4.36 | Monday, July 9, 2012
:: FEEDBACK: On public education
:: SPOTLIGHT: Chas. Green Commercial
:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
:: THE LIST: Five for summer fun
:: QUOTE: Power of summer
WHERE IS IT?
2012 The Inn at Middleton Place, Charlestons most interesting
inn, marks its 25th anniversary with a year of celebrations. While it
may not seem like a major anniversary in an area with a 300-year history,
its design, location, layout and personality continue to make the Inn
a favorite retreat for out-of-town visitors and locals alike.
point is paramount. Clark wanted the Inns buildings to blend into
the natural landscape. As few trees as possible were removed or disturbed
during construction, and over the years, fig vines have grown to cover
many of the Inns exterior walls. By design, the woods surrounding
the Inn seem to be reclaiming the buildings, blending them seamlessly
into the 100-year-old live oaks, Spanish moss, and other flora found along
the banks of the Ashley River. Even the Inns 55 guest rooms, with
their extensive use of cypress and minimal apparent design remind one
more of a quaint cabin in the woods or the hold of some ancient ship.
wrote of his philosophy of architecture that all building should be atonement
for the disturbance of the land. At the necessary juncture of culture
and place, architecture seeks not only the minimal ruin of landscape,
but something more difficult: a replacement of what was lost with something
that atones for that loss, he wrote in a 1991 essay titled Replacement.
In the best architecture, this replacement is through an intensification
of the place, where it emerges no worse for human intervention, where
cultures shaping of the place to specific use results in a heightening
of the beauty of the landscape. In these places we seem worthy of existence.
at Middleton Place is a prime and successful example of that sentiment.
Clark and Menefees work paid off. The Inn at Middleton Place was
immediately recognized for its outstanding concept and design by the American
Institute for Architecture with its Honor Award, the professions
highest accolade for individual buildings by American architects.
JULY 9, 2012 -- There is no magic silver bullet to improve South Carolina's public schools. If there were one, it would have been fired from the policy gun years ago for a system that has struggled for generations.
So that's left people to try lots of different approaches from magnet schools to publicly-funded charter schools that are run outside of the traditional power structure with a lot of parental input. There are continuing attempts to hijack public funds via vouchers to pay for private school education. And school leaders are trying Montessori-style schools, gifted programs, early childhood intervention programs, paying more to teachers; teacher accountability; tough standards; and on and on and on.
In South Carolina, it's not clear anything is really working to make all schools better. As a result, we've got a state where 28 percent of kids attend culturally homogeneous schools in which 80 percent of students or more are of one race. In the Upstate, the schools are mostly white. In the Lowcountry, Pee Dee and Midlands, those schools tend to be mostly black. The schools in middle? They're all over the map from Academic Magnet High School in Charleston County, one of the top schools in the country, to rural schools with big achievement gaps that struggle for good teachers.
As a result, almost 60,000 students -- about a tenth of South Carolina's students -- attend private schools or are home-schooled. Just about everyone else is losing patience, but is caught because they can't afford private schools, many of which, in truth, may not provide that much better education than the public schools by which people are frustrated.
Particularly for the 28 percent of schools where diversity is low, attempts by policymakers to increase diversity will pay off in creating better school experiences for kids, says David L. Kirp, a public policy professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
"Despite its flaws, integration is as successful an educational strategy as we've hit on," he wrote in May in The New York Times.
But simply adding diversity back into the mix to fix our schools isn't enough. More has to be done, as Kirp outlined in a recent book, "Kids First: Five Big Ideas for Transforming Children's Lives." The big ideas:
What these big ideas have in common is they're trying to boost education for every child, not just disadvantaged ones. If we can do that, then there might be more buy-in for better educational programs everywhere. Send along your big idea.
To the editor:
The state of our S.C. education system has really concerned me for many years. The bottom line for success in the world, not just a job in S.C. is a quality education. We have one school in S.C., the Academic Magnet School, that is a top school in the nation. My question is, "Why, if this school can excel, can we not adapt their programs etc to all of the other schools in S.C. and give all of our children a quality education?
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. In this issue, we turn the spotlight on Charleston Green Commercial, a full-service commercial property management company that pays attention to detail, provides exceptional personal service and is committed to adding value to buildings. Offering professional property management, consulting and other services, the company strives to improve clients' bottom lines with superior service, accessibility, reliability and a wealth of knowledge of the Charleston real estate market. By blending use of proven contractors and contacts with environmentally-conscious practices, the company helps clients stay on the leading edge of commercial real estate practices. More.
to local non-profit Charleston
Waterkeeper, its now a whole lot easier to find a local beach
with water clean enough for swimming. Launched on the first full day of
summer, June 20, the Charleston Waterkeeper Swim Guide app is a great
way not only to find clean beaches, but to also learn key facts about
up-to-date water quality information for more than 25 popular beach locations
and growing, the free smartphone app includes Charleston area beaches
such as Isle of Palms, Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, Sullivans
Island and Folly Beach, as well as popular beaches along the Florida coast.
Each point is updated bi-monthly using water quality data collected by
the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)
to determine whether the water at local beaches is safe for swimming.
Plants love used
grounds contain very useful quantities of phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen,
calcium, magnesium, copper, carbohydrates, sugars, some vitamins and,
of course, caffeine. Grounds are especially good for acid-loving plants
such as roses, blueberries, azaleas, camellias and blueberries.
parks go mobile
Launched this past month by the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreations & Tourism, the mobile version of SouthCarolinaParks.com provides much of the same information as the regular Web site, except in an easier-to-read-and-navigate format for mobile platforms.
Mobile site browsers can:
Art lovers are rallying to stop a veto of almost $2.5 million in funding for the S.C. Arts Commission eliminated by a Friday budget veto by Gov. Nikki Haley. Haley also vetoed $2 million in funding for the Sea Grant Consortium as well as millions for some teacher pay raises and investments at the S.C. Department of Commerce.
The General Assembly will meet next week to consider the vetoes.
Until the vetoes are resolved, the governor's veto puts the Arts Commission in limbo with NO authorization to expend ANY funds, including federal monies from the National Endowment for the Arts, therefore leaving the agency unable to operate, said Betty Plumb, executive director of the S.C. Arts Alliance.
If these vetoes are not overridden by the Legislature, South Carolina will be the only state without a public agency mandated to bring access to the arts to all of our citizens. The state's small investment in the arts yields significant, statewide returns for education, quality of life and our economy. The support and services the Arts Commission provides make a positive difference in our communities and schools. We cannot afford to sacrifice this valuable public asset when there is no practical reason to do so!
Plumb urged taxpayers and arts lovers to contact their members of the S.C. House and Senate to encourage them to override vetoes of arts funding.
Every vote is important. It will take a "super majority" to override the vetoes - 2/3rd of the House and then 2/3rd of the Senate!
of Kiawah Island access policy curbs beach traffic
planning to visit Beachwalker Park soon, you may be in for a rude awakening.
The Town of Kiawah Island is enforcing enforcing a new policy that prohibits
vehicles from idling on the roadway outside the county's Beachwalker Park,
according to the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission.
parking areas within the beach park on Kiawah Island have been filled,
cars waiting on Beachwalker Drive to enter will be turned around and asked
to return at a later time.
parking areas fill up quickly on weekends and holidays. The parking lots
tend to reach capacity by late morning and then become available by mid-afternoon.
Randle named research, ed director at Magnolia Gardens
Lisa Randle is the new director of research and education at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. A former conference program coordinator at the College of Charleston, Randle replaces Preston Cooley, Magnolias historian who recently left to enter the seminary.
Randles responsibilities go beyond the role of historian for Magnolia and the Drayton Family, who founded Magnolia in 1676, said Tom Johnson, Magnolias executive director.
We are excited about having someone of Lisas background and caliber to help us with Drayton family history, the interpretation of the Slavery to Freedom tour and the main house, Johnson said. She brings another level of expertise to enhance our team of historians, writers and historic interpreters. She has an understanding of Charlestons history as well as how Lowcountry South Carolina has been influenced by European, Caribbean and West African cultures.
Randle said she was looking forward to enhancing visitor experiences so they could get a better idea of the site's broad history.
I am also excited about working with the Drayton/Hastie family and exploring the connections with Old St. Andrews Parish Church, as well as continuing ongoing connections with Barbados. The Rev. John Grimké Drayton, who established Americas oldest public garden at Magnolia in the 1870s, served for 40 years as rector of the church, longer than any other minister in the church's 305-year history.
Randle is the former director of education and outreach at the Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture at the College of Charleston. In May 2013, she is scheduled to receive a doctorate degree in historic archaeology from the University of South Carolina. Her area of study is the African American perspectives of the landscape along the East Branch of the Cooper River in Berkeley County.
Citadel launches new criminal justice department
The Citadels criminal justice program will become its own department in the fall to better meet the educational demands and needs of students. Previously, criminal justice was housed under the department of political science and criminal justice. Now, they will be separate departments.
The creation of separate administrative units for these popular disciplines will provide better organizational frameworks for each of them to expand the educational opportunities available to our students, said Bo Moore, dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, Were particularly excited about the prospects of the Charleston area, under the leadership of our new department of criminal justice, becoming a major center of broadly based homeland security studies.
Martha Henderson Hurley, the chair of the new department, said the new program is both up-to-date and international. It is not the criminal justice of old. It really is a global criminal justice discipline. And thats exciting. Thats why people are drawn to it now.
While The Citadel has offered a traditional criminal justice degree for more than 20 years, the new department boasts faculty with expertise in areas such as international organized crime, terrorism, international criminal justice systems, narco-terrorism, international crime, intelligence and homeland security.
At midcentury South Carolina schools remained in perilous condition. In the face of rising concern over the quality of the schools, the legislature commissioned the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee, to survey the schools and make recommendations for their improvement. Published in 1948, the survey revealed a host of problems: 1,680 separate school districts in the state, expenditures per child in the wealthiest districts at more than twice that in the poorest, state spending per pupil and teacher salaries below the national and southern averages, and school completion rates half the national average.
figures hid the discrepancies between spending on white students and that
on black students. In Clarendon County, for example, per-pupil expenditure
during 19491950 was $179 per white child and only $43 per black
An attempt by black parents in one Clarendon County district to secure bus transportation for their children led to a lawsuit challenging segregated schools. As Briggs v. Elliott worked its way through the federal courts, the white leadership of the state was forced to confront the inadequacies and inequities in South Carolina schools.
approved a $75 million bond issue supported by a three percent sales tax
to address school issues and, the white power structure hoped, forestall
desegregation. Court-ordered desegregation came as a result of Brown
v. Board of Education (1954), the decision that also addressed Briggs
v. Elliott, and although South Carolina was slow to comply, in the
fall of 1963 eleven black children were admitted to previously all-white
schools in Charleston. By 19701971 South Carolina schools were fully
In a strange
twist of fate, white resistance to desegregation finally brought the kind
of attention to the public schools that they had so long needed. While
still behind in some areas, since the 1970s South Carolina schools fully
participated in the national debates over schooling and the consequent
policy experiments that characterized schools throughout the nation. The
Education Finance Act of 1977 identified a defined minimum program
for South Carolina schools and attempted to address financial inequities
in the schools. The Basic Skills Assessment Act (1978) and the Educator
Improvement Act (1979) reflected the back to basics movement
in education and teacher competency.
Accountability and assessment are key to understanding education in South Carolina in the last two decades of the twentieth century. Evidence of the shortcomings of the educational system in South Carolina included the fact that in the early 1980s, on the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS), a national standardized test required by South Carolina since 1973, averages in all grades tested were below the national average in all tested subjects.
Basic Skills Assessment Program (BSAP), required since 1978 in grades
one, three, six, eight, and eleven, the disparity in scores made by white
students and those of African American students was growing. Repeatedly
South Carolina was ranked last on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT),
a test that predicts college performance. During the 1980s and 1990s the
General Assembly passed a series of laws that directed the educational
system to become more responsible for the development of schoolchildren.
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Five for summer fun
Everybody likes a festival, right? Well here are five fun things on tap for the next couple of months.
Power of summer
"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it."
Bastille Day celebration: 6 p.m., July 14, Marion Square, Charleston. The folks at What If? Productions will storm Fish Restaurant in style during its 4th annual Bastille Day Celebration that will feature can-can girls, a costume party, cocktail specials, Marie Antoinette, burlesque and more. Dress as your favorite French peasant or character and join the fun. More online.
"Remembering 'Her' Time:" Through Aug. 17, Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street, College of Charleston. This three-month exhibit of the art of Bernice Mitchell Tate is a material culture, historic, fine craft, and art installation exhibition honoring the collective spirit of female identity and African-American womanhood. The exhibit serves as a personal tribute, a "herstory", recognizing the life and times of Tate's mother, the late Veronica Robinson-Mitchell of Sheldon, South Carolina. Furthermore, it is a celebration of Lowcountry culture and authentic African-American Gullah-Geechee heritage. More info: 843-953-7609.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
Book sale: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., July 20; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., July 21, John's Island Branch of the Charleston County Library, 3531 Maybank Highway. Charleston Friends of the Library will offer great bargains on good books at the branch's book sale. More info.
Parks for Tomorrow: Meetings are scheduled from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at these times and locations: July 24, Charleston (Burke High School media center); July 25, Yonges Island (Baptist Hill High School cafeteria); July 26, McClellanville (St. James Santee Elementary School). These three meetings are left to give public inputon topics including parks, recreation and trails to incorporate into the master plan for the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission. More info.
Global trade luncheon: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., July 25, Montague Terrace, 5001 Coliseum Drive. The World Trade Center Charleston, an initiative of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, will offer a luncheon to allow leaders to connect on global trade growth and discuss international trade. The speaker will be Phillip Poland, director of export control and trade integrity for International Trade and Compliance at DHL Express USA. Also schedule to talk is Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the S.C. Ports Authority. More.
(NEW) Book signing: July 30, Barnes and Noble, West Ashley. Norb Vonnegut, a Charleston native and cousin to novelist Kurt Vonnegut, is scheduled to sign his new thriller, The Trust. The new book takes place near the corner of Broad and East Bay streets. It is the story of a wealthy Charleston family nobody we know whose philanthropic interests fall prey to a real sicko skilled in international finance.
(NEW) Softball challenge: 7:05 p.m. Aug. 4, Joe Riley Park, Charleston. Louie's Kids will host its second annual Slim Down the South Celebrity Softball Challenge as two teams of local and national celebrities take the field to raise awareness about and funding for childhood obesity efforts. To meet confirmed celebrities and learn more, go here online.
Homegrown Concert: Aug. 17-18, Family Circle Magazine Stadium, Daniel Island. Hootie & The Blowfish will host the 10th annual HomeGrown Concert to raise back-to-school supplies for the Charleston County School District. Tickets ($31) are on sale at Ticketmaster outlets. More online.
8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year
that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so
what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird
walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested.
Cost is $5. Learn
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