or pass the law, but your local judges, sheriffs, council people and other elected officials are the ones who actually decide how things will be carried out. As such I believe they are just as important.

slag said...

"these pols don't just spring fully formed from the head of Zeus"

Ha! Yeah. I was thinking about this, too (not in exactly those words, of course), and it appears to be a chicken-and-egg problem. Which means that you're right...it's the whole system.


"The President and Congress can set the tone or pass the law, but your local judges, sheriffs, council people and other elected officials are the ones who actually decide how things will be carried out. As such I believe they are just as important."

Well said!

WNG said...

Thanks, Slag! It is the whole system, which means we all need to keep working on it...and talking about it!

Shark-fu said...

Fantabulous reminder that the local needs change!

I'm adding you to a bitch's blogroll.

Toodles!

WNG said...

Thanks Shark-Fu - I'm glad you came by!