Red Apple Mom

August 17, 2011

VA Board of Education DENIES FCPS Waiver Request

The Washington Post’s Emma Brown reports that Superintendent Jack Dale’s request for early and repeated SOL tests in Fairfax County has been denied!

Thank God for that!   As I wrote in one of my June blog posts (An SOL Hangover), this mom gets enough “SOL Hell” in May – I don’t need nor want my children to be put through that year round!

You may recall that Superintendent Dale proposed this silly idea last spring without even consulting teacher groups or parents first.

Surprisingly, the VA BOE didn’t even take time to vote on Dale’s proposal.  VA BOE found FCPS’ proposal so vague and lacking in community and teacher input that it didn’t even require an official meeting for VA BOE to say, “No.”   They wrote Dale a letter instead and urged him and other state superintendents to do a better job of “soliciting input from the entire school community and teachers.”

How’s that for an official smack-down?   Great job VA Board of Education.  Thank you for looking out for students and teachers – and us moms!




  1. Right on target, Red Apple Mom. More and more people are waking up and recognizing the high-handed policies (with zero REAL public or teacher engagement) that Superintendent Dale is making—and with a weak, in-the-dark school board rubber-stamping whatever he decides (and hey, isn’t it the school board who is supposed to making policy???)

    Comment by pommefrites — August 17, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

  2. —“wrote Dale a letter instead and urged him and other state superintendents to do a better job of “soliciting input from the entire school community and teachers.”—

    Not much different than parents and teachers have been trying to tell him for a long time, so it is nice to see some bona fide reinforcement.

    Jack Dale wouldn’t know how to connect with his teachers or parents of his students if his job depended on it.

    Oh, wait. It does.

    Comment by momlikeu — August 17, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

  3. Virginia schools are required to offer remedial instruction, including summer school, if needed, to students who fail to pass the required SOLs for their elementary grade level or end of course tests in high school. They may NOT charge the student for these courses. Most likely this effort to achieve early passage each year is a cost cutting scheme, not a push toward more enriching projects and learning opportunities.

    Comment by hxvillette — August 27, 2011 @ 2:53 am

    • Unfortunately, we don’t know if this would have cut or raised costs. As the VA DOE confirmed, Dr. Dale sprung this idea on the community with little to no input from stakeholders. He should have done his homework first.

      Comment by Red Apple Mom — August 30, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  4. Hi, really enjoyed your blog-I am a FCPS parent (against my will, can’t sell my house and flee Fairfax County) for 18 years, and a therapist in the community seeing students and parents from area schools. Yesterday I got off a place (9 hours) to rush to our school (west springfield, pupil placed, out of Robinson, our base school) to have my usual fight. I HATE THIS SYSTEM. But I must say the parents are the root of the problem, they are soooo in denial and refuse to believe not only what they are told by their students (I just had this experience with a parent who stood in the room while their child related the extreme abuse they endure at the hands of teachers and the comment was something along the lines, “Well thats what you will experience in the world when you have a job”!!!! HUH? I want to help to do anything I can to elect a decent school board rep in Springfield (EEEKKKK Liz Bradsher?) Is there nothing but morons in this country who will run for office, please direct me somewhere I can make a difference. thanks for all you do, Jan Falk, LCSW

    Comment by Jan Falk — August 31, 2011 @ 8:14 am

    • Here’s the good news Jan – Liz Bradsher is NOT running again. Believe me, voters throughout the county – not just her Springfield district – are happy with her decision too! You can lay the blame for the Clifton ES mess and the fact that West Springfield High School still languishes in the renovation queue right at Bradsher’s feet!

      There is a terrific candidate running in Springfield who is also a member of the Fairfax Education Coalition – Check out Elizabeth Schultz. Her website is:

      I personally know Elizabeth and have worked with her on a variety of education issues for the past two years. She really knows the issues and importantly knows FCPS’ strengths and areas that require improvement. She’s also a parent with four kids in our public schools so she knows what parents are facing. The days of Superintendent Dale having free reign of the school system without proper School Board oversight are O-V-E-R when Elizabeth gets elected. Please contact her campaign to help out. These candidates need as many hands as possible for canvassing voters, handing out literature at Back-to-School-Nights and handing out literature on election day at the polls. Even just one hour is a BIG contribution on those critical days! Thanks for writing Jan.

      Comment by Red Apple Mom — August 31, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

  5. But shes a hardcore republican.

    Comment by Jan Falk — August 31, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

    • You mean Elizabeth Schultz? It’s true she has been endorsed by the Republican party. And it is equally true that her opponent is a hardcore Democrat endorsed by his party too. But that’s okay. I can tell you that Elizabeth believes firmly — as do I — that children do not come with R’s and D’s and School Board members should check their politics at the door. Ask anyone within our bi-partisan, Fairfax Education Coalition and they’ll tell you Elizabeth – and our other FEC colleagues running for School Board – don’t talk politics – we talk solutions – solutions for kids, teachers and taxpayers. Unfortunately, as I’ve written on this blog before, the reality is that running for School Board in Fairfax County really does require a party endorsement even though the office is “non-partisan”. Candidates from both parties need the party for volunteers and access to campaign structures that can help them get out their message on their limited budgets. I’m personally managing three races and advising five others for school board – all from “both sides of the aisle.” The amount of work it takes on behalf of these candidates and campaign managers like me is huge. Essentially, we are running congressional size campaigns on a PTA budget. It’s very difficult and requires a lot of volunteer assistance! Give Elizabeth a call. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you hear!

      Comment by Red Apple Mom — August 31, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

  6. Well I ran into elizabeth last night at a school open house. I am very very torn. I do NOT trust any republicans and personally find their platforms vile and unethical. I am a progressive democrat. She told me that she was endorsed by zero tolerance reform, which I support. She did lead with the “tax issue”, which scares me because people who don’t want to pay taxes don’t want quality education. (that is a much longer debate) I need to research who is running on the other side, thanks for info tho.

    Comment by Jan Falk — September 1, 2011 @ 3:25 am

    • I appreciate you taking the time to look at both candidates Jan. That’s what campaigns are for. Even with differing political views, there is common ground to be found in what is best for students and teachers. The approach one might take in voting for School Board shouldn’t be same as voting for President. They are very different landscapes!

      Comment by Red Apple Mom — September 1, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

  7. I do like what Elizabeth says, but I listened to her interview with Redstate (are you also a “red” website?), and the inference was there that this would be a stepping stone for the republican agenda. I cannot think of one issue that I agree about other than this one (which is unusual for a republican to take a stand on-they usually support “discipline” which translates to less personal freedom and dignity, especially for children. So I am still figuring it out, but thanks for your help.

    Comment by Jan Falk — September 1, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

  8. Jan – if I may interject here at your request, my father John Wittman is the other candidate that Red Apple Mom mentions in her comments. I’d be happy to put you in touch with more information about his views and experience. Please visit his website at and send us an email, and I’ll make sure he is responsive. Thanks.

    Laurel Wittman

    Comment by Laurel Wittman — September 16, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

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