QEP pushes back against school board coalition

QEP pushes back against school board coalition
October 26 15:31 2018 Print This Article

Members of the Quality Education Project (QEP), the Tri-county National Action Network and others gathered Friday to push back against the Coalition For Kids, a network of wealthy donors which endorsed the three Charleston County School Board incumbents on the November 6 ballot – Cindy Bohn Coats, Kate Darby and Eric Mack. Pastor Thomas Dixon from QEP accused Coalition For Kids of “serious deception” in its claim to support student achievement in every zip code. The group has run more than $200,000 worth of television ads endorsing the school board incumbents.

Meanwhile, the Coalition For Kids is unraveling. Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott, and education reform advocate Tamika Gadsden and others recently had their names removed from the coalition website as supporters. The coalition has listed supporters who have received money from the Charleston County School District (CCSD), including attorney Wilbur Johnson. Johnson is currently under contract with CCSD to investigate a 2014 incident involving an employee found with child pornography on his school computer.

Elder James Johnson from the Tri-county National Action Network wants to see more coalition members walk away from the group. He said, “We’re asking people who signed the Coalition For Kids letter to re-think it.” Johnson indicated that he would call for school district de-consolidation if CCSD doesn’t do more to improve high-poverty schools in North Charleston.” Dixon added that many of the North Charleston schools are plagued by rodent infestation and black mold. The 2017-2018 SC Ready test scores revealed that only 1.2% of Chicora Elementary students in North Charleston met or exceeded the state 5th grade standards for math.

QEP member Jesse Williams said there is a lot of disparity within CCSD’s magnet school programs. He compared the Academic Magnet High School to a college campus, while Garrett Academy of Technology has had career programs discontinued and was found to have rat infestation. He said, “The trades (vocational programs) have been neglected (in CCSD).”

North Charleston activist Jonathan Thrower urged people to vote. He said, “November 6 (election day) is critical for those of us who see the schools in disarray. Your vote is important and your voice is important.” Three absentee voting centers will be open Saturday from 9 am to noon and will remain open on weekdays until Monday, November 5 at 5 pm.