I have not been a proponent for the Maria Goodloe-Johnson Charleston County School District administration of late.
When Goodloe-Johnson was first named CCSD Superintendent about four years ago, I was down with that. The district is 60 percent black, so I figured it was about time a black person was its chief administrator. That’s not to say only a black person could do a good job. I’m black, and I probably couldn’t run the district. But the eight or nine white guys who previously ran the district at various times left us with a dysfunctional system.
Of course, the policymakers for the schools — the county school board — played no small part in the demise of Charleston County schools. When Goodloe-Johnson came here in September 2003, she inherited a real problem. For more than two decades, predominantly-black schools in Charleston County were denied the resources needed to make them viable educational facilities.
The powers that be played word games and screwed around with the numbers, but never has there been equality in education in Charleston County. That’s what Maria Goodloe-Johnson inherited.
She also inherited a system that, like many others where millions of dollars are at stake, was peppered with financial manipulation and mismanagement.
Right off the bat, she discovered a $61 million shortfall in the budget. I was impressed that she dealt with those issues efficiently and effectively.
Then I was disappointed. I thought the lady would deal with all the discrimination in employment in the district. I guess Goodloe-Johnson had to be diplomatic, so there were no wholesale changes.
Over the course of the last four years, some changes were made, but not nearly enough.
I thought the superintendent would jump on the disparity among schools — predominantly-white schools educate kids, predominantly-black schools suck. Schools like Burke, Baptist Hill, and Lincoln consistently underperform. I figured homegirl should have been on top of that from day one. I can’t think of a reason why the academic problems at those schools still exist at the levels they do.
If I’ve got a callous on one foot and gangrene on the other, which foot do you think should get my undivided attention?
Goodloe-Johnson’s administration never focused enough energy on the system’s failing schools. Did she have other issues with which to contend? Most assuredly. Was she impeded by an uncooperative county school board? Most assuredly. But I just didn’t see the necessary focus coming from her administration.
So as this community contemplates her leaving for another job, I have mixed feelings — sorry to see you go, but I’m glad you know the way.