Herring’s Loudoun County Determination Part II – State-Sponsored Extortion

Why is this man smiling?

by James C. Sherlock

Part one of two essays on this subject described a new Virginia law, a new Division in the Attorney Generals office, its function as a kangaroo court and its astonishing and sweeping  “determination” against Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS). The law requires LCPS to block Asian American kids from the competitively accessed Loudoun Academies in favor of protected classes.

That is not even the heart of the scandal.

That same determination published the NAACP’s demands to settle the case. I will quote the NAACP demands directly here because a summary cannot do it justice. Remember, these “requests” were published by the Attorney General. Also remember that if the NAACP is unhappy, it can go to court with the AG’s determination in hand.

Please note the demand for a high quality charter school for black students that can eliminate the achievement gap. Perhaps Success Academy can help.

NAACP Loudoun Branch’s Conciliation Request

1. “Develop equitable Academies of Loudoun admissions criteria to include the following:

a. eliminate “High stakes” testing, including but not limited to STEM Thinking Skills Assessment and Writing Assessment

b. Eliminate letters of recommendation as they can be biased and are only required by applicants that (sic) are selected as finalists.

c.  Offer admission to qualifying applicants on a random basis (i.e. metro-based lottery system); in formulating the random selection process for admission, strive towards selecting a diverse student body that is reflective of the demographics of the LCPS student population.

2. Develop a STEM-based elementary after-school and summer program with a focus on African American studies. Develop this program in partnership with Black/African American studies experts from local academic institutions and organizations, such as Loudoun Freedom Center, NAACP Loudoun Branch, George Mason University, George Washington University, Howard University, Northern Virginia Community College, and Friends of Thomas Balch Library Black History Committee. (I am tempted to pose a question here about STEM-based African American studies, but will pass.)

3. Implement after-school affinity groups for Black/African American students at each Middle School and High School in partnership with local academic institutions and organizations (same list as above)

4.  Support the creation of a public charter school that prepares the next generation of leaders for careers in science, technology, engineering, are, and mathematics with a focus on Black/African-American studies and eliminating the historical achievement gap experienced by Black/African-American students in LCPS.

5.  Facilitate the process to change the names of Hillsboro Academy and Academies of Loudon.

6. Provide funding for the NAACP Scholarship Fund.

7. Provide funding to the NAACP Discrimination Fund

8. Review and revise, as necessary, the Black/African American history curriculum as applied throughout LCPS, including the history of Loudoun County, in partnership with academic experts from local educational institutions and organizations such as (see above).

9. Review and revise, as necessary, the textbooks and materials used for lesson planning related to the history and experiences of Black/African American minority groups. Include relevant stakeholders in the review process, including NAACP Loudon Branch and academic experts in the history and experience of African Americans. The goal is to select reading materials and lesson plans that are culturally sensitive to Black/African Americans that tend to be marginalized.

10.  Develop and implement an annual equity training program to be provided to all students two times a year )September and January), through a collaborative effort between NAACP Loudoun Branch, Loudoun Freedom Center and LCPS.

11.  Partner with the NAACP Loudoun Branch, Loudoun Freedom Center, and local academic experts in the area of Black/African American Studies to provide racial literacy training initiatives for LCPS employees.

a. Develop avenues for providing additional coaching to teachers and staff resistant to racial literacy training.

b. Include bus drivers and cafeteria staff in racial literacy initiatives.

12. Implement an African-American history course developed by organizations such as (see lists above) as a high school elective by 2021.

13. Mandate an African-American history as a course requirement for new teacher orientation and as part of LCPS ongoing professional development for all LCPS teachers. Develop this course in partnership with organizations such as (see lists above).

14. In partnership with the NAACP Loudoun Branch, facilitate the development of the following district-wide programs to support the needs of Black/African American students: mentoring, leadership development, student success summit, and outreach initiative for student-led organizations.

15.  As part of the work of the LCPS Equity Committee, develop criteria to identify schools that have worked in a meaningful way on the above-identified strategies to improve racial consciousness, racial literacy and access to challenging curriculum; and recommend that the school board designate a school that meets such criteria as a “culturally competent district.”

16.  Support at the state level an extension of the existing Brown Scholarship Fund to include Loudoun County as Eligible Virginians who were unable to attend “integrated public school between 1954 and 1964 during the time of Massive Resistance.

17. Create a new Scholarship Fund for LCIP students who were unable to attend the Academies of Loudoun between 2009-2020 due to discriminatory admissions policies and practices. (Note: the “determination” found that the policies were neutral.) This fund will include support for the 153 Black/African American and Latinx/Hispanic students to applied for the Academies of Loudoun during the Fall 2018 application cycle for admission into the 2019-2020 academic year, and the 696 Black/African American and Latin/Hispanic students who applied to the Academies of Loudoun during the Fall 2019 application cycle for admission into the 2020-2021 academic year.

18. Negotiate monetary payments relating to the funding aspects of the above-referenced conciliation requests.

19. Negotiate monetary payment to compensate for time, resources and costs associated with NAACP Loudoun Branch’s efforts to bring this matter to the attention of the Attorney General and participate in the ongoing investigation.