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Changes made behind closed doors / July 30, 2014

Dear Viewpoint,

Let me begin this by saying that I am not parent in the ED-8, and I am not familiar with Mrs. Wagstaff’s performance for that area. If Mrs. Wagstaff feels she’s been unfairly persecuted and she would like to retain her seat, then she most certainly should obtain legal counsel.

That being said, is it really appropriate to use the school system’s attorney to represent Mrs. Wagstaff in the latest school board scandal? Mrs. Wagstaff is an elected official, not an employee of the school system. If her constituents feel that she is not representing them in the way they feel they should be, it’s not the place of the school system to spend money defending her. Why now and not five years ago? Could it be a favoritism issue?

As a parent of three children in this school system, I can attest to the fact that I have never received a survey from my representative as to how I feel about an issue or what I might like to see done differently. (We have been emailed a few times though). There has never been a “town hall” meeting to discuss issues, ideas, or proposed changes with the parents. It appears, in my opinion, that once elected some of our school board members seem to a believe that they are now autonomous and may act as they choose without consideration for those who elected them in the first place. Changes to and decisions about our children are being made behind closed doors. Followed by attempts to sneak these changes past the parents. I can’t decide if it’s because our current school board feels that parents aren’t privy to this information, too dumb to understand it, or if they are just arrogant enough to believe that they know what’s best and we should simply accept it.

As I now understand it, there is a plan to change the current, ineffective testing for different, most likely equally ineffective means of measuring our children’s progress. And, wow, 40 schools have adopted the resolution. Not 40 counties, 40 schools. Am I the only one hearing “If your friend jumps off a bridge....”?

Forty-five out of 50 states have adopted Common Core. Virginia not being one of them. Eight of those states, after realizing what a disaster it is, are now currently trying to get out of it. How many of those states heard “Well, {insert number} states have already adopted it?” Never mind researching it, learning about it, or comparing it to the current standards of learning. Let’s just jump off that bridge since most everyone else did.

Let me repeat what I’ve said before: Our children are not guinea pigs, they are not here for someone’s experimentation, and they are not fodder for anyone’s financial gain.

With changes coming to our SATs, I won’t disagree that we need to re-evaluate our current system. I’m not even saying I’m opposed to the changes being considered by our school board. How can I be? I haven’t even heard them. But I would like to [hear them] before they are voted on and implemented.

This practice of attempting to keep parents in the dark has to stop. We have a right to know what our school board members are considering changing, implementing, forgoing, or dropping where our children are concerned. We have a right to an opinion. We have a right to be heard. And we most certainly have the right to ask a member to step down if we feel he or she is not doing the job we elected him or her for without the concern of financially burdening the school system and subsequently our children.

Kimberly Mullins

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