Wednesday, April 9, 2014
I have written about this before, but my question needs repeating. I was thrilled to read about the opening of a new theater in Mount Pleasant, but when the article stated it was at 1234 Johnnie Dodds Road, my reaction was “Wonder where that is?” The article also mentioned that folks could eat “next door” before going to a performance. What is “next door”? That would have given me a point of reference. For the most part, businesses on Johnnie Dodds do not identify themselves with street numbers where you can see them, despite a town ordinance that requires all businesses to have a street number visible. When will the town enforce their own ordinance?
This is in response to Will Haynie’s opinion column in the Moultrie News on April 2. He was complaining about the “non-cycling tax payers” having to contribute part of their tax dollars for the expense and construction of bicycle lanes in Charleston county. I’m not sure what country he is living in, but we tax payers have to pay for a lot of things we don’t use or need. Our taxes go to the construction and maintenance of our roads whether we own a car or not. Our taxes go to the construction and maintenance of our schools whether we have children or not. Our taxes go to police and fire departments, and God forbid we ever need their assistance, just to name a few. In other words, our taxes are for the betterment of the community as a whole. Whether you as an individual take part in enjoying these improvements is your choice. But don’t begrudge others who are enjoying the outdoors, choosing not to waste their dollars on gasoline, and in turn, make their lives healthier. Maybe Mr. Haynie should give it a try. Exercise has been shown to make you a happier person.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are simply an outline of content expectations for each grade level. I have experience working with math students from second grade to Algebra II and am impressed with the connections to other content areas as well as the progression from one grade to the next. Each grade level has a focus on several interconnected concepts, allowing students the time needed to develop a deep understanding rather than just scratching the surface and moving on. For example, in eighth grade, transformational geometry is not taught in isolation, but shown as having a relationship to similar and congruent figures.
By combining standards in perseverance, communication, accuracy, strategy and fluency with content, students are able to do more than mimic. They are able to apply math to unique situations. This progression provides support at each grade level to build competent and confident mathematicians, not math-magicians. The mathematician is able to internalize and apply math flexibly to varied situations. The math-magician can replicate what the teacher does in class – now you see it, but once class is over – now you don’t.
Having standards doesn’t mean that each student is taught in the same way. There are multiple methods to teach a standard and adapt instruction to the needs of each class or student. Standards aren’t how you teach, only what you teach.
Sheri Few, running for superintendent and opposed to CCSS, states, “I don’t see how we can focus on literacy if we don’t get rid of Common Core.” Yet, I have increased literacy experiences since CCSS adoption. Students discuss examples rather than taking notes. Students write in journals and revise based on new understanding. Through debate, students communicate understanding using appropriate vocabulary to justify answers. The result is an interactive classroom environment tailored to the individual.
CCSS promotes math instruction related to college and career readiness. Guest speakers ranging from entrepreneurs, tradesmen, bankers, medical professionals, engineers and architects encourage career exploration, financial literacy and relevant math experience.
Gary Burgess, also running for superintendent and opposed to CCSS, blames teachers for standardized teaching, while students are not standardized. However, my colleagues, community partners and I are able to use the standards as a tool for creating unique and meaningful experiences for students in preparation for the world beyond the classroom. Combining CCSS with creative, motivated and collaborative professionals provides each student with an education that is more than “standard.”
Dr. Hunter, the president of Charleston Southern University wrote a letter referring to Mount Pleasant looking to have Francis Marion University set up a satellite campus here. He asked, “Why should Mount Pleasant residents pay for educational opportunities when they already exist in the Lowcountry?”
I would like to answer his question for Mount Pleasant readers. As a retiree with no young children in this area, I consider my response to be totally objective as opposed to Dr. Hunter who represents the interests of CSU.
There are currently no B.A. programs offered East of the Cooper. Total travelling time from Mount Pleasant to CSU is more than an hour during rush hour in extremely heavy and congested traffic and the student must use a car. USC and Clemson are not within commuting range and the cost of living on campus is prohibitive for many families.
There is an urgent need for Nursing, Business and Industrial Engineering education here in the Lowcountry, with all the new businesses relocating to this area. We need more opportunities for B.A. programs to address this need, not less. Currently the programs at MUSC, C of C and The Citadel mentioned by Dr. Hunter have limited space and higher, more competitive acceptance criteria than FMU. FMU would make it possible for those Mount Pleasant students who cannot meet the acceptance criteria at the other schools to obtain a four-year degree.
The tuition rates for the full-time Nursing Program, based on 2013-2014 per semester rates are: $7,020 at FMU, $7,292 at MUSC, and $11,025 at CSU.
A comparison of the above rates also points out the better affordability of attending college closer to home and the ability to utilize CARTA services. Having FMU here would also benefit families from Awendaw up through Georgetown, and those towns as well should be interested in having FMU’s presence along this Route 17 corridor.
I guess it is up to Mount Pleasant residents to answer Dr. Hunter’s question. I highly applaud the Mount Pleasant Town Council for considering this opportunity for its residents and families and hope that it is approved and implemented as soon as possible.
(Below is Dr. Hunter’s letter)
Why shouldn’t Mount Pleasant taxpayers save $1.5 million on higher education?
The Mount Pleasant Town Council is considering the sponsorship of a new college satellite campus that would cost Mount Pleasant taxpayers $1.5 million. According to the article, Francis Marion University has received approval from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education to offer a program that will give registered nurses with a two-year degree, a chance to earn a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
The question is, “Why should Mount Pleasant taxpayers pay taxes for this endeavor when this educational opportunity and others already exist in the Lowcountry?”
In fact, the Medical University of South Carolina offers an accelerated Bachelor of Nursing (ACC-BSN) program.
Also, Charleston Southern University (CSU) offers two-year registered nurses a chance to earn a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (RN-BSN). The RN-BSN curriculum at CSU was developed in collaboration with the Division of Nursing at Trident Technical College.
Our Lowcountry higher education institutions produce some of the best and brightest nursing graduates in the state of South Carolina. Charleston Southern nursing graduates have a 96 percent seven-year average pass rate on the National Exam (NCLEX-RN). We live in a three-county region where numerous higher educational opportunities are available and affordable to all residents.
Future plans for the Francis Marion University satellite program include degree programs in such areas as Business and Industrial Engineering. Charleston Southern University offers four face-to-face business degrees with a variety of emphases available at a competitive price. CSU offers a dual-degree program in Pre-Engineering in partnership with The Citadel, University of South Carolina and Clemson.
The question remains, “Why should Mount Pleasant taxpayers be taxed for educational programs when these opportunities already exist in the Lowcountry?”
Dr. Jairy C. Hunter
President/Charleston Southern University
What a terrible idea for these so-called student athletes.
We realize that college athletics has become a big business, but this is a step too far.
If these teenagers want a union, they are defeating the purpose of a college education.
Perhaps it’s time to stop athletic scholarships and all other financial aid to these people who seem to only have their eyes on future professional sports riches and have them finance their own futures.