Educational Editorial: Petersburg schools dilemma

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – On Monday the Petersburg School Board voted unanimously to select Cambridge Education to provide an "independent" program that is focused on improving student achievement at the middle school level.

This is a major step for the superintendent, the School Board and the young people of Petersburg.

The decision brings both praise and potential problems. While the question still remains, "why did it take so long?," the reality is that the Board has acted and a vendor has been selected.

We must also remember that we find ourselves at this point because the Virginia Board of Education was left with no options to address the persistently failing Petersburg schools.  The victims are the young people who have now moved through the middle and high schools since this "standoff" started.

Now for the potential problems, the superintendent was quoted in the Richmond Times Dispatch regarding the company selected,  "They already recognize that we're doing some very good things…"

He said, "That was one of the selling points for us. We thought it was critical for them to recognize that we're already doing some good work."

On the Cambridge Education website the British company lists testimonials from some of the schools in the 22 states in which they have worked. The first is from a principal in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, "… I found the feedback helpful in validating the good things we have in place, and it gave us areas to focus on for improvement."

It seems that Petersburg has been asking the state to acknowledge that they are doing well and don't need help. They may have found someone to validate them.

I think that I have been going to the wrong doctors…I going to look for one who thinks that my weight is just fine…and, of course, charge me for the diagnosis.

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