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Bobby O: Parents Must Speak Up

The former school board member questions whether LCPS complies with its promise to listen to parents.

Last year, while I was on the Loudoun County School Board, we were advised that the State Department of Education was substantially changing the way teacher performance is evaluated—one of the biggest changes being the welcoming of parental input as a relevant part of the evaluation.

As a parent, I was excited that finally someone in this highly protected hierarchy realized parents are the consumers of the service provided by school system on behalf of their children. When I reviewed the upcoming June 12, 2012, school board agenda I was aghast that LCPS was not just ignoring state education directives but avoiding stated school board targets. To be specific, read the following targets and judge for yourself whether LCPS is supposed to include parental input when the state itself supports doing so:

“LCPS will promote increased involvement of parents, businesses and the community, and

PTAs, PTOs, PTSAs and PTSOs will be recognized as essential partners in every

school.”

“LCPS will provide means to include parental input in assessment of school performance.”

If you care to go through the VDOE document you will find many community relations and parental references that are to be emphasized. (http://lcps.org/cms/lib4/VA01000195/Centricity/Domain/61/Attachment%202.pdf)

Then check out what the staff is suggesting: (http://lcps.org/cms/lib4/VA01000195/Centricity/Domain/61/Attachment%203.pdf)

Can anyone to find anything that allows for relevant parental input as expected by both the school board goals and the State's directives?

After putting three children through the Loudoun school system I've observed a strong perception among parents that retribution exists if they complain, and that LCPS isn't really interested in specific teacher complaints—including coaches, guidance, bus drivers, etc.

How many times do we need to hear the adage, "It’s all about the children," to expect that should be the case when teachers are evaluated? Just as often as we hear how important the nearly $900 million budget is to get approved. It’s about time parents make their voices heard that they want to have relevant input into teacher performance evaluations. Let your board member know!

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