Public Comments for 01/26/2022 Education
Last Name: Islam Locality: Chesterfield

Comments Document

Hello, I would like to speak out AGAINST HB127. HB127 is unnecessary for these reasons. * There is NO watering down of admissions standards. * Last year, when Maggie Walker did not administer an admissions test because of COVID, we tripled the percentage of Black students admitted, and the average GPA went up. * Furthermore, the admissions test does not accurately predict performance. I have attached a figure showing that significant proportions of students with admissions test scores LOWER than the median continued to perform well at Maggie Walker academically. Furthermore, a substantial proportion of students with test scores ABOVE the medium also academically performed relatively poorly.

Last Name: Hegel Locality: Chesterfield

As a public school teacher, I urge you to support this bill. For too long, schools have done everything they could to make discipline records go away because the district does not want to see them. It is an open secret in the education field that school administrators in non-white, low-income schools are overwhelmed by student discipline issues and have their hands tied by the districts. This is while school administrators in white, affluent schools can still suspend students for minor infractions because parents who spent a lot of money buying into certain school districts will not tolerate foolishness. Anyone who still makes the "school-to-prison" pipeline argument has either not set foot in a hard-to-staff school, or is not being honest with him/herself. As far as I am concerned, most of the solutions to this problem are effectively turning schools into prisons. It really speaks volumes when students who want to learn are complaining that disruptive students do not receive any consequences.

Last Name: Decker Locality: Hanover

I encourage your support of this bill.

Last Name: Ayers Locality: Alum of Maggie Walker

Please oppose HB 127. To say we are moving to a race blind society and this is the way to do it discounts the research and work of many scholars and activists across Virginia and the country who are showing the exact opposite of what this bill is setting out to do. The modifications in the admissions policies during the pandemic have led to the most diverse class in its history at my alma mater, Maggie Walker, and to the highest GPA. We know better, we must do better for ALL the children of the Commonwealth. Not just the ones who are fortunate enough to be born into families of wealth and live in high income areas. Preventing data collection just means that the inequities hide in plain sight, and the schools have no way to address what they know is happening. Please oppose this bill, allow the districts to maintain their control, and serve their students the way they determine is best.

Last Name: McCaskill Locality: Fairfax

I fully support HB127

Last Name: Choate Locality: Henrico

Please oppose HB4. There is already a well documented school to prison pipeline. The educational setting offers the opportunity for counseling, remediation and restorative justice. Educators should continue to have the purview to address behaviors encountered in schools in these ways before committing students to legal processes for misdemeanor offenses. Please support HB128. At a time when we desperately need more educators, particularly from diverse backgrounds who can connect with a wide variety of demographics, the establishment of this scholarship program just makes good sense! Please support HB236. At a time when public education is under assault and educators are leaving the profession at an increasing rate, this flexibility to offer educators an extension of the time needed to complete recertification just makes good sense! Please support HB246 Please support HB294. Students who have suffered the types of events specified in this bill have legitimate concerns remaining in the environment where this occurred and should be able to secure assistance in attending another school in their district that provides a more secure environment. Please oppose HB363. While I support the concept of establishing an alternative method of using merit and performance to determine which employees may be retained and which dismissed when such events as RIF occur, I do not think it wise to prohibit the current practice until a suitable alternative has been determined. Please oppose HB433. Historically, the legislature legislating on the specifics of educational delivery and practice have resulted in more complication and obstacles. The specifics of curricula and testing should be left to those involved in the delivery of education. Please support HB485 Please support HB526. This is just the right thing to do for those who have come to reside in VA as a result of being the victim of human trafficking! Please support HB539. This is a minor and simple thing that institutions of higher ed can do to be fully trans parent to those individuals making application who have a criminal background!! Please support HB582. Today's college students need more assistance than ever in achieving a higher education, and making sure that they are aware of and have access to SNAP benefits that they may be entitled to is just a good idea!!

Last Name: Bentle Organization: Fairfax Education Assocation Locality: Fairfax, Herndon

Both I (a public school teacher in Fairfax County) and the Virginia Education Association oppose HB4. Please stop attempting to criminalize children for teachable offensives. All this bill will do is worsen the school-to-prison pipeline, and it will most likely disproportionately target students of color as well as those from low-income backgrounds.

Last Name: Spark Locality: Richmond

I am a member of the NAACP. I notice the NAACP is opposing this bill. That is quite ironic. VOTE yes for HB127. For so long, we saw race-based school admissions meant racism against Black students. It is the height of irony that the NAACP is now supporting the return of race-based admissions. That is happening because they have lost their way and forget that racism against anyone is racism against everyone. The NACCP does not represent me. They are sadly willing to look the other way as school systems like Fairfax County Public Schools implement systemic racism against Asian families for being the wrong kind of “diverse.” Have moral courage and do not be intimidated by their bullying. Vote YES HB127.

Last Name: Kim-Senior Organization: Maggie Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies Locality: Alexandria, VA

Dear Members of the House of Delegates Education Committee As a concerned citizen, mom of Virginia public school students, and alum of Maggie Walker Governor's School, I am writing to express my opposition to House Bill 127. This bill is not necessary. Academic standards at TJ and MLWGS are NOT being watered down with recent changes to admissions. In fact in 2021 when the school skipped the admissions test because of COVID, Maggie Walker tripled the percentage of Black students admitted while increasing the average GPA of admitted students. It's a total myth to believe standards are lowering. If anything we could easily fill more Governors Schools with all the students who qualify and would succeed. The bill also undermines the control of the Regional School Board, including its local school boards, who set admissions policies for their districts. This bill attempts to meddle in day-to-day operations of our schools. The definitions in this bill are overly broad and vague. Local School Boards should be empowered to use a wide variety of recruitment and enrollment tools to ensure their classes reflect the diversity of their communities, such as goals for feeder school acceptance, etc. HB 127 would effectively make these practices unlawful. This bill promotes antiquated, ineffective and inequitable admissions standards and practices. These outdated admissions practices fail to recognize the need to create more equitable admission pools which incorporate the wide variety of talent within feeder schools. The restriction on data collection is intentional. This bill not only intends to limit transparency, but also prevents schools from reflecting on its practices and unforeseen barriers they have created, which could be remedied upon reflection and data analysis. This bill intentionally ignores the needs for immediate action to combat modern day segregation as recognized by Brown v. Board of Education. Please vote NO to HB127 and help to move the Commonwealth away from more segregated school systems.

Last Name: Nomani Organization: Coalition for TJ Locality: Great Falls

As a brown immigrant mother of color from India, I SUPPORT HB127 because I support Dr. Martin Luther KING’S MESSAGE that we value every child by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. As the mother of a TJ Class of 2021 graduate, I know the Governor’s Schools are a place to nurture children who gain admission based on race-blind, merit-based admissions, not unconstitutional race-based standards. And with Gov. Youngkin expanding our fleet of schools for advanced learner, we will have even more opportunities for our children. VOTE FOR HB127.

Last Name: Yang Locality: Chesterfield County

Dear Members of the House of Delegates Education Committee, As an Asian American Maggie Walker graduate, I am writing to express my opposition to House Bill 127. This bill is not necessary. Academic standards at TJ and MLWGS are NOT being watered down with recent changes to admissions. In fact in 2021 when the school skipped the admissions test because of COVID, Maggie Walker tripled the percentage of Black students admitted while increasing the average GPA of admitted students. It's a total myth to believe standards are lowering. If anything we could easily fill more Governors Schools with all the students who qualify and would succeed. Furthermore, The bill also undermines the control of the Regional School Board, including its local school boards, who set admissions policies for their districts. This bill attempts to meddle in day to day operations of our schools. The definitions in this bill are broad and vague. Local School Boards should be empowered to use a wide variety of tools to ensure their classes reflect the diversity of their communities, such as goals for feeder school acceptance, etc. HB 127 would effectively make these practices unlawful. This bill encourages antiquated, ineffective and discriminatory admissions standards and practices. These outdated admissions practices fail to recognize the need to create fairer admission pools which incorporate the wide variety of talent within the feeder schools. The restriction on data collection is intentional. This bill not only intends to limit transparency, but also prevents schools from reflecting on its practices and unforeseen barriers they have created, which could be remedied upon reflection and data analysis. This bill intentionally ignores the needs for immediate action to combat modern day segregation as recognized by Brown v. Board of Education. Please vote NO to HB127 and help to move the Commonwealth away from more segregated school systems.

Last Name: Fleisher Locality: Henrico

As a long-time, retired Richmond public school educator, who spent 27 years teaching gifted upper elementary and middle school students, I am writing in opposition to HB 127. I’m concerned that this bill will selectively harm Black, Brown, and Asian immigrant children who have not had equal access to the educational resources found in more wealthier school districts. Further, it would force school divisions to ignore the long legacy of school segregation that disadvantages those students, even though they are every bit as capable as their more privileged counterparts. The bill would also define "proxy discrimination" and "traditional academic success factors" so broadly that it will almost certainly reduce diversity in our schools—diversity that plays a key role in the quality of education all our students receive. Diversity helps create a better educational experience for ALL students, no matter what their racial, ethnic or economic background. Most concerning is the bill’s prohibition of demographic data collection about school applicants. This will prevent localities from identifying ongoing discriminatory practices, and taking actions to correct disparities and inequities. How can a school or school system even know if its practices need to be changed if they are forbidden from gathering the information that would allow them to measure and evaluate their admissions processes? Over my many years of teaching I worked with brilliant, creative and motivated young people, many of whom were denied the opportunity to experience the extraordinary education offered by the Commonwealth’s governor’s schools—not because of their inability to succeed at such a challenging institution, but because they simply couldn’t compete with their contemporaries, who had the advantages of wealthy families, private schooling, extensive travel and expensive after-school enrichment activities and test preparation. I urge you not to advance HB127 out of committee.

Last Name: Lukas Locality: Great Falls

I support HB127. I support merit based admission.

Last Name: Laundon Locality: Chesterfield

Good morning: As an alumna of Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, I am writing in to express my vehement opposition to HB 127 that would hamstring existing regional school board knowledge and expertise for their admissions process and what will be best for the school and its future students and policies. 1. This bill is wholly unnecessary, as watering down admissions standards has not happened and I cannot imagine any Governor's School admissions director intends to happen. Given that two of the governor's schools in Virginia consistently make top 10 of schools in the country, there is zero motivation to decrease standards of student capacity to meet academic challenges. 2. While Del. Davis indicated on 1/25 that this bill would not affect my alma mater Maggie Walker Governor's School, a close read of the bill's language suggests that it could hamper the processes and power of the Regional School Board for Maggie Walker. 3. This bill is harmful to Black, Brown, AND Asian immigrant communities who for years have not had access to the same educational resources found in more wealthy school districts. HB 127 also ignores the very real history of school segregation in Virginia that requires affirmative action. 4. HB 127 would codify overly broad definitions of "proxy discrimination" and "traditional academic success factors, " which do not meet current educational standards. Further, the bill would undermine the regional diversity of our schools, which is by definition, inherently built into the structure and benefit of the regional governor's schools. 5. Finally, preventing collection of applicant data during the admissions process prevents localities from taking affirmative action to correct historical and pervasive educational inequities. It also prevents conducting analyses to examine differences between applicants and accepted students, which prevents strategic planning processes for the schools. To maintain high standards, schools should be able to use data in their planning and practices. For the above reasons, I urge you to vote NO on HB 127.

Last Name: Ryan Locality: Great Falls

I am a 2020 TJ graduate and what has been done to my school breaks my heart. Please vote yes on HB127. The students are what makes Thomas Jefferson what it is. We have fantastic labs and wonderfully overqualified teachers, but the student body is what makes TJ special. The greatest gift of TJ was bringing my peers together. That is the essence of TJ's charter. To claim TJ wasn't diverse is absurd, unless you hold a shallow and racial definition of diversity. When I think back to TJ, I remember some of the smartest and most eclectic people imaginable. I remember the vacuum tube CRT oscilloscope set up in a Commons where the audio my peers played was displayed fluorescent green. I remember the Latin club marching through the halls in plastic armor and chanting (insert Latin). My class was anything but homogenous. Even when practiced with good intentions, discrimination on the basis of race is never justified or soundly reasoned. Hoping to correct racial inequities with more racism is folly. Please vote to repair a truly wonderful place. Please vote yes on HB127.

Last Name: Zou Locality: VA Beach

I support house bill HB127. Please pass HB127 to support hard work and merit.

Last Name: Xue Locality: Chesterfield

Please vote NO on HB127. Preventing the collection of applicant data only blinds us to the reality of segregation in our schools. It was only because such data was made available that local school boards have been able make efforts to both increase diversity while maintaining the same standards for admission. When the admissions test was not given for Maggie Walker this past year, the percentage of Black students admitted tripled and GPA went up as a result. Ignoring that reality would only hurt poorer communities of all ethnicities that have not had access to the same educational resources and undercuts the regional diversity of our schools.

Last Name: Scharf Locality: Richmond

I am the parent of a Maggie Walker Governors School student. I oppose HB127 for the following reasons: First, this bill undermines the authority of our regional governor’s school board, and of the local city and county school boards that constitute its membership, to set admissions processes. It takes away localities' ability to craft fair and inclusive admissions policies. Second the bill would put into the Code overly broad definitions of "proxy discrimination" and "traditional academic success factors" that fail to meet current educational standards could undermine the regional diversity of our schools. This bill in fact moves us backward as a commonwealth by emphasizing the use of “traditional academic success factors” including standardized tests. Nationally there is a growing recognition that traditional standardized tests are in fact poor measures of academic promise, poor measures of future success, and culturally biased. Top universities including Harvard and Stanford are waiving or making optional traditional standardized test requirements for applicants in order to improve their own admissions processes. Yet this bill doubles down on such old approaches. At MLWGS, when standardized tests were omitted from the admissions process in 2021 because of COVID, we saw a tripling in the percentage of Black students (from 4% to 12%) accepted to the school, the average GPA went up, and the incoming class was very strong. Lastly, this bill is overly broad in its definitions, and it potentially prevents reasonable perfectly legal strategies already in use and being explored by localities to promote regional diversity. This bill is not necessary.

Last Name: Mitchell Locality: Williamsburg

I would like for everyone to have a better future while at school if you please

Last Name: Dearman Locality: Fairfax

I support HB127. I am a parent in Fairfax County. My children have all attended public schools and I am a huge proponent of them. For context, they did not attend TJ or any other Governor’s school. I was shocked and disturbed when the merit-based admissions policies for these schools were abolished. While I wholeheartedly agree that efforts need to be made to increase certain student populations in these schools, starting with the number one school in the country, and making it not about merit and hard work, but instead about race, is just wrong. Think about what that is teaching our children. Efforts need to be made starting in kindergarten, not in 9th grade, to better prepare students for these schools and programs. For these reasons, I support HB127.

Last Name: Liu Locality: Oakton

Please support HB127 by keeping the merit based admission policies for all governor schools

Last Name: Lobato Locality: Great Falls

I support HB127. I support merit based admission.

Last Name: Bhatt Locality: Fairfax county, Herndon, Fairfax

I fully support HB127 as it is the right thing to do. Merit based admission for special Governor school like Thomas Jefferson (TJ) has proven to be very successful. Proxy discrimination must not be allowed in any manner. As a tax payer in Fairfax county, it is my right to provide my feedback and comments when I see wrongdoing or waste, abuse, or plain and simple lack of common sense. Year after year, the academic achievements of students in US has been a sad fact despite being such a great country in so many things. These children are our as well as future of the world. Please don’t force quota and reservation system based on discriminatory factors. I’ll give you one example of a student who had immigrated and was working as a waiter in his parents restaurant while going to school. My conversations with him had confirmed that he had great aspirations and truly today, he is an “Oral & MaxilloFacial Surgeon”. He worked hard to achieve his dream despite everything and if there was a quota system, he probably would have not been able to fulfill his dream. So, my humble appeal to you all, “Please, please, pass this bill.” I do not have children going to school anymore but I have seen students from TJ do exceptionally well. I have first hand seen and experienced the negatives of quota systems based on discriminatory factors.

Last Name: Sullivan Organization: Parents Defending Education Locality: Arlington

I support house bill 127. I support merit in education. Thank you

Last Name: Fallon Locality: Fairfax

I am a Fairfax, VA business owner, taxpayer and public school parent. I strongly support HR127. I strongly support merit-based admission. Hard work and dedication should be rewarded. All student applicants should be reviewed as race-blind. All students should be evaluated based on the same criteria. It is not fair to give some students extra points or consideration for “experience factors” that are not available to all. A student’s proven skill and aptitude for their intended focus of study should be determined in as objective way as possible. Please respect merit-based evaluation of our students.

Last Name: Reddy Locality: Herndon

Please say YES to HB127. This bill sets the stage for race blind society we all cherish and hope for. Otherwise, listen to the voices of division and hatred raising alarm bells in sane minds. Those ugly voices will motivate you to say YES to this bill. Those are the voices calling for injustice in the name of justice. Those are the voices from the people who utterly failed to raise the children to their fullest potential from early age but wants to cover up their failures. Those are the voices of criminals who left many children behind but want to hurl few “fallen behind” children to the finish line to show they did something good. In the process they are perpetrating injustice to many. Stop them using race for political gains. Say YES to no-discrimination and equal protection. Thank you.

Last Name: Richard powers Locality: 101 Marcy Portsmouth

Education is the most important link in keeping American traditional values ​​from being infiltrated and changed by leftist Marxist socialism. It is also related to the trajectory of the future development of the United States. Parents must have the power to choose to supervise the school

Last Name: Verma Locality: Fairfax County, McLean

Please pass HB 127 and support hard work and merit of Virginia students.

Last Name: Dachee powers Locality: Portsmouth people

Education is the most important link in keeping American traditional values ​​from being infiltrated and changed by leftist Marxist socialism. It is also related to the trajectory of the future development of the United States. Parents must have the power to choose to supervise the school

Last Name: Bisht Locality: Loudoun

Kids should be encouraged to value the hard work. I support HB127

Last Name: Yang Locality: Fairfax

Please pass HB127 to foster hardwork and merits. We can not afford to make future generations lazy and dum.

Last Name: Sundaram Locality: Centreville, Fairfax

I support HB127 and the merit policies being in place for school admissions.

End of Comments