Piercing the Secrecy Barrier

As we have seen, the Virginia Department of Data Suppression doesn’t want you to know whether your kid is suffering under a lousy teacher or whether your principal is acting to retrain or fire that lousy teacher. 

The Department would have us believe that Virginia is the Lake Woebegon of Teachers: For example, in 99.28% of all respects, Richmond teachers are evaluated to be at or above average.  In fact, of course, we have some really lousy teachers.  Here in Richmond, in 2015, we had the sixth worst division pass rate in math and the second worst in reading.

Leading the charge against the state’s concealment of the facts we have Brian Davison of Loudoun, who earlier compelled the disclosure of the SGP data by division and by (anonymized) teacher. 

Through Brian’s efforts, we now know that “student growth percentiles have not been used as a teacher performance indicator by Loudoun County Public Schools.”  By the terms of a final order signed by Richmond Circuit Court Judge Melvin Hughes and entered on April 12, VDOE now must cough up the Loudoun assessment data by school and by teacher for the last five years and must pay Brian $35,000 toward his attorney’s fees.

This is a tremendous victory for transparency in public education (and a much-needed breach in the wall of secrecy at VDOE).  I plan to modify have modified   Brian’s Loudoun request (see Exhibit 5) and to change the name to Richmond.  I hope you’ll do the same for your school division.