Or at least a step in that direction. That was the subject of my latest op-ed, which appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Wednesday. In this case, it is accountability related to our school board.
There are numerous arguments for and against an elected school board. At the end of the day, it is accountability that is important.
A couple of weeks ago, I received a copy of the following letter that the Legislative Committee of the Larchmont Elementary School PTA sent to the Norfolk School Board:
Two years ago, the Larchmont Elementary School PTA formed a Legislative Committee. This committee took on the task of supporting our schools by connecting with a variety of city officials and community leaders. Our top priority is to explore funding solutions to maintain the quality of our children’s education in the face of continuing local, state and federal budget cuts. Today we find ourselves and our children faced with a far bigger problem than a multi-million dollar budget shortfall. The premature departure of the superintendent gravely concerns our committee. It comes at a great cost to the morale, continuity and credibility of the school division.
Communications from NPS via an automated phone call and a division-produced video on its website have only described the leadership transition. We are concerned about the impact that this change will have on teacher retention, the ability to select another qualified superintendent, and the perception of NPS in the community. Focus in the press on short-term issues, including immediate improvement of test scores, on-time graduation rates and school accreditation, has not given us the clarity we need.
Therefore, we respectfully ask the board to describe its vision for our children’s schools. We want to know what short-term solutions are being sought, and more importantly, the long-term vision of the board. We need the opportunity to understand the board’s vision, the plan for its implementation and the timetable for accomplishing its plan.
As stakeholders, we believe that understanding your vision will enable us to continue our support of NPS.
Thank you in advance for devoting the time necessary to address our concerns.
We are all stakeholders in our public schools, whether or not we have children there. I believe our future depends on a well-educated populace. And part of that requires that those who are responsible for overseeing that education be accountable to all of us.