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Bolling: Public School Performance Needs to Improve

This is what you do when the results of performance tests are not what you want: Virginia delays releasing student academic achievement scores [1].

You delay releasing the results. But the preliminary data is not encouraging. It shows that one-third of Virginia students failed to pass SOL tests in history, science, math, and writing.

Let’s be clear. There are public schools in Virginia that perform very well, but many do not. Some of this may be due to carry-over declines during the 2020 COVID year and virtual learning, but there is a deeper problem in many Virginia’s public schools.

As someone who is a product of the public schools, and a strong supporter of public education, I offer this. Schools need to get back to teaching core subjects, holding people accountable for results, and teachers need to be freed up from many of the unrelated responsibilities they have been given that have nothing to do with teaching.

There are many other things that need to be done to improve the quality of our public schools and make certain that we are attracting and retaining the best possible teachers in the classroom, including raising teacher pay, removing problem students from the schools, reducing class sizes, modernizing textbooks and technology, etc.

If we are not willing to do these things, the best teachers will continue to leave to pursue other careers, mediocrity will persist, results will continue to lag, and parents will continue to opt for alternatives to public education when they can.