Letter to the Editor: Spending more money will not fix schools


Reading the commentary by the president of PASS in the Sept. 24 Northern Virginia Daily, I find this: “Parents should not view the upcoming elections for Board of Supervisors and School Board as six discrete contests, each between two or more candidates. These elections represent a clash between two competing views for the future of our county: one which is angry, defensive and backward-looking, and one which is expansive and forward-looking, and which invests in our kids. The outcome of that struggle will have far-reaching consequences for our kids and our county.”

My! Is it “backward-looking” to expect our educational system to teach our children basic skills that they will need to live lives of quality? Is it “backward-looking” to expect our graduates to be able to write a basic essay? Is it “backward-looking” to expect every native-speaking child to be able to read on or above grade level? Is it “backward-looking” to expect our graduates to be able to read and write cursive, to know the multiplication tables? Is it “backward-looking” to expect our educational system to make sure that our graduates have the soft skills necessary to enter the work force? Is it “backward-looking” to expect our School board to stop kicking the can down the road and, instead, to get on with solving an issue before it becomes critical? Is it “backward-looking” to reject excuses and to expect positive results?

I suggest that just spending more money will not fix our flawed educational system. It is, in my mind, throwing good money after bad. It is not “backward-looking” to question the value of our present educational product. However, until we have elected officials who are willing to ask probing questions and not seek the path of least resistance, our children will pay the price, along with our county. I disagree that our schools are still “pretty good” as the writer claims because of monies spent in the past. In my mind, our system of education lacks, but I hope that we can come together to elect officials who will do the hard work necessary to make it better.

Roger Barbee, Edinburg
Editor’s note: Roger Barbee is a Shenandoah County School Board candidate.