#DemandChange for CCSD Students & Educators NOW!

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An Open Petition to the CCSD School Board

Elected Officials,                                                                                

As Charleston County taxpayers, we elected you to ensure our children receive the best education in the nation.  Since the hire of Gerrita Postlewait as Superintendent, our District has been nothing short of chaotic, with our children becoming the victims of her mismanagement.

At this time, we the undersigned, #demandchange and insist you #callthevote, as the public has NO CONFIDENCE in the Superintendent and your demonstrated lack of management of her as leader. 

Since ceding much of your authority to her in November 2016 via a coherent governance plan, as OUR elected officials, you have publicly allowed and condoned the following which has no chance of improving the education for all children regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.

Specifically, since November 2016 alone, you have:

1.     Approved a policy which unlawfully delegates your authority to the Superintendent.

http://www.postandcourier.com/archives/charleston-county-school-board-could-redefine-its-role/article_1c0dbdc1-c114-51b3-b0d0-2080b3fe24af.html

2.     Approved a Strategic Plan’s submission in April 2017 without authentically engaging stakeholders and without the expressed knowledge of all listed stakeholders, including the former Associate Superintendent of Academics and the 2016 CCSD Teacher of the Year.

https://lowcountrysource.com/lowcountry-watchdog/school-board-cut-ccsds-strategic-plan/

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/1dd320207fcb22449c9c3d0af/files/587d4f66-ede5-4861-8a65-35a655738982/CCSD_Strategic_Plan.pdf

3.     Allowed for the random movement of principals, without dialogue with Constituent Boards or without apparent, communicated cause, which defies best practice and causes continued community anxiety.  This cessation of authority to hire principals was done without an amendment to the 1967 Act of Consolidation by the Charleston County Legislative Delegation and resulted in @ 25% of CCSD schools opening with new principals.

http://abcnews4.com/news/local/popular-principal-at-center-of-transfer-controversy-resigns

4.     Supported the Superintendent’s hiring and transferring decisions, which have decreased the number of minority leaders in CCSD while creating many other unallocated administrative positions at the district office.

http://counton2.com/2017/05/08/hundreds-protest-ccsd-headquarters-for-principal-shuffle/

5.     Ignored national data trends by supporting the use of value-added data measures in teacher evaluation instead of using data formatively for teacher and student growth.

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/charleston-county-teachers-put-on-notice-by-surprise-evaluation-changes/article_9423bd86-1957-11e7-95ab-5b9defc24499.html

6.     Publicly defended the Superintendent who lied about her knowledge of an evaluation process which would formally evaluate teachers as a result of student test scores or fire them. Publicly condoned her public apology for her miscommunication, while allowing the Superintendent to shift blame to other CCSD leaders.

https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/TheBattery/archives/2017/05/23/school-superintendant-faces-backlash-over-teacher-evaluations-blames-staff-miscommunication

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/charleston-county-superintendent-gerrita-postlewait-apologizes-for-communications-lapse-in/article_680912fa-4ad0-11e7-a172-ffce1787eeda.html

7.     Allowed the Superintendent to decrease per pupil spending while increasing class size, (an action proven to hinder the progress of minority students first), while ignoring the lack of progress of CCSD’s students.

http://www.live5news.com/story/31531793/many-worried-that-students-will-suffer-as-ccsd-looks-to-cut-jobs

8.     Permitted the continued work of a Chief Financial Officer who was on unexplained leave and allegedly escorted from CCSD premises for unprofessional conduct.

http://abcnews4.com/news/local/charleston-county-school-district-cfo-arrested-twice-on-dui-charges-since-2012

9.     Allowed the Superintendent to ignore special education law and best practice in numerous instances, including, but not limited to, the initial denial of the least restrictive environment (LRE) for a deaf student at Wando High School.

10.  Approved the Superintendent’s implementation of a Progressive Discipline Plan which has hindered school safety and student learning, after voting to eliminate In School Suspension Programs at CCSD high schools. 

http://www.live5news.com/story/36214247/live-5-investigates-one-year-after-new-ccsd-discipline-plan

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/students-speak-their-mind-address-recent-controversies-to-charleston-county/article_f6d2f788-5c4d-11e7-abca-bb7a2b4d237c.html

http://www.postandcourier.com/archives/charleston-schools-may-use-new-discipline-plan/article_a17316f8-7e05-58b8-923a-84ef5a0e14d9.html

11.  Allowed the Superintendent to withhold the Progressive Discipline Plan from various stakeholders, including teachers as well as constituent board members who are charged with overseeing and ruling on expulsion hearings.

http://policy.microscribepub.com/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=3038593962&depth=2&infobase=charles.nfo&softpage=PL_frame

12.  Failed to provide clear service-oriented expectations to the Superintendent who dined, with approximately 20 senior staff members, in the upper room of Magnolias Restaurant on the fourth day of school while students and teachers worked in schools without ample personnel, air conditioning, curriculum, and/or supplies.

13.  Approved hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenditures for external consultants and program consultants, while classrooms and students, especially those in underprivileged settings, have been short-changed.

14.  Approved questionable contracts to businesses, some of which are allegedly linked to CCSD.

https://www.charlestonchronicle.net/2017/02/16/nan-hollinshead-wants-school-board-to-take-harder-look-at-construction-contract-award/

15.  Approved recent new positions, pay hikes and position upgrades for district office employees while schools struggle due to a lack of needed materials and staff.

16.  Supported by vote the closure of a predominantly African-American high school, Lincoln, while proposing a “consolidation” of Garrett Academy, another predominantly African-American school, with the new North Charleston Center for Advanced Studies.

http://abcnews4.com/news/local/three-charleston-county-school-board-members-walk-out-of-meeting-to-protest-school-closure

http://www.postandcourier.com/archives/school-board-to-close-lincoln-despite-outcry-oks-tax-hike/article_21091c67-5121-5fcb-8d18-f170194a5db0.html

https://lowcountrysource.com/feature-this/controversy-looms-location-north-charleston-center-advanced-studies/

17.  Supported MAP growth goals at 1.5 years for some groups of students which was later denied by the Superintendent as never having been a “goal.”

18.  Failed to hold the Superintendent accountable for staff’s announcing the cessation of strings offerings for some CCSD students which resulted in her public apology and District retraction.

https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/CultureShock/archives/2017/01/04/announcement-to-eliminate-strings-program-deemed-premature-by-ccsd

19.  Neglected to hold the Superintendent accountable for guaranteeing ALL students are prepared for rigorous programs.

20.  Ignored Charleston Teacher Alliance (CTA) annual survey data on which nearly 1/3 of teachers rated the Superintendent overall as “Ineffective” (1.41), and subsequently allowed the Superintendent to pay the CTA director hourly for work creating a teacher “Cabinet” for feedback that has existed for 10+ years.

http://www.charlestonteacheralliance.com/uploads/3/0/5/9/30595451/leadership_report2017.pdf

21.  Ignored the lowest teacher morale in recent history, failing to recognize that teachers have the greatest impact on student achievement.

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/anger-boils-over-at-charleston-county-school-district-protest-morale/article_1273ee06-31bb-11e7-9f8f-371b6b5e00bb.html

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/anger-boils-over-at-charleston-county-school-district-protest-morale/article_1273ee06-31bb-11e7-9f8f-371b6b5e00bb.html

22.  Supported the Meeting Street Academy partnership at Burns Elementary, providing the charter school program a new building while, at the same time, refusing to support Orange Grove Middle School’s similar need.

http://www.postandcourier.com/archives/orange-grove-charter-buys-land-for-future-middle-school-campus/article_9b01fc6c-ba1f-5f19-9a3d-b45b1a7d4ea4.html

23.  Approved a “Top Talent” model which has not been transparently communicated and includes a questionable pay scale for teachers, affording “bonus pay” to predominantly novice educators who have little to no demonstrated success in high poverty schools.

http://counton2.com/2017/01/10/ccsd-to-use-money-to-recruit-top-teachers/

24.  Knowingly allowed District employees who serve our students to be targeted and bullied by the current administration.

25.  Failed to ensure a fair system of admission for ALL students into Academic Magnet High School.

26.  Approved a budget that included a Journalist position for the Office of Strategy and Communications, a department that already employees at least 15 staff members.

http://counton2.com/2017/01/10/ccsd-to-use-money-to-recruit-top-teachers/

27.  Approved a plan for an Early College High School without seeking community input or looking for ways to improve neighborhood schools.

28.  Defamed principals and discounted teachers who spoke out against questionable evaluation and transfer practices by the Superintendent and staff.

http://www.live5news.com/story/35451744/ccsd-responds-to-principals-allegations-in-resignation-letter

29.  Planned for 2017-18 student data dashboards without prepared professional development for staff or sufficient feedback from students, parents, and teachers.

30.  Allowed for the hiring and appointment of district office employees without adhering to hiring policies, while allowing some to write their own job descriptions.

http://policy.microscribepub.com/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=3038593962&depth=2&infobase=charles.nfo&softpage=PL_frame

31.  Allowed for the hire of a Deputy Superintendent, a former colleague of the Superintendent, after a lengthy advertisement, which also occurred after the Deputy Superintendent position was dissolved when held by Dr. Lisa Herring.

http://www.postandcourier.com/archives/lisa-herring-accepts-buyout-becomes-deputy-superintendent-of-charleston-schools/article_f1385dfc-16b7-5271-8a8e-45ec2bcd4137.html

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/charleston-county-schools-hire-new-leaders/article_32daf804-46ee-11e7-8474-abe184670465.html

32.  Allowed the Superintendent to ignore FOIA requests for various groups and agencies.

http://abcnews4.com/news/local/charleston-county-schools-cite-security-in-not-revealing-number-of-down-security-cameras

33.  Supported the execution of a faux Listening Tour AFTER submission of the CCSD Strategic Plan, while simultaneously withholding said “Plan” from the public.

http://counton2.com/2017/06/14/charleston-county-school-district-to-hold-public-listening-sessions/

34.  Condoned the Superintendent’s providing one day’s notice to teachers, who are on the front lines, about the Listening Tour.

https://lowcountrysource.com/feature-this/ccsd-teachers-not-notified-listening-session/

35.  Allowed the Superintendent to schedule the Principals’ Listening Tour Session while many administrators were out of town at a district approved conference, leaving the panel heavily populated with district staff and principals new to CCSD.

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/a-month-after-big-protests-charleston-county-schools-employee-decisions/article_1dab4d02-553b-11e7-a7ff-6bc1431773fb.html

36.  Failed to hold the Superintendent accountable for CCSD’s 2016-17 accreditation blunders and lack of AdvancEd District Accreditation, despite the hire of a Director to manage and a 2 ½ year body of work to date.

https://ed.sc.gov/scdoe/assets/File/districts-schools/state-accountability/FinalACCReport2017.pdf

http://www.advanc-ed.org/oasis2/u/par/search

37.  Allowed the Superintendent to originally deny the engagement of elected officials in Board Executive Session via phone.

38.  Failed to consider stakeholder input regarding Carolina Park’s shared stadium, which has led to public anxiety and outcry, while simultaneously negotiating property purchase in Carolina Park with campaign contributors to current seated Board Members.

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/political-football-punted-across-the-street-east-cooper-regional-stadium/article_bf668814-6afd-11e7-ab41-efc6f5d8f86d.html

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/mount-pleasant-officials-concerned-high-school-stadium-plan-will-cause/article_5857af76-e33b-11e6-8396-e767cb667ca7.html

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/charleston-county-school-district-s-awendaw-land-purchase-falls-through/article_3d0c4a66-2e71-11e7-9208-076597b694b9.html

39.  Allowed the Superintendent to centralize the student enrollment projection process and to vary among school sites which day count (7 v. 10 v. 12) was used to allocate teachers.

https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/TheBattery/archives/2017/06/27/charleston-county-school-board-gives-initial-approval-to-pay-increase-for-board-members

The aforementioned incidents, conscious decisions, and their resulting consequences have left our children’s future in jeopardy.  To add insult to injury, you voted yourselves a pay raise equal annually to 40% of the salary of a starting teacher before quickly rescinding after a review of State law.  

Therefore, we the undersigned issue a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in the Superintendent and current district level leadership and #demandchange. We request your immediate action to remove the Superintendent and restore stability, order, and community for the sake of 50,000 students, their teachers, and our communities. 

If not, we pledge to replace through state statute, and via the 2018 election, members of the current Charleston County School District Board of Trustees so as to provide a proper education for every student.  Further, we also pledge to withdraw our support for current members of the Charleston County Legislative Delegation who support the above listed grievances and their enactors.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned Citizens



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