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November 16, 2021 · OPINION

School board should have teacher training oversight

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By John Green

I’m concerned with the direction Fauquier County Public Schools are going. Are we engaged in education or social engineering? And who’s in charge, the school board or the superintendent? Since the school board hires the superintendent, it should be the school board, elected by the people.

In 2017, Superintendent David Jeck decided to adopt the Deep Equity program for FCPS. The program is based on a book written by Gary R. Howard titled “We Can’t Lead Where We Won’t Go: An Educators Guide To Equity.” The stated goal is to achieve social equity and social justice in our schools.

Our school board did not appear to be involved in any of this. Yet in the fall of 2017, Nikki Jenkins, from FCPS, was assigned the task of preparing a program for training staff and teachers in Deep Equity. In 2018, Ms. Jenkins’ team spent four days in Deep Equity training with several other mid-Atlantic area school teams. They returned with a four-day course they would use to train all FCPS teachers and staff. Due to the pandemic, only 80 teachers were trained.

This was paid for by the PATH Foundation, not Fauquier County Public Schools. Two members of the FCPS administrative staff served on the PATH Foundation Board of Directors at the time. Where is our school board? Why wasn’t our school board involved?

I inquired with FCPS as to why they adopted Deep Equity without school board approval. Here is the answer I received: “As this was a professional development activity, the School Board does not vote to approve these items. Program authority is granted to the superintendent by the School Board, therefore unless it is a textbook adoption or a major curriculum change, approval by the Board is not needed, it rests with the superintendent or his designee.”

And on professional development, policy 2.2.1. says: “The School Board encourages the attendance of administrative employees at conventions, meetings and institutes which will provide enrichment and professional growth. All such attendance shall be approved in advance by the division superintendent or his designee and shall be within the limits of the approved budget.”

Are administrative employees the same as teachers?

By this yardstick Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project, transgenderism, Social Emotional Learning and any of the other social engineering programs can be introduced into our classrooms by the superintendent by just calling it professional development. No school board or parent or citizen approval is needed.

How a teacher teaches the curriculum is influenced by these social engineering programs.

I for one don’t think they’re appropriate. And I don’t think the way Superintendent Jeck is doing this is in accordance with our policies. We need to get back to basics – education. Education can help all our kids. Social engineering is dividing us.

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