For the last couple of years I have been sharing feedback with the Superintendent and School Board that I have received from teachers and parents regarding student discipline problems. I have also witnessed some of these issues first hand. My concerns have been dismissed.
Teacher Surveys conducted by VDOE seem to reveal these discipline concerns. I have now received all of the surveys. They are found here. I have summarized the discipline question results and have also included the full surveys.
My summary review:
One statement on the survey: "THIS SCHOOL'S RULES FOR STUDENT BEHAVIOR ARE EFFECTIVE"
Survey Summary regarding this statement for Elementary Schools:
20 of the 49 schools surveyed scored 69% and below for teacher agreement with the above statement. One School scored an 8 and one scored a 12.
Survey Summary for this statement for Middle Schools:
8 of 14 schools scored 69% and below for teacher agreement with the above statement
Survey Summary for this statement for High Schools:
9 of 11 schools scored 69% and below for teacher agreement with the above statement
I believe that new discipline practices in our division called PBIS are contributing to these discipline problems, based on feedback from teachers, parents and these surveys. I know that 20 of our schools have implemented PBIS. I don't know exactly which schools but I do know that Hermitage, Brookwood, Strawbridge, Thalia and Woodstock ES are using this discipline system. They have some of the worst scores regarding discipline on these surveys.
I have also seen discipline goals in some schools to "reduce referrals and suspensions" rather than to improve student behavior.
On January 28, 2019 the VEA (Virginia Education Association--subsidiary of the NEA--national teacher's union) organized a "Lobby Day". The purpose was to advocate for the VEA's agenda in Richmond. Recently I was provided e-mails that show that the Superintendent authorized VBCPS teachers/principals to be paid to participate in political lobbying in Richmond for the VBEA (Va Beach Education Association--sub-group of the NEA). This is a violation of School Board Policy 4-32 and Regulation 4-29.1. Tax dollars were used to pay teachers/principals to lobby for the VEA agenda and to my knowledge this money was never reimbursed. I also do not know if expenses were paid. Even if I agreed with the entire VEA agenda, the taxpayers should not foot the bill for political lobbying on behalf of ANY organization.
The School Board chair Anderson indicates that this has been an "ongoing joint initiative" and "VBEA encourages teachers to travel to Richmond and advocate for the legislative agenda" . The Vice-Chair Melnyk's response was "I think that it is incredibly important that our employees reach out to legislators, and showing up in Richmond is far better than an email." (full e-mails attached below). 3 School Board members are current members of the NEA/VBEA. The Chair and Vice Chair miss the point that using taxpayer dollars for political lobbying is against School Board policies and regulations.
I was also provided with an e-mail that shows the VBEA using school resources (e-mail to all staff) to promote their meetings without the approval of the principal. The VBEA has become very political in my opinion (see attached pics from their FB page). The VBEA PAC received approximately $100,000 in contributions in the last election, from people like developer Bruce Thompson. They paid for a TV attack ad against Councilman John Moss.
Does this relationship between the School Board, Superintendent and the VBEA create a perceived favoritism for political special interests? Should taxpayer dollars fund political lobbying?
To contact the full school board: firstname.lastname@example.org .