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Old 08-20-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denton56 View Post
Let's start by asking the parents in those communities what they want to do. Do they want to move to another school? Or would they prefer to remain in schools that are ''less than ideal"? Start with the customer, the students and parents who pay for the schools. Ask them for solutions, if they see a problem. If there isn't a problem, don't fix it.
Fair enough - I'm all for soliciting more information from those affected by the School Board's decisions, and then really listening to what they have to say, as opposed to just going through the motions of inviting comments or holding a public hearing. Tina Hone - the only current School Board member who has probably enhanced her future political career by serving on the Board - nailed this in a recent opinion piece.

Even so, it's not necessarily the case that parents and students will always speak with one voice. For example, at Annandale HS, the PTA has made a number of statements acknowledging the overcrowding and need for a boundary study, and there were relatively few objections last year when the School Board made an administrative boundary change to send some Annandale students to Lake Braddock SS and Falls Church HS starting this fall. But that doesn't mean some Annandale parents and students, as well as others affected by the next round of larger changes, won't be miffed.

And, of course, it's not just parents with students in FCPS who pay for the schools, but all county taxpayers. Parents may favor an addition to an existing building in situations where other taxpayers would prefer to make use of capacity at other schools to save money. Someone has to address those situations sensibly and recognize that folks in the county may have different perspectives.

Last edited by JEB77; 08-20-2010 at 04:02 PM..
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Old 08-20-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Denton56 View Post
I've got two words for you, Patton Boggs. They do not take cases that they can't win. Ever. This will be fun to watch, Patton Boggs against school board attorneys. Grab some popcorn!
Are you kidding? Patton Boggs may not take a case that it thinks is frivolous, but it certainly loses some of its cases. This may or may not be one of them; Virginia law makes it very difficult to mount a successful challenge to a School Board decision in state court.

There's also a good chance it will all be decided based on written briefs submitted to the court before the plaintiffs even get an opportunity to depose Liz Bradsher and other School Board members, as entertaining as that might be. So you may want to save the popcorn for the next time "The Shawshank Redemption" or "Dirty Dancing" is on TBS.
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Old 08-20-2010, 04:17 PM
 
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If Patton Boggs didn't they think they had a case, they wouldn't have taken it.

I also agree that the entire community should be involved in solving school concerns, because they are all taxpayers. It's not rare for the community to care, especially when their house may lose value. Ask the community for opinions and possible solutions before deciding that there is a problem and redistricting is the only possible solution.

I am not surprised that no parents or community members objected to be redistricted into Braddock from Annandale. That's a win for those families! Redistricting to Falls Church may also be a slight win. Many people in the Annandale neighborhoods may welcome redistricting out of Annandale. In any event, the communities should be consulted first.
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Old 08-20-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denton56 View Post
If Patton Boggs didn't they think they had a case, they wouldn't have taken it.

I also agree that the entire community should be involved in solving school concerns, because they are all taxpayers. It's not rare for the community to care, especially when their house may lose value. Ask the community for opinions and possible solutions before deciding that there is a problem and redistricting is the only possible solution.

I am not surprised that no parents or community members objected to be redistricted into Braddock from Annandale. That's a win for those families! Redistricting to Falls Church may also be a slight win. Many people in the Annandale neighborhoods may welcome redistricting out of Annandale. In any event, the communities should be consulted first.
As far as I'm aware, Patton Boggs is getting paid for its work. So long as the complaint isn't frivolous (and I don't think this one is), it has an economic incentive to litigate on behalf of a paying client. It doesn't have to believe it will prevail to file the case, or win to get paid.
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Old 08-20-2010, 05:23 PM
 
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Default Real issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
Simple question - are you for real or are you actually doing the School Board's bidding? Because your rhetoric is so overblown that it's hard to take your "message" seriously.

I don't know what the right solution is, but doesn't FCPS need to do something about the overcrowding at schools like Colin Powell ES in Centreville and Annandale HS? Elementary schools with 1000 students or high schools with close to 3000 students in buildings that weren't built to accommodate so many bodies don't quite seem ideal.
School Board's bidding? Not sure I follow - this is quite serious. There are substantial issues with a limited number of schools, but the Board is utilizing this process in conjunction with Staff to facilitate bigger goals.

We are now back to the most costly options of expanding on campuses with modulars. 'Big box' schools serve the Board's broader purposes and that is why they are driving toward them, even if they don't improve the health of the education model; don't have to with big box, think about the averages. The smaller schools create more parental participation, more vocal resident & PTAs and more magnification on how the students are performing. Enough said.

The taxpayers and voters will speak = or not. As long as the Board can utilize the Boundary Study method and the Planning Study process it employed to successfully reach its goal to close CES, it will do so. It is going to be up to the residents in the County to seek intervention. If they don't, it's their fault. Not a sermon, just a wake up call.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by FCPS Whistleblower View Post
School Board's bidding? Not sure I follow - this is quite serious. There are substantial issues with a limited number of schools, but the Board is utilizing this process in conjunction with Staff to facilitate bigger goals.

We are now back to the most costly options of expanding on campuses with modulars. 'Big box' schools serve the Board's broader purposes and that is why they are driving toward them, even if they don't improve the health of the education model; don't have to with big box, think about the averages. The smaller schools create more parental participation, more vocal resident & PTAs and more magnification on how the students are performing. Enough said.

The taxpayers and voters will speak = or not. As long as the Board can utilize the Boundary Study method and the Planning Study process it employed to successfully reach its goal to close CES, it will do so. It is going to be up to the residents in the County to seek intervention. If they don't, it's their fault. Not a sermon, just a wake up call.
OK - I think I understand what you're saying. FCPS Staff or the School Board identify an issue that reasonably needs to be addressed, such as overcrowding at one school or under-enrollment at another. However, instead of really focusing on the best solution to that specific issue, taking community views into account, they increasingly decide to "kill two (or three) birds with one stone" by allowing the process to be guided by other considerations that haven't been explicitly identified, such as pulling up test scores at some other school or changing the demographics at another. As a result, a process that supposedly was intended to be transparent, and in fact produces a lot of "position papers" and public meetings, turns into a black box, with parents feeling like the real decisions were made behind closed doors without their input.

I think that's a real problem and has led to numerous decisions in recent years that generated a lot of ill will. I'm not sure that it's always motivated by a desire to promote bigger, rather than smaller, schools, but it does undermine confidence that the School Board will make fair decisions. It will be certainly interesting to see what happens when the School Board stands for re-election next fall. In the past, I think School Board members have generally operated on the assumption that most people don't really pay attention to what they do, and that a sitting member can be easily re-elected. Maybe that will change; indeed, as previously noted, a number of current members apparently do not even intend to run next year.
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCPS Whistleblower View Post
School Board's bidding? Not sure I follow - this is quite serious. There are substantial issues with a limited number of schools, but the Board is utilizing this process in conjunction with Staff to facilitate bigger goals.

We are now back to the most costly options of expanding on campuses with modulars. 'Big box' schools serve the Board's broader purposes and that is why they are driving toward them, even if they don't improve the health of the education model; don't have to with big box, think about the averages. The smaller schools create more parental participation, more vocal resident & PTAs and more magnification on how the students are performing. Enough said.

The taxpayers and voters will speak = or not. As long as the Board can utilize the Boundary Study method and the Planning Study process it employed to successfully reach its goal to close CES, it will do so. It is going to be up to the residents in the County to seek intervention. If they don't, it's their fault. Not a sermon, just a wake up call.
I'm afraid voters will do nothing. So few voters know anything about the schools since 70% of voters have no children in public schools. They simply vote for whoever the democrats tell them to vote for. A ''D" next to a name on the sample ballot is all that is required. How else to explain the unpopular Stu Gibson being elected 4 times? We can expect our school board to continue to be overwhelmingly democrats who will overwhelmingly support whatever Dale and his staff propose. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:36 PM
 
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>>>parents feeling like the real decisions were made behind closed doors without their input<<< Parents feel that way because that is exactly what happens.

Do not expect anything to change next year, despite the retirement of several long time board members. They will be replaced by other democrats who will behave in exactly the same way. They'll fall right into line, just as they all have, with the exception of Tina Hone who never really cared about the staff, or even educational issues, and never intended to run again. She's using the board as a stepping stone so she needs to come out on the side of parents and voters. She speaks out to get her name known. Not saying that there's anything wrong with that. At least students and parents have someone on the board who represents their interests. One out of 12 is better than zero out of 12.
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Old 08-21-2010, 08:25 AM
 
4,505 posts, read 5,108,200 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denton56 View Post
>>>parents feeling like the real decisions were made behind closed doors without their input<<< Parents feel that way because that is exactly what happens.

Do not expect anything to change next year, despite the retirement of several long time board members. They will be replaced by other democrats who will behave in exactly the same way. They'll fall right into line, just as they all have, with the exception of Tina Hone who never really cared about the staff, or even educational issues, and never intended to run again. She's using the board as a stepping stone so she needs to come out on the side of parents and voters. She speaks out to get her name known. Not saying that there's anything wrong with that. At least students and parents have someone on the board who represents their interests. One out of 12 is better than zero out of 12.
Of course, the School Board member whom parents hold most responsbile for the decision to close Clifton ES - Liz Bradsher - is a Republican.
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