Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Should we cheer Alexandria's schools getting better marks from the state standards of learning than in the past and Jefferson-Houston's accreditation being restored or instead should we worry about the state education department's new standards of learning?
Giving students a passing grade for trying, even if they haven't obtained a basic grasp of the subject matter, was once vogue, but (or so most folks thought) fell out of favor. But after lots of political pressure, Gov. Northam's education department has finally given in to this notion when it comes to rating those students' schools.
Under new Virginia standards of learning, a school will be denied accreditation only if it isn't making a "good faith effort" to implement a corrective action plan approved or developed by the state education department. Every sub-par school's "F" will be upgraded to a "D" just because it's trying (meaning making a good faith effort to implement the state's corrective action plan).
Public education's Achilles heel is the conflict of interest inherent in the same government which provides and pays for the education also evaluating it. Never would regulators stand for so low a standard for evaluating a private school. Yet, we see for public education endless Mulligans brought on by a state constitution which, in the name of "local control," prohibits state take-overs of failing schools and unrelenting political pressure from state legislators to relax standards in order to make them "fairer" by measuring progress rather than results.