Virginia Board of Education Marches Virginia’s Children into the Abyss

Does he even know? Does he care?

by James C. Sherlock

The Governor, limited to a single term, appoints the Virginia Board of Education.

It recently has demonstrated that it is the most powerful of state boards by crafting the most extreme progressive overhaul of a state education system, ever, anywhere.

  • Change the entire concept of the missions and functions of the public school system. 9-0 in favor.
  • Turn public schools into public services organizations for entire communities? 9-0 in favor.
  • Lower educational performance standards? 9-0 in favor.
  • Quotas? 9-0 in favor on October 15, 2020
  • Merit? 9-0 against.
  • “Too many” Asian American students in magnet schools? 9-0 to quota them out.
  • “Social-emotional learning?” 9-0 in favor
  • Attribute poor academic outcomes for some black children to systemic racism in the school system? 9-0 yes.
  • Absenteeism a problem worth addressing in Virginia schools? 9-0 no.
  • Forced critical race theory re-education of school employees? 9-0 in favor.
  • Critical race theory overhaul of the curriculum and course materials? 9-0 in favor.
  • Critical race theory education for newborns? Can’t start too early. 9-0
  • Critical Race theory in evaluation of teachers?  9-0 in favor.
  • Declare an excess of 30,000 white teachers in the Board of Education Strategic Plan? 9-0 in favor.
  • Coax kindergarteners to declare their true transgender selves and keep it from their parents? 9-0 in favor.

When we watch meetings of that Board, we see what is both single-minded unanimity and lack of any concept of public accountability. That is because there is no democratic accountability. And no successfully functioning example of what they have done, so they are making it up from theory as they go along.

To advise them, the BOE in turn appointed panels that are products of the ed schools, BLM and LBGTQ activists, and other progressive interest groups that by their carefully selected membership are guaranteed to tell the Board what they want to hear.

Are the members of the Board so sensitive that they cannot hear voices, not just of dissent, but even offering different and perhaps better ideas of how to do what they have come there determined to do?

It is no secret that I oppose what they have done. But the changes they are making require great care even if one agrees with their ends. Instead, their work is profoundly, embarrassingly sloppy.

Every Virginian should oppose the total lack of give-and-take discussion, the lack of respectful caution and the demonstrable lack of understanding of or even care for the cumulative effects of what they have done.

They have marched Virginia’s parents and children into an unexplored valley blindfolded.

Such a major upheaval in something so integral to peoples lives as the education system should never be made without preparing the public and getting their acceptance.

The Governor did not run on such a platform and the Board chose not to hear any dissent. Anyone claiming otherwise is lying to themselves.

Ninety-five percent of the people of Virginia have no idea that any of this has happened. They will find out by September. Leftists are hoping that is too close to the elections to have an impact. I hope they are wrong.

The public outcries have just begun and are growing. In Northern Virginia of all places. The failure of the Governor and the BOE to develop democratic support for their agenda is very likely to undo it.

But they will not care. The Governor cannot run again.

And the BOE is, after all, appointed.

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22 responses to “Virginia Board of Education Marches Virginia’s Children into the Abyss”

  1. LesGabriel Avatar

    Too close to the election? The Left can make any incident become the next day’s top story if they feel it serves their interest. It remains to be seen if Republicans/conservatives can get this information into the hands of voters in 6 1/2 months. If you think it is worth informing your friends and neighbors about, all it takes are a few clicks to forward this email.

  2. Kathleen Smith Avatar
    Kathleen Smith

    Excellent points. This board was appointed in part by the previous governor and the present governor. I left the department when Judge Kaine was appointed as Sec of Ed (and for that reason). Too many years of a democrat in office. Something has got to change. I am a Democrat, but on the very conservative side, and I really think school choice is imperative to level the playing field for race and economics.

    Education is education, not social services. 30,000 teachers have to go????? Where are they going to find 30,000 teachers of color? There is no incentive for anyone, including minorities to go into the arena.

    Wow. I am done in.

  3. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    CFP. Conservative Fear Porn.

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      Just the facts, Nancy. Being afraid seems an intelligent, informed reaction.

  4. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    Well Captain I did have a small dose of payback this morning. Voted early in the Democrats primary. It felt good to cancel one legitimate democratic voter with mine.

    1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      And that is the problem with open primaries. Except, you did not really “cancel” a legitimate Democrat’s vote. You just provided a vote for another Democrat.

      1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
        James Wyatt Whitehead

        Depends on how you look at it and how you voted.

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Given the RPV choices, at least you got to vote for someone who can hanle the job.

      1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
        James Wyatt Whitehead

        I picked the Democratic Socialist wingnuts just for fun. I quizzed the registrar on how the electric votes are counted and tabulated. That was very interesting. I was number 2 voter in Fauquier. Maybe next time I can get pole position.

  5. The diversity schools need is that they should hire teachers who do NOT have a teacher’s license, or at least did NOT go to graduate school in education.

    I attended both government and private high schools as a student. Though it may have been long enough ago that there was not rampant credentialism, my public school’s teachers were mainly people who had received a BA at Middle Tennessee State University or some smaller college. My private school, in the same county, were mainly people who had a master’s in a subject area (like math), or who were currently working on their doctorate (in English or some other subject area, not in an Education school) from places like Vanderbilt. I suspect the private school faculty were actually better teachers, even though they may have been less likely to have had an MA in education.

    But that’s not really enough diversity. The schools should be hiring people – retired people, dual career people, people who want to work part-time – to teach. Most urban areas and college towns have plenty of people with competency, and even expertise, and probably graduate degrees as well, in math, sciences, literature, etc. We need more people with real word experience, real knowledge, and fewer ties to unions and the bureaucracy.

    And of course if schools hired people who did not have an education degree – accountants, pharmacists, real estate agents, ministers, etc. – they might be more likely to have more black and latin (and male!) teachers. Just as credentialism has made it illegal for African Americans to do many jobs in many jurisdictions (hair braiding without a general cosmetology license, catering, running a family day care from your home), it is probably the reason why government school teachers are “too” white. And I would wage why the African Americans among them might be likely to have been nurtured in an environment of typical college culture compounded with Pell grants, affirmative action, and other programs that tend to eliminate intellectual diversity.

    If Pete Snyder (or anyone besides the grifter Terry McAwful) is the next Virginia Governor, what this board should actually be doing is immediately implementing a program where people get teacher’s licenses through an apprenticeship program of having been substitute teachers (in every school substitute teachers, at least long term ones, participate in planning meetings with other teachers and are managed by them), or get provisional licenses by taking one course a semester (or even a year) while teaching. (Independent schools of course do not even require licensure.). Virginia has a small, badly run pilot program like this already, though it intends people to complete all the classes in a year or so. It should be expanded and liberalized (if licensure should not simply be done away with entirely). This would allow for more diversity of all kinds in the teaching ranks.

  6. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    The listing of the alleged actions of the Board of Education is disingenuous and not supported by the evidence offered. Let’s look at two examples:
    1. Quotas, 9-0 in favor. The implication is that the BOE voted unanimously in favor of quotas. It did no such thing. In fact, the link supposedly to evidence supporting this assertion is to an opinion piece complaining about a task force, set up by the Sec. of Education, to discuss the NoVa TJ school’s admisssion standards. No involvement by the BOE at all.
    2. Ignore failing schools? 9-0 in favor. Again, the implication is that the BOE unanimously, somehow, explicitly, by vote, chose to ignore failing schools. Again, it did no such thing. The link to supposed evidence supporting this assertion is to a post by the author complaining about the failings of the Richmond School Board.

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      #1 You are incorrect. I have updated the reference. It passed unanimously.
      #2 Lane waived state accreditation for the 2021–2022 school year. You are correct in that I could not find a reference to link that to the BOE for whom he works, so I deleted it. Thank you.

      1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        Lane does not work for the BOE. He was appointed by the Governor and reports to the Secretary of Education and the Governor.

        1. DOE News release 8-4-20
          State Superintendent Waives Accreditation for the 2021-2022

          Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane today exercised emergency authority granted to him by the 2020 General Assembly to waive annual school accreditation for the 2021-2022 academic year. Schools will be assigned a rating of “Accreditation Waived,” the same rating assigned schools for 2020-2021 under a waiver issued in April.

      2. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        I tried to delete this comment because I afterwards saw that you dealt with it below, but the system does not seem to allow one to delete a comment.

    2. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      New language in the new “Quotas” reference at the new link above:
      “Each school division shall establish uniform procedures for screening, referring, identifying, and serving students in kindergarten through twelfth grade who are gifted in general intellectual or specific academic aptitude, (new language starts here) including students for whom accurate identification may be affected because they are from an underrepresented group, economically disadvantaged, have limited English proficiency, or have a disability,”

      “Specific language shall be included within the goals, objectives, and strategies that address inequities and underrepresentation of student groups. If the school division is a participating member of an Academic Year Governor’s School (AYGS), the division’s efforts to support the diversity goals of the AYGS shall be addressed;”

      Later, in an attempt to make sure the school divisions get the point about Asian students, the Board tells them to assess the academic growth of gifted students using methods “that do not overly rely on standardized test measures.”

      Not dog whistles, sirens.

      1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        Please explain how this constitutes a “quota”.

        1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
          James C. Sherlock

          If you don’t know the “problem” that not only the BOE but the Secretary of Education had specifically and unambiguously identified – “too many Asians” and not enough ”underrepresented” groups” – and can’t read this and understand that the BOE meant to fix it with this language, neither I not anyone else can’t explain it to you.

  7. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    Another misleading assertion:

    Declare an excess of 30,000 white teachers? 9-0 in favor. The link was not to a formal action in which the BOE took a vote. Rather, it was to your discussion of a recent document released by the DOE. In that discussion, you went on to talk about the African American Superintendents Advisory Council. The “excess of 30,000 white teachers” was your inference from the recommendations of that group. Again, the evidence provided does not back up the assertion.

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      From the current VIRGINIA BOARD OF EDUCATION COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: 2018-2023. Dan Gecker, President.

      “Currently, non-white students made up 48.7 percent of Virginia’s student population, but only 21.4 percent of the state’s educators are non- white. Diversity within the teacher workforce should reflect diversity in the classroom. Evidence suggests that students perform better when taught by teachers from diverse backgrounds.”

      There are 104,000 teachers in Virginia. 80,000 of them are white. To achieve the Plan, 30,000 of them have to be replaced by minority teachers. Any questions?

      1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        There is an interpretation of this observation that is more reasonable than “there is an excess of white teachers.” It would be: localities should strive to hire more non-white teachers.

        1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
          James C. Sherlock

          I struggle to see the difference.

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