School Leaders are Frustrated with Proposed School Grading System

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

HARRISONBURG -- School leaders from throughout the region met on Tuesday at the the Harrisonburg City Public School building to express their frustrations with several bills passing in the General Assembly.

One bill in particular would change Virginia's methodology to match that of Louisiana, where each school receives a grade based solely on test scores.

"Even though those schools could be having after school programs, before school programs, going to homes to work with families and children," said Harrisonburg City Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Kizner.

School leaders have similar feelings. They want what's best for the children, teachers and the community.

"Why would you waste time and effort to go to Louisiana, and bring a program back that is failing, to try and make us better? It doesn't make any sense," said Bill Lobb, a Staunton School Board member.

Lowell Fulk on the Rockingham County School Board said it's a lot like professional car racing.

"Do you expect the Hendricks motor sports team in NASCAR, who I think had three cars finish in the top 10 in Daytona, to emulate Phil Parsons racing, or Tommy Baldwin racing, or BK racing? That's doubtful," said Fulk.

Louisiana is ranked 49th in the country as a school system and Virginia is 5th.

"It's almost an assumption that the only way our educators and public education systems will make the gains we need, is if we're all striving for that A, like we really know what to do, we just don't want to. It has nothing to do with that," said Fluvanna County Superintendent Gena Keller.

Lobb said everyone at the meeting shared the same worries.

"Obviously we all have the same concerns about where education is heading and where we're being forced to head by Washington and Richmond."

School leaders hope school leaders in other regions will announce their concerns this policy will negatively impact public education.

"I was asked this question, well kids get report cards. Well that's true. But, you tell me one school that gives a kid one single grade. No one gets one single grade," said Dr. Kizner.

The meeting was in Harrisonburg because Dr. Kizner is the Virginia Association of School Superintendent's Region 5 legislative chair.

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