T.C. scorecard misses the grade

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To the editor:

Last week the Virginia Department of Education issued the results of standardized test scores and declared Alexandria’s T.C. Williams High School one of just a handful of schools in the nation that are “persistently Lowest-achievement.”

The “PLA” label, like labels in general, fails to tell the whole story about T.C. Williams. My son is a junior there, and I volunteer once a week in the College and Career Planning Office. Neither my son nor I experience T.C. as a school that fails to achieve, despite the overall low performance of many students on the Standards of Learning tests.

My son adores his teachers. He is often exhausted, but never disheartened, by the workload and ever-increasing complexity of the material. I am thrilled to be a Titan mommy.

I help seniors with their college admissions and scholarship essays. One student, who was homeless until recently, wrote an excellent essay about one of his teachers who cheerfully did his laundry and got him a winter coat.

T.C. has its share of salary-sucking teachers and staff who fail to make any difference in the lives of the many under-performing kids who come from very poor families. I hope Superintendent Morton Sherman will clean house soon. But T.C. is also packed with heroes, and I wish there were some way the Virginia Department of Education could measure the size of T.C.’s gigantic beating heart.

Karen Schwarz
Alexandria

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