Academies of Loudoun

The Academies of Loudoun off Sycolin Road in Leesburg.

The Loudoun County School Board on Tuesday narrowly approved changes to the Academies of Loudoun admissions process at the recommendation of Loudoun County Public Schools senior staff.

The action, which the board previously discussed as a potential method to combat systemic racism within the division as well as a means to “promote geographic and socioeconomic diversity,” comes following years of concern regarding the underrepresentation of certain racial and economic groups at the Academies.

As an example, district officials said Black students only represent 2 percent of students admitted to the Academies in 2020, despite constituting 9 percent of the AOL Academy of Science applicant pool and 7 percent of LCPS enrollment overall.

Hispanic students similarly make up 18 percent of LCPS enrollment and 12 percent of applicants to AOL’s Academy of Engineering and Technology, yet only 3 percent of the Academies’ admitted students this year were Hispanic.

Further, last year the Virginia attorney general office’s Human Rights Division at the behest of the Loudoun County NAACP launched an investigation of LCPS for human rights violations involving discrimination.

“There’s merit to that case against us, the accusations against us,” board member Beth Barts (Leesburg District) remarked later in the meeting. “We can talk about it ‘til the cows come home, but there’s data, it’s real … We can no longer afford to ignore what’s right in front of us.”

LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams and Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Ashley Ellis also detailed geographic and socioeconomic underrepresentation within the AET and AOS admissions pools this year.

They took particular note of the fact that applicants from economically disadvantaged families constituted 12 percent of AET applications and 14 percent of AOS applications, yet only 2 percent of those ultimately admitted to each.

Williams and Ellis presented a detailed plan for altering the admissions process, which would include adjusted prerequisites, implementation of a racially and ethnically diverse review panel, and other changes.

Proposed adjustments included changing the minimum math requirement for applying to AET from Geometry to Algebra I, which would make it match the math prerequisite for AOS.

LCPS would also reduce the number of applicant assessments for the AOS and AET admissions process from four to two, maintaining use of a STEM Thinking Skills Assessment and a Writing Task, as well as reducing the number of testing days from two to one.

Per Jeff Morse’s (Dulles District) estimation, between 60 and 70 people who offered public comment earlier in the meeting expressed their disapproval of the potential changes, with many opining they would lower the high bar AOL sets and undermine the efforts of the division’s most hardworking students.

“Mr. Williams, the changes you have proposed so far are not evidence-based, but a shortsighted, knee-jerk reaction that will forever tarnish the legacy of [the Academies],” LCPS parent Kareena Nair said. “I ask all board members to stand firm against these draconian changes and not impede the progress of kids pursuing STEM.”

“It is disappointing to have our own School Board not giving us a fair opportunity to be selected based on academic merits,” said Abhi Badia, a rising eighth-grader at Farmwell Station Middle School. “Would you select a kid with little or no experience into a football or basketball team when the team is going to nationals?”

Following Williams’ and Ellis’ words, Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge District) moved that the board form an ad hoc committee for AOL admissions, expressing discomfort with the current lack of data regarding the expected effects of staff’s recommended adjustments.

“Increasing the diversity of students at AOS and AET is a laudable goal,” he said. “However, I am deeply concerned that we are rushing these proposed changes without having sufficient data about the impact and consequences, either intended or unintended.”

Morse seconded Serotkin’s motion, voicing his consternation at the rapidity with which the “complete and utter rewrite” of Academies admissions standards was proposed.

“To my recollection, there was not one [public commenter] in favor of the proposed resolution,” he added.

However, student School Board representative Savannah Strope of Park View High School countered by noting none of the evening’s commenters were parents or students at LCPS middle schools underrepresented within AOL, several of which are in the Sterling District, which houses PVHS.

Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling District) added no public commenters represented her and Strope’s home district as a whole, and that she was “woefully offended” by comments she believed insinuated qualifying students from underrepresented schools “would lower the quality” of AOL.

“I was sitting here, calling off names, trying to not sound angry because I was trying to be professional,” Sheridan said. “We can’t just send this back to a committee to discuss for a couple more years … It is time to recognize that the students who attend Park View are absolutely as capable.”

Initially, Serotkin’s motion to form an ad hoc committee passed 5-4 with Sheridan, Barts, Vice Chairwoman Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian District) and Leslee King (Broad Run District) opposed.

However, after a short break, Denise Corbo (At-Large) successfully moved to reconsider Serotkin’s motion. The board voted once more on his motion, which this time failed 4-5 after Corbo changed her vote to a no.

After a subsequent motion from Sheridan, the board finally voted 5-2-2 in favor of staff’s proposed changes, with Morse and John Beatty (Catoctin District) opposed. Serotkin and Harris Mahedavi (Ashburn District) abstained.

Serotkin then moved that LCPS create an ad hoc committee to oversee the implementation of the newly-approved changes, of which the board voted in favor.

Tuesday’s Loudoun County School Board meeting is available to view in full at vimeo.com/446846141.

(74) comments

scottva

This is great! Now I suspect LCPS will be making the requirements to join the HS football, basketball, baseball and soccer teams easier, giving kids who otherwise would not have the opportunity to make a HS sport team. This is only fair right?

What I find most interesting is that while LCPS and the NAACP (who helped lead this effort) have succeeded in making the requirements easier for minorities to get accepted into AOL, is they did so in the name of fairness and equity. Nothing like easing admission requirements to say minorities are as equal as other kids. What they are really saying is that they believe minorities aren't capable of being admitted to AOL on their own merit, therefore we will make it easier for them. Liberal equity logic. Another brilliant move by Williams and the SB, bunch of saps.

amerigirl

I agree with you, the student’s ability to pass the test should not matter on what color their skin is but on their abilities. Putting them into a facility with people who are capable of doing the work if they are not is just setting them up for failure. Though I have to disagree with the sports ting, there are many kids that are very qualified for sports that just can’t afford to pay all the fees that are associated with them.

LetsBreal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Justice Department Finds Yale Illegally Discriminates Against Asians and Whites in Undergraduate Admissions in Violation of Federal Civil-Rights Laws - Thursday, August 13, 2020

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-finds-yale-illegally-discriminates-against-asians-and-whites-undergraduate

Message to the school board - tread lightly.

Barry Hussein

So let's lower our standards to ensure we get study body fully in sync with the population as a whole. Ignore SAT scores and low GPA - we don't care. Oh wait, SAT is discriminatory ... but I digress. I am sure it would not be an issue if that overachieving 7.7% of the county's population was over-represented in these schools. Maybe I should sue the NBA. What a joke

Virginia SGP

The intent behind these changes are some of the most racist we have ever seen. SB members are trying to put their whole weight on the scale to help some kids based on the color of their skin matching the SB members' desired victimhood class. That is shameful.

However, I will say 2 things on the revised changes. First, the removal of certain tests and teacher recs will not have much of an effect. Teachers often recommend who they like and overall are not reliable. If low SES kids are scoring well but not getting in, that is a problem (supposedly based on data of LCPS but hard to know if we can believe them) and should be fixed. Having only one STEM test (critical thinking) will increase pressure on kids and result in some bad days denying entry to talented kids (think one-and-done NCAA basketball tourney vs 4-of-7 NBA playoffs). SB members never even remotely consider the effects. We don't know how the changes will water down the admitted group (not clear) but at least the lottery is gone and the very top kids should still get in.

Secomd, the ACL curriculum is problematic. I know Bob likes it below but both AOS and AET assumes every kid has taken a specific math course in 8th grade (geo for AET and algebra I got AOS). In ACL, students take "integrated" courses that combine science and math. This is a huge problem. For kids that are advanced (Alg II in 8th grade), they just wasted a year because they must repeat Alg II in the "integrated class". Students who transferred to LCOS and did not take geo in 8th were excluded from AET. As always, TJ has the superior model as it can accommodate students with any math course in 8th (from Alg I to pre-calc) and no classes are wasted. We definitely need to improve the instruction at all base high schools and still allow ACL to be a merit-based magnet school.

The ironic part is that these changes will hurt Asians (minority) because of their clustering around schools who will be called, help Hispanics ďwho were not really clamoring for this) as they are concentrated in schools with less academic talent, and be a wash for blacks - the biggest whiners via the NAACP. as many NAACO members said, they just want special handouts for blacks and their own kids. They will eventually trash this when their kids (from the affluent schools) still cannot make the cut.

If you want a quality STEM education for students, here is a thought. Elect SB members with STEM backgrounds who will fire all the social justice/liberal arts admins (like Williams and Ellis) and hire STEM majors who have a clue.

ABee

Not only shameful, but racist and ILLEGAL.

What kind of legal advice is Williams and his merry band getting?

This policy change will not stand in court.

Neelam Kumar

This is outright racism by 5 white women on the SB who targetted the Asian Minority community. The slander that was in the discussion was outrageous. When I posted this on Beth Barts FB page - she says " You can happily call me a racist". Does she have the guts to say that to AAs or Hispanics ? She was rude used slander in the board meeting and attacked a minority community. The SB voted 3 times with first approving to defer to a committee 4-5 and then 5-4 after break to implement. It is fishy .. Denise Corbo flipped and changed her vote after 15 mins break.. What happened during the break - Rumor has it Beth Barts / Williams made a few calls to influence her to change the vote.

This is a staged drama by the SB to target Asian minorities to fulfill their Agenda of #BLM. Due to the ongoing wave of #BLM they want to show results so the plan is to take away from a minority community and give it to the AAs and Hispanics.

Around 60-70 people spoke against it and it was on deaf years. The SB team 2 women Leslie and Beth were offended i believe by the people. But they called this ethnic group names and accused and penalized the Asian kids calling them " coming from affluent families". The Asian minority group is not born affluent - we educated ourselves with student loans , jobs and have made a living.

How is this equal ground - when our kids cannot into AOL based on their skin color ( brown) , zipcode , middleschool and so called " affluent families". Beth Barts is a racist with an agenda to destroy the Asian community. None of the SB members have any degree in STEM . So what do you expect them to know what they are voting for. They just want to show they are " anti- racist" in the current wave and support AAs and Hispanics .. But they did so by sacrificing another minority community.

The Testing should be open for all and the kids should be picked regardless of any discrimination. Dont reveal middle school , student names ,race or ethnicity or zipcode. Rank order the kids and pick them. This will rule out all discrimination and kids based on merit will be picked. But the SB is worried if they do so -- they cannot target Asians..

Beth Barts is happy to be called a " RACIST" thats what she told me. So it calls for a class action lawsuit against SB for targeting the minority community for not providing a fair ground.

LetsBreal

Question for LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams and Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Ashley Ellis:

"According to racial equality activist Richard Lapchick, the NBA in 2015 was composed of 74.4 percent black players, 23.3 percent white players, 1.8 percent Latino players of any race, and 0.2 percent Asian players."

Recognizing that all people have different strengths and weaknesses, do these numbers mean the NBA is a racist operation?

Are we an equal outcome society or an equal opportunity society?

BigDaddyVA

Now do NBA coaches.

Gitanagurl

I worked at HL and I did notice many Hindu/Indian/Asian kids getting toys... but they were robotics, science kits, projects, experiment stuff bot actual toys. These parents are involved with the studies of their kids and are very involved. We might think were #1 in the world as far as education, but we really not. Even in El Salvador, my husband’s daughter learned to multiply in 2nd to 3rd grade. My daughter is now going to middle school and she is just starting division! Remember, in these countries you have to pay to go to school. And you get corporal punishment if your bad. If you haven’t noticed, (I have, I drive around for a living) most Asians/Indians come on work Visas. Ashburn is the internet center of the nation if not the world. They bring in smart people from abroad with their families and these families live in really lavish conditions. They also have their kids focus on education. Education is everything to them. So the fact that American kids aren’t raised to focus on education, and our educational system sucks, our values suck! They’re at an advantage and they’re taking many jobs because US companies are hiring them from abroad. I guess they can’t find local talent? So if these kids are raised to be smarter in school, while most of our kids hate it. Why is diversity being pushed? Is the kid is smart, he is smart! If you want diversity in these special schools, then change your educational system. You’d have to end systematic racism in order for more kids/ families from other areas can have more of a chance. It would have to take a whole lot of work that is not in view right now. In fact, we’re de-evolving as humans. It would be discriminating to not accept kids because of their race despite the fact that they meet the criteria to get into a special school. But then there are other smart kids that get put behind because of discrimination as well. It’s so complicated and stupid. In the end it is what it is. You want your kids to do things they are probably not meant to do! I get so upset when I hear parents insisting their kid plays in the exclusive soccer team Then you see their kid play and they honestly suck! Their kid look miserable! You cannot force equal opportunity to all kids when not all are build equally! I was a really good volleyball player in my days, but I’m short! They let me play because I was good but I had to make bigger efforts to overcompensate for being short (5’5”). That is how I earned my place in the sport! Same goes everywhere else! Look at your kids strengths and fo us on them. Make them work for what they want! Too many spoiled kids and parents want their kids to do things the easy way. That is why many foreigners excel. They’re raised this way. But then here comes many adults to ruin that hope these kids have. There are many smart kids doing bad things because where they live, there aren’t resources nor good people to tell them they can do it. I work with these kids and it’s truly different worlds. Not being open minded, not learning about diversity, being ignorant when dealing with kids can be disastrous for their future. And sadly I know too well that we have a system that hinders some and pushes others forward. This system blocks and suppresses certain kids education, but open doors for others. It’s plain. Systematic racism. Everything in this country is set up for some to fail and others to succeed. And most will say that this is an excuse because they HAVE NEVER LIVED IT! Most will say things to excuse the fact because it’s hard to believe that this does happen. And quite often. You just haven’t taken the time to open your brain to other’s experiences to know.

LetFreedomRing

Funny that the school board claims to want equity in the education system while refusing to give a choice to families for in-school or 100% distance learning. Which students are going to be most negatively impacted by mandatory 100% distance learning? Answer: MINORITIES! The underprivileged children who have parents who work 2-3 jobs and are not at home during the day. The children who’s parents didn’t graduate high school and don’t have the education to assist them with 100% homework. These children will fall by the waste side while the privileged upper class children have a stay-at-home parent to work with them and money to hire tutors and/or attend private schools.

The Loudoun County School Board’s efforts for “equity” are a joke. The Loudoun County School Board is a joke.

OCThunder

Has it occurred to anyone that the admissions process may be flawed in some way? My Hispanic child finished the 8th grade with straight A’s and an Advanced pass on the Writing SOL. She was enrolled in all Honors classes, and completed 4 high school credits, including Geometry. She applied to both AOS and AET and made the first cut of the admissions process (first day of tests). We were obviously disappointed to find out that she was not accepted to the program.

We are trying to move on, looking forward to attending public school for now. We have not made any complaints to the NAACP, or to anyone else. However, it is extremely difficult to read posts of people implying that certain children are not “working their butts” off or that certain households don’t value education. That may be for some, but not for our household. I’m not in favor of “lowering the bar” for my child to gain an opportunity at AOL, but I am open to a fair review of the admissions process.

I am reading comments here like how “dumbing down the admissions process to reward under achievement harms deserving students”. My daughter is an over achiever. Is she not as deserving as those that got in with test coaching? Has anyone ever considered that some of these children may be just as intelligent as the ones that were accepted?

I have wondered if as a parent I could have done more. Should I have invested thousands of dollars to provide my daughter with specialized coaching sessions on how to pass the CCTST? I don’t know. Somehow, I think my daughter is going to excel in anything she sets her heart out to do. While I’m not too worried about her path, I do encourage you all to be open to any improvements made to the admissions process.

Virginia SGP

I cannot comment on whether your daughter in particular should have been admitted. But understand anywhere between 30-50% os LCPS students get straight A's due to grade inflation.

And understand that test coaching has been shown to have little impact compared to students just taking some practice tests on their own.

So I would not feel bad. It would be beneficial to allow all kids to have access to practice tests bit you did not let your daughter down by not putting her into a prep class. Only about 2% are admitted to that invariably means many bright kids are not. Let's work together to improve the rigor of STEM at all base high schools.

LetsBreal

"Further, last year the Virginia attorney general office's Human Rights Division at the behest of the Loudoun County NAACP launched an investigation of LCPS for human rights violations involving discrimination.

"There's merit to that case against us, the accusations against us," board member Beth Barts (Leesburg District) remarked later in the meeting. "We can talk about it 'til the cows come home, but there's data, it's real … We can no longer afford to ignore what's right in front of us."

I would like Beth Barts to stand behind that statement and tell us what was found in the "investigation". Name names. incidents, facts, data. What she is insinuating would be unlawful, and it should be made very public. My guess is there are no such details. She makes a general statement of "violations" and rounds it out with "there's data", but no details or facts available publicly to the justify the ensuing reverse discrimination.

Beth, speak up! Tell us what you know.

Virginia SGP

Beth is making her usual ignorant statements to defend her own family's poor intelligence/test scores. She claimed on a Facebook post (that she since took down when some of us posted actual research she didn't like) that her kid could have scored much higher if she had paid for test prep like some students admitted to ACL. when we pointed out that test prep only increases SAT scores by 30 points on average, she removed it.

This is about whether non-gifted SB members can accept the fact that the smarter students are actually smarter than the SB members' children. Most SB members refuse to accept facts and will do anything to justify their own delusional beliefs.

ABee

Eric Williams and his merry band continue to wreak havoc on Loudoun education.

Sad. Loudoun kids continue to suffer under his "leadership".

Jaws

Multicultural is a a little cloudy, would Loudoun and the Democratic party get on the same page on labeling. Is Kamala Harris the first multicultural VP candidate or the first African American candidate?

Gary

Just another attempt to make all equal when it is not.

Teacher33

This is so dumb. The School Board wants so badly to participate in the #BLM craze that they quickly and haphazardly decimate the Academy of Science's rigorous admissions standards because--God forbid--black students are underrepresented at the school. Guess what? White students are also underrepresented. Ever been to AOS? It's like Little India. All the comments here about making admission easier for "minorities" miss the point. Minorities are currently dominating the admitted-student ranks. This new program isn't so much about letting in more blacks and Hispanics as it is about letting in FEWER INDIANS. Indian families tend to be clustered in Ashburn. Requiring more students from middle schools outside of Ashburn likely just means more whites and fewer Asians (including Indians). Making AOS easier to get into does nothing but damage the reputation of AOS among elite colleges, where it currently enjoys a stellar reputation based largely on the fact its admission criteria are so rigorous. Yes, in an ideal world, it would be wonderful if the county's top students were a diverse group that perfectly reflected the racial distribution of county residents. But that's not the way it is. Asians (incl. Indians) out-perform everyone else, generally speaking. The solution is to find ways to get everyone else to work harder and take school more seriously, not just lower the admission standards and shut the door on Ashburn-based middle school once they've reached their (unconstitutional) quota on Indian students.

AndrewHoya

That makes sense to me.

We used to live in the Park View pyramid, but got exemptions to send our kids through the Potomac Falls elementary schools to avoid Park View. Once our oldest got to middle school and hit a cap preventing him from getting Potomac Falls exemptions, we moved to the Stone Bridge district to avoid Park View. There are significant differences among the schools in LCPS. It would seem like focusing on building up some of those weaker schools would be a better way to level the playing field than tearing down the elite school.

Thats going to be a lot harder to improve thousands of students than by this option though, which I assume may only impact dozens.

Gitanagurl

Of all the comments, this is the most accurate one. I have a child that just graduated, one starting high school, and not once have I heard of anything on how to join AOL. Even when Monroe was open, it was hard for her to get in. She never got in. Now that I want for my son to go to AOL, I have never heard anything on how to get in or any info on how to start! Nothing! I have driven for AOL several times and yes, you are correct. Either way, I still don’t know how to get him into AOL. And I doubt they will let him in. He is taking ELL clases even though he doesn’t speak any other language but English. They did say it was because of his Spanish last name. They did this to all my kids except I fought for them not to put my 2 oldest. But they went and put my other 2 in this. If we look at AOL, we’d have to look at all schools. I remember being held a year in Sugarland Elementry because the teacher hated me. And she did. She only treated me badly. She did things to me. She accused me if many things causing my mother to go through many doctors just so they can tell her that there is nothing wrong with me, and the teacher is the problem. A teacher in YAP told my brother that Hispanics would never really get anywhere in life, have low chances of graduating, and high percentage of them end up as loser in drugs, prison, pregnant, or deported. My son’s 3 rd grade teacher in Evergreen elem told him to take his DC hat off on hat day because it was gang related... he was 8. I can go on and on about how ignorant, racist, segregated, harassing, discriminatory , and disgusting many of the professionals have been to minorities. And not to forget they practically do nothing to fix any of this despite the amounts of Emails I have sent. 1984 to 2020 and it’s getting worse. And it’s the teachers word against a student. Most students have parents that don’t speak English and teachers take advantage of this thinking that these parents will usually not say anything because of the language barrier. But then they mess with my kids and they realize “Oh... this one speaks...” and they usually back off my kid but the damage is already done. They sent my son home with a Spanish/English dictionary! He does not speak Spanish! Teach him how to use an English dictionary! Those still exist? Point is, have to change the whole country’s school system.

Virginia SGP

This is the truth. The intent behind these changes is the most racist act by Loudoun officials in 50 years. Everytime you see the 5 members who voted on this, know they are hardcore racists who hate Asians/Indians.

romano

yet another example of groups who say they want to be treated just like everyone else, asking for special treatment handouts.

InfoOD

Looks like lot of people here wants a participation trophy. Honestly, those parents here crying inequality, how many of you will willingly hire or work someone that doesn't qualify for the job but was hired because of color of their skin? What a bunch of hypocrite.

LIfetimeLoudouner

Funny it will be minorities who will loose spots at the academies. East Asians and South Asians will be punished because they are over represented in the numbers. Shame on those parents for putting education first in their kids lives, forcing them to study and practice instead of going out to play with friends. I guess the color of their skin is not the “correct” color for the academies. We are now judging kids by the color and shade of their skin not the content of their character. What a world we live in.

LeesburgD

I don't know why taxpayers have to foot the bill for special academies. I wanted more for my children so I spent my own money and sent them to private school. Wouldn't money be better spent making the public schools that are available to all students better?

guest26

Making enrollment quotas based on anything other than merit takes away the achievement from those that truly have that merit. Someone can look and say, "you didn't get her because you are smart and deserved it, you only got here because you're (insert: black, hispanic, a girl)"

Data Center Alley Cat

To the LCPS school board, I have noticed that the Varsity Football, Basketball, Baseball and Soccer teams are under-represented by Asian American Students. As you know, these sports when played professionally can lead to enormous payouts in both salary and endorsements. What will the board be doing to improve the opportunities for Asians so that they are equally represented on the field? It's not fair that these children come from backgrounds that emphasize academics over athletics. Instead of playing pick up games with friends they are home studying. This is patently unfair to these children. They just don't have the means to become the next quarterback or center.

If LCPS really cared about diversity they would make sure that players weren't simply judged by their ability to play the game...but instead by the racial background the challenges they have at home.

LCPS, I look forward to your plan to remedy this.

1Bobby4RO

Let’s face it, the School Board and Superintendent want a quota system based on race/ethnicity for admission to AOL but know such a system may very well be unconstitutional. Instead they have implemented a lottery system where the bottom 5 qualifying applicants have the same chance of selection as the top 5 applicants. How is this justified? Save the time, money, and effort and just implement your quota system already. After all, no students actually deserve to be judged on there abilities and test scores, do they?

NachoFries

WesternSky, I used to think the same thing about your comment...setting them up for failure later in life. But now colleges have lowered their standards and admit students due to color, gender, social economic standards etc with lower GPA and SAT scores. Also some of the Military branches take students from high school (Airforce and Army) with lower admittance standards for certain groups. To fill the mandated quotes. The federal government now practices hiring standards based on race, color, gender etc. and not most qualified. So I think certain groups are going to be carried by “the system” from Middle School through their working career as long as they are one of the “chosen” groups. I don’t even think it matters how hard you work anymore. Many that are promoted and moved ahead are “Laissez Competent”

Big Daddy 348759

I wonder what MLK would think now that literally nothing is about character, or skills, or abilities and everything is about color.

I wonder when LCPS will get around to just teaching school or will the next few years just be about being the most "woke" public school system?

WesternSky

Sad. What Loudoun County NAACP should, perhaps, be concerned about is that they are being left behind by the Dems and its open boarder policy.

There are 2.5 times more Hispanics in Loudoun than Blacks. This is set to only increase.

Loudoun4Trump

aka....lowering the standards for some to get in not based on merit, but other factors like...gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, social class, and any other factor liberals can divide people on....

Squaks11

Really? You have got to be kidding me. human rights violations?

Further, last year the Virginia attorney general office's Human Rights Division at the behest of the Loudoun County NAACP launched an investigation of LCPS for human rights violations involving discrimination.

LoudounClear

LTM sure knows how to troll the good ole' boys...

Squaks11

LC - Seems like no one here posting has any issue with the race of children getting in. Based on your post you would think only good old white children were being allowed in.

Academy of Science and Academy of Engineering and Technology applications vs. students accepted in 2018-2019

-American Indian -- 8/2

-Asian -- 1,332/353

-Black/African-American -- 65/1

-Hispanic -- 82/12

-Multiracial -- 78/15

-Pacific Islander -- 2/2

-White -- 549/104

ace10

You're offering data when "feelings" and "emotions" are the only factors that matter.

mopar19

When they are countered with facts and data. They respond by just yelling their point louder. It’s a new generation just open the school up to everyone so everyone gets a ribbon.

Djfmer

I'm not familiar with the application process or forms. Is there an indication of race or income in the process or forms? What happens of there's not enough people of color to fill the quotas?

LetSanityPrevail

It would be beneficial if the full demographic picture of the AoS was presented. What percentage are South Asian, what percentage are East Asian, what percentage are white. What is the distribution by district.

More Cowbell

Good point. And what are breakdown of females, males, non gender, other....How and who decides now?

ace10

Everything looks like a nail, when you're holding a hammer.

Will LCPS be educating Loudoun's children, or simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?

BobOhneiserEsq

Hodor & Stepup, You both raise good points. Both of which have simple solutions if the Superintendent REALLY cared for children more than checking the box for a centralized/exclusive academy. The first two years of the program is a condensed, integrated math and science, classroom oriented program designed cooperatively by LCPS and HHMI. (I was on the school board for 8 years and one of my sons attended AOS so I do know this is true). This first two year program is transcript numbered and can be taught at ALL LCPS high schools. By adding a few hundred more qualified students the diversity can be met and the quality would not decline. The majority of the current school board is so lame and political signaling oriented that they can't even question the Superintendent on academic content so the BOS needs to intervene. This is why I am pushing for folks to contact the BOS to stop ignoring the farcical inaction of the school board at a $1.4 billion/year expense. Elected officials have to start doing their jobs!! :-)

fbiwatchingyou

This action is racist it and of it self. Defund the schools

Stepup

Dumbing down the admissions process to reward underachievement harms deserving students and defeats the purpose of the academies.

The school board should focus on helping every student get the best education possible and earn a place in an academy on their merits and not some affirmative action quota that displaces more deserving students.

More Cowbell

That makes too much sense. The chiefs within Loudoun Schools(100 or so superintendents) and Loudoun School board lack common sense/logic.

VeAyLifer

Please clarify your comment. What chiefs and superintendents are you referring to. There are no chiefs and only one superintendent on the organization charts so what you said is nonsense.

More Cowbell

There are like 100 assistant/directors to the assistant to the assistant supervisors. Big chief Williams, major, major disgrace to this county. Then throw in some other made up job titles, you'd think this was a trillion $$$ profit company.

Loudoun Observer

It was good while it lasted. Now that we are mandating equitable outcomes based on skin color instead of equitable opportunity based on merit, ability and achievement - we can move to create the new PRIVATE entity that will provide the quality of education that kids used to get from AOS before this move.

Jaws

Loudoun county board and director are failing our children. Williams and the board love to speak about the academies and give thought to this so it appeases the minorities that have clout like the NAACP.

Where the school board and director need to start focusing on is getting kids support early as possible with IEP’s. My story with the school admin is my child was turned down twice for IEP to help him in school. The “team we sat down with smiles and says they want to help your child but the data they show you is complete BS. That first admin is now a manager overseeing special needs department. Why, because they are good at keeping the numbers low and saving budget. The school speaks in terms of percentile and make the parents feel like they are being unreasonable for asking for additional help. Until we brought a child advocate in that made the school break down the percentages, as well start to be honest in the IEP process did the school finally give us support. This took years and many hours of fighting when I know my child has ADHD, some dyslexia, as well auditory processing issues. If the school admin didn’t lie and deny my child assistance from an early stage in school and perhaps if we didnt have to fight for three years to get an IEP in place he would be ready for the academies.

I can promise you, if you don’t bring in a child advocate to an IEP meeting you and your family won’t get the help your child needs to succeed. Has nothing to do with Asian, black, white, or mix kids. It has to do with a corrupt administration that intimidates its teachers to keep their mouths shut or they would be threatened with demotion or moved to undesirable classes.

Sorry to ramble but the systematic racism in school is not about the color of the skin more it’s about administration trying to watch budget and just keep passing the kid year after year until they drop out or graduate with no real skills to thrive. Did you notice how school board and director talked about children and school for next year and waited to talk about the special news kids. They are a second thought to the board and they are missing the point, the early you get kids help the better they are at succeeding in the schools.

Anybody up for starting a grant or program for parents who can’t afford a child advocate to help not only get your kid help in school but to help develop the goals and supports that best fit your child in school?

Just my thought sorry if you disagree. Academies has minority students represented. Let’s go back and look at policies involving getting help for kids early on so we will have more kids applying to the academies that deserve and earn that spot.

Loudoun1965

" It has to do with a corrupt administration that intimidates its teachers to keep their mouths shut or they would be threatened with demotion or moved to undesirable classes."

You were beginning to make sense until you said that. What specific evidence do you have that this occurs? When a parent makes a request for a child study, the teachers are given multiple forms to assess the child's performance, or lack thereof, the child is observed in several classes by the school psychologist, then a committee meets to look for consistencies. At this point, the child must meet State and Federally mandated criteria to be found eligible. To assert that admin pressures teachers to "keep the numbers low" is serious; prove it. Further, provide one example in the history of LCPS where a teacher was "demoted" for answering a child study survey honestly. Finally, when has a teacher been moved to "less desirable classes," (whatever that means...no heat, no chairs, or are you referring to behavior issues?) because he or she felt a child would benefit from an IEP or 504.

Jaws

Thanks for feed back- not going to give up who we are. Came from private school after (k). First try the asst principle and the staff turned our child down. Even after data showed he had many disabilities. Physicians, Dowers@asso, kindergarten teacher(private school), psycologist, as well tons of data we were turned around. Next year same process as teacher was first year in school the school(team) again declined. We were lucky to have resources to pay our own. Without the school knowing we had legal, advocate, as well we had our own independent assessment completed. We walked in to the third IEP and said all conversations will be recorded moving forward. In turn the school said we will be recording as well. After the third try low and behold the school accepted. This same process took place as we were turned down first for ESY and after we clearly explained the gaps and the decline over the summer got accepted after the second go round. All that said, I was a sub for SPED classes Was trained in MANDT and saw first hand SPED teachers and asst. principle after several IEP meetimgs discussing how incompetent the parent was (Not my child). I can’t imagine how many parents get turned down or kids get let slip thru the cracks because of the Loudoun process for getting a child an IEP. I don’t blame the teachers as Much as asst principle, and admin. You seem versed in the system so I assume you must be close to the decision makers. Does Loudoun share that data of how many apply and how many get turned down? Did that answer your question?

JustMe

I definitely hear your frustration on getting an IEP for your child, as I know others that have had similar problems, once the student is in school. I am glad your child is now receiving the help he needs and deserves.

Just so people are aware and with the aim to help any child that needs help. There is help available through the county, but it needs to be involved between the ages of 2-5. There is a public resource called Child Find, that most are not aware. It is part of a federal law to protect the rights of students with disabilities. So, if your child is between 2-5 years of age he/she can be evaluated by professionals who can diagnose learning disabilities, if you believe your child might have learning disabilities. It is a government service that is covered by tax dollars and sits under LCPS. So free of charge... well kind of.

My middle school daughter has an IEP and has been attending LCPS since preschool (at a local elementary school) due to learning disabilities that were discovered through Child Find. Child Find was able to take their findings and set up and IEP with LCPS to start addressing these disabilities right away.

"How did I learn about child find?" Due to some concerns, my daughter's doctor recommended we set an appointment with the Child Find in Loudoun and I am glad we did. Never heard of it before the doctor mentioned it. A few disabilities were diagnosed and her pathway to help was crafted.

She has since then worked through and no longer receives services through her IEP on a couple of the disabilities as LCPS helped her overcome those challenges, but she still has a couple more to work on and one will most likely be with her through graduation of HS.

BobOhneiserEsq

The most unfair part of the Academy of Science process for admissions is the denial of ALL the high schools who have qualified students to take the first two years of the AOS program.

LoudounGenerations

A better approach might be to see that everyone gets the education needed to qualify for the Academy.

Hodor

It would be? How would you actually implement that approach in the real world?

Stepup

Isn’t it the job of the school board and highly compensated administrators to figure out how to provide the best education possible to all students so they can earn opportunities like academy admission?

This new quota admission policy is an acknowledgment of failure.

LoudounGenerations

Exactly this.

John M

The application process should be a blind process. Only the numbers are seen by the people who select the students, not the names, "socioeconomic status" or anything else- just the numbers. Reward the kids who are working their butts, period.

WesternSky

Agree. You are setting the kids admitted, but that do not qualify, up for failure later in life.

VeAyLifer

That is the way admissions at Thomas Jefferson were conducted at one time and the Asian students overran the other kids applying. Why? Because their parents took and active part in their childs education and participated by making sure they studied, did their assignments and set their education as their own 1 st priority. I fear most households in Ashburn, black, Hispanic, white, mixed or other don't put the same emphasis on education by example at home. My experience in the education system in this country for 40 years is a very large percentage of families "don't have the time' or don't care to get highly involved. Do you sit down to dinner every night and have a conversation with you children about what they did that day, or about current events. or about the world in general. Education is a 360 degree responsibility not just that of a school system. Think of it as the school system provides the tools, ie structured progressive education and it is the family that provides the motivation, respect, and leadership to the children to allow them to be as successful as they can be.[ohmy][ohmy]

John M

VeAyLifer: For a lot of families, sports prevail over schoolwork to an extent that is not benefitting the kids at all. I used to be involved with my local Little League and so many parents were insane about how much training, practicing, and traveling their kids would do for their chosen sport, and yet they complained constantly about school getting in the way, and they would pull their kids out of school to attend some out of town tournament that will get the kids nowhere. So many parents think their prodigy is going to be the part of the less than 1% of the population that makes it to a pro sports league, and they shortchange their kid on their education. Someone once asked me why we didn't have many Asian or Middle Eastern kids on our league's travel teams and I said "because those kids are studying and taking school seriously". I believe in a balance, and sports is so great for kids, but many parents swallow the pill that these paid instructors are selling them and are convinced that their kid is a superstar who doesn't need school. Then those kids end up playing one season of some Division 3 sport where all you need to get in the school is a pulse and a checkbook.

LoudounPulse

The primary problem with the Loudoun Academies is that it only accepts the best and brightest students, not just "any" student. This means that minorities always get the short stick, because many minorities don't start off with the best education that money can buy. It takes generations to work up the socioeconomic ladder so that a child can even reach the threshold of the Academy's bar. Then on top of all that, you will always have admissions people that "choose" whom they want to accept, which can be abused by those looking to keep minorities out of places that could offer them an advanced leg up in society. What this commission needs to do is to stop requiring the best students and to start accepting the "Good Enough" students that the Academies can model into The Best students. With that model, you are far more likely to see a greater representation of minorities at the school.

Squaks11

LP - What is the use of having a school for the best when you let in the "good enough".

Are you sure the people choosing have access to an applicants race and socio economic status?

LetSanityPrevail

Agree. How about we see the stats also based on economic status.

More Cowbell

Just more excuses. I grew up in a poor family. My parents were always trying to figure out how to pay bills, they were always months behind on most and were AWOL when it came to helping our education. Not once did my parents ever go to back to school night, look at report cards, assist in my college process. I went for a year, but expenses were tough, had to work, no grants like other kids. Went in the military, finished degree and after many years of hard work, I'm easily a 1%... So, Only way to allow certain groups in is to lower the bar... How low? Maybe just let everyone that applies get in but if they fail out, then they cover the cost. I've always said that everyone should be made to spend 2 years in military, non combat, prior to college(or after HS).

John M

MC: I was in the same boat as you. I come from a large family and while my dad was a hard working man who made a decent living, raising six kids was expensive, so we pinched pennies and ate a lot of cereal or jelly sandwiches for dinner. My white privilege must have gotten lost somewhere because I never found it. My parents graduated high school, but didn't go to college and had no interest in paying for me to do so. Out of my siblings, I'm the only one that graduated HS, then went straight into the military for six years, going to college classes at night and am now living a comfortable life- but I've earned every dollar that has passed through my hands. I believe hard work should be rewarded and that's why I say a blind selection process is the way to go here as it ensures that kids who are putting in the work get accepted. I remember when my son was in elementary school and the (then) Principal instituted a rewards program for behaving well and doing your work- except it was a sham as he was only rewarding the African American kids (he was African American) and one day my son came home very upset, telling me through tears that he had never been in trouble and had done all his work, yet he had only one "dollar" (reward), while kids in his class were getting them left and right and they were troublemakers. He asked "what's the point of being good?". I told him that life isn't always fair, but he would be rewarded someday. These days I wonder if I may have told him a lie.

LetSanityPrevail

Hate to bust your bubble but it doesn’t take generations to succeed. Look at the track record of immigrants in the early 20th century whose children succeeded, or more recently both South and East Asians. As far as your good enough remark, I suppose when you seek services for medical, legal, engineering or teaching you only seek the good enough companies and professionals,

VOLTON

Well, to be fair it's not quite the same for Black Americans as it is for your average immigrant. Black Americans have lived in a country that's treated them and their ancestors going back many generations as 2nd or 3rd class Americans. With that history, you can't expect to just say "OK, we don't think like that anymore...why can't you just be like everyone else." We will get there but it might take longer than you'd think.

More Cowbell

so keep lowering the bar until there is no bar. Like I stated before, just let everyone in with the understanding if you can't cut it/drop out/fail, you pay back $$$.

Matthew

You live in fantasy land if that is how you think!

LetsBreal

Oh, woe is me. Baloney.

With that mentality, you can carry on the victimhood forever.

scottva

That is absurd. At what point do they owe it to themselves, you know personal accountability? History? At what point can society move forward without people using slavery as their crutch? Slavery was bad we know that but good Lord, must we drag this out forever? When can the excuses stop? How do you account for the many, many black people that have succeeded without having to make things easier for them? How is making academics easier making them equal? It's just saying "We recognize you're not capable of the same scholastic achievements of others, therefore will make it easier for you." That's not equity, that's pandering and perpetuating the stereotype that minorities aren't as smart as others, which is insulting. It's also insulting to the kids that worked their butts off to get in. My kid, tried once and didnt get in. His white privilege was invalid. He tried again and was accepted. It's called work and determination and inequality and racism.

romano

complete nonsense

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