Black-Majority School Boards Kept Black Children out of School Last Year

by James C. Sherlock

Those who have followed my work know that I have spent a great deal of time and effort exposing the horrible educations that many poor Black children get in Virginia.

This is another of those stories. A profoundly sad one.

The Virginia Public Access Project, in an visual report titled, Massive Educational Experiment, wrote:

By the end of the 2020-21 school year, nearly half of Virginia’s 1.2 million public school students were taught remotely. Another 47% received some combination of in-school and remote teaching. Fewer than 5% of all students stuck with in-person only.

We know absolutely that poor and minority kids have suffered the most from remote learning.

Yet the report shows that Black kids were disproportionately kept at home by Black majority school boards. To no discernible concern from the heights of our politics or culture.

Where were the press? The fevered opinion columnists of the left Where was the academy on this?

Where was the outrage from those who pose endlessly as having Black kids’ best interests in mind? Where was the NAACP? The Southern Poverty Law Center? Black Lives Matter? The teachers unions? VDOE? The Governor? The Attorney General?

The worst actors. The six school districts who kept their children out of school the most in order from the very worst were Portsmouth, Richmond City, Sussex County, Essex County, Petersburg and Greensville County.

Portsmouth and Richmond never opened their schools for in-person learning. The other four kept 95% to 99% of their students and staffs home all year.

Each of those districts is governed by a majority Black school board overseeing a majority Black school population and, with the exception of Essex County, a majority Black teaching staff.

So why they did they do that to the children in their care?

As I wrote earlier, I simply have no idea.

  • “Everyone did it” is demonstrably untrue. In many other Virginia school districts, the teachers wanted to teach, the kids wanted to learn and the school boards opened the doors to both with safety precautions. Not in these districts.
  • None of them, as far as I know, claimed they could not afford to open their schools.
  • The issue was not the size of the district. The school districts that remained closed and those that opened most fully each had similar spreads of sizes of student populations. Only Richmond was an outlier in student population. It is nearly twice the size of the largest of the districts that opened most fully (the largest was Hanover County).
  • Economically disadvantaged student bodies? Some of the ones that opened most fully had similar percentages of poor kids to those that largely or completely remained closed.

It continues today.

Richmond Public Schools (RPS) are giving their teachers a week off because they are “exhausted” and “ready to quit.” After less than two months of school. RPS will be closed from Monday, November 1st to Thursday, November 4th. Reopening just before the following weekend.

The Richmond school board voted 8-1 to approve the unscheduled holiday.

Bottom line. One of the cruelest things you can do to a kid is deny him an education. Cruelty is on full display here. As is the hypocrisy of the left.

The kids in Portsmouth, Richmond City, Sussex County, Essex County, Petersburg and Greensville County did nothing to deserve what was done to them.

Shame on those who did it.

Shame in particular on RPS running that school district exclusively for the adults. They remain utterly unconcerned with the effects of their decisions on the kids who depend upon them.