Finger-pointing over test scores is a waste of energy
When test score results from public school students are disappointing, politicians get riled up.
They point accusatory fingers.
Their “hot aired” finger pointing is a wasteful burn of energy.
That energy needs to be channeled to do the hard work to solve the problems our communities face in our public schools.
Clearly, the pandemic disrupted the instructional delivery for students in Virginia.
But the truth of the matter is our public schools, have been quietly eroding for a long, long time.
That erosion is grounded in our inability to solve malignant challenges related to our human infrastructure.
We can no longer ignore the instability of families.
Vicious generational cycles connected to poverty, employment, housing, safety, mental health, and equity need to be disrupted.
How do we disrupt these cycles?
Perhaps, a starting point would be for our politicians to spend a week shadowing a teacher in a challenging school. I wonder what an elected official might learn from being in the trenches with an actual teacher?
Additionally, in Virginia, we have nearly twenty five years of SOL data.
Does that data tell us anything about how to work more effectively with students who come to school everyday from unstable families?
We need political cooperation, not political finger pointing to solve the challenges found in our public schools.
Maybe this quote from “Hidden Figures” author, Margot Lee Shetterly, says it best: “You don’t get the good without the bad, but you really do have to see it all in order to make progress.”
If we want to improve our public schools in Virginia, we must be able to see it all for our families, our students, and our teachers.
Author’s note: I am honored anytime a newspaper accepts one of my submissions. This letter appeared in the OPINIONS section of the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Friday, October 28, 2022. As a retired public schools educator, I worry about the morale of our teachers. If you know a teacher in your community, please take the time to thank them for their work.