Having watched the School Board spending budget double in the past fourteen years, while seeing the census of enrollment rose only 25% in public schools, I wonder how much money is enough to make a difference in the social goals espoused by Ms. Berlin? Her January interview in the Crozet Gazette crowns “learning for all” as the trump card for School Board decisions. Learning for all is not championing excellence. I offer the opinion the School Board should: 1) abolish “diversity, equity and inclusion” policies, 2) forbid mandatory training for students, faculty and staff, and 3) end racial and identity based preferences. Excellence in education recognizes and rewards achievement. Mixing racial or ethnic distinctions is politically motivated. Our School Board would be better served to abandon controversial political ideology practices and focus on the business of educating students.
Of the four seats up for election this year, all of the incumbents are listed as running again. Dr. Berlin uses Covid as an excuse for further decline in SOL testing standards. The fact that Albemarle County scores are now even lower than the City of Richmond scores finds no responsibility taking by ACPS. Somehow “equity” is the buzz word for success in raising the achievement success rate for the bottom 10% scorers who are Black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged children. The use of equity is a means to lower the bar for score taking. Instead of rigorous training to achieve better results we are left with a built-in excuse for treading water. This past summer the School Board hired yet another consultant group to suggest how to spend more money and resources to raise test score levels. Meanwhile the School Board released a 10-page policy last August describing fourteen pronouns as acceptable to describe gender. This same policy describes when teachers may put themselves between a child and its parents if the child maintains the parents are not tolerant of their gender identity.
In her interview the newly appointed Board member mentions the need for more money (to raise salaries, build more buildings and intervene for student’s mental health). What happened to the SRO staff who would stop gang behavior in our High Schools? What caused the resignation of 32 staff out of 150 at AHS in the 2021-22 school year? It was not the lack of money. Now Senator Creigh Deeds has introduced a bill for 2023 consideration to raise the local sales tax by 1% for school renovations. This despite the word that local assessments are up an average of 13.5%!!
Readers should know “Wikipedia” lists every member of the Board of Supervisors in Albemarle County as a Democrat. I have seen in print media, including CG, the following comment: “if you do not identify with the left leaning agenda the leaders of the meeting do not want to hear from you.” On November 7, 2023 there will be a chance to elect SB members with common sense ideas. Let’s stop families from leaving public schools. This County needs to end one party rule if for no other reason than to get a “devil’s advocate” elected. Let’s choose SB candidates to ask questions that challenge consensus decisions based on an ideology of grievance and guilt.
John C. Lowry
Chairman, Albemarle County Republican Committee
- Budget double from audited budget Dec 2008 to December 2022
- School enrollment from October Census October 2008 to October 2022 ACPS
- Scores released available to Former ACPS Superintendent
- ACPS statement July 2022