Leveling the playing field

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Just recently, Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) announced the Virginia Board of Education-approved revisions to the standards that schools are required to meet for state accreditation. The revisions included requirements in order for students to earn a diploma.

According to a press release from the VDOE, “for schools, the revisions to the board’s Standards of Accreditation are designed to encourage continuous improvement for all schools while placing increased emphasis on closing achievement gaps between student groups and providing a more comprehensive view of school quality.”

We applaud the board for taking into consideration the individual needs of schools. While accreditation rankings can play a major part in the way an individual school or district is viewed, other factors should be considered before a school is viewed as “good” or “bad.” These revisions appear to be a step in the right direction to level the playing field.

In Charlotte County this past year, four out of five public schools were awarded full accreditation status. Bacon District Elementary received the status of “Partially Accredited: Reconstituted School.”

These statuses are awarded based on test scores from the previous year, according to the VDOE.

However, under the revisions, “the revised regulations reduce the number of Standards of Learning tests they need to pass to earn a diploma,” said the VDOE.

Additionally, the new expectations include emphasis on skills such as creative thinking, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship.

This is a slight shift from the heavy concentration of academic achievement skills including English, math, science and history, all of which will still be included in the SOLs.

In our opinion, the VDOE is finally realizing that there are several other factors that contribute to a well-rounded student in addition to academics.

Real world experiences and a little common sense go a long way in life.