Last week, by majority vote, PWC School Board chose to send a letter to Governor McAuliffe asking him to allow Virginia to remain independent from the Common Core State Standards initiative. The vote was close, with 4 in favor of sending the letter (Trenum, Johns, Satterwhite, and Otaigbe) 3 against sending the letter (Bell, Jessie, and Williams), and one abstaining from voting (Covington). Several school board members stated that they didn’t know enough about the Common Core to vote either way. (Bell, Williams, and Covington).
I have to admit that I was more than a little surprised that individuals elected to the school board for our county wouldn’t know much about the Common Core. The Common Core first burst onto the US stage in 2009 and have been one of the biggest issues in public education since then, so I found their lack of knowledge more than a little concerning.
I believe elected officials have a responsibility to research issues before them, rather than rely solely on reports from staff. School board members aren’t elected to blindly nod their heads at everything staff says or suggests. Staff will present whatever information supports their viewpoint. I expect elected officials to view staff’s assertions with a degree of professional skepticism and to do their own research, particularly if the issue before them is controversial. If they’re unwilling or unable to do that, then I question why they’re serving.