by James C. Sherlock
There have been two Virginia Town Hall web pages on which Virginians have commented to the VDOE on the proposed Social Emotional Learning standards for Virginia public schools.
If I counted correctly, the current tally on the two pages is 606 against and 64 in favor. And there is still time to vote.
On a page that closed for comments May 12, I noted last-minute ballot box stuffing, 14 yes comments between 10:30 PM and midnight on the last day of commenting. (Does the left stay up later than the center and right? Inquiring minds want to know.) Even assuming those last-minute comments were valid, that brought the totals on that web page to 497 no to SEL, 43 yes.
The other web page is still open until midnight on May 26. The comments visible on that site are 109 against and 21 in favor. But more than a few commenters complained that many anti-SEL comments on that page had been deleted, including their own. They may have been judged to violate commenting standards and hidden from public view rather than deleted, but we do not know right now.
Secretary of Public Instruction Lane owes Virginians an investigation of that issue.
We need to know if comments are deleted or hidden from public view, why, by whom and whether, even though they may be hidden from public view, they will be counted as for or against the proposed standards.
It will be very interesting if the overwhelmingly negative public reception has any effect on policy.