To the editor:
In his column in the March 2 Alexandria Times, former Alexandria City Public Schools teacher and School Board member Mark Eaton argues that Governor Glenn Youngkin is “using a hammer to swat a fly” by supporting a bill to require public schools to notify students when they receive academic awards.
The particular awards in question are National Merit awards, and the issue has arisen because some parents have complained that some Fairfax County schools did fail to notify. Eaton says that we should not believe, as do advocates of the bill, that a woke, equity agenda is behind the failure.
In particular, he says, the complaint by some Asian parents that the failure was an effort “to make non Asian-American students feel better ‘strains credulity,’” although he fails to mention that the main offender was Thomas Jefferson High School, where a great many Asian-Americans are winners of the award.
Rather, Eaton says the failure is likely “an embarrassing oversight,” an “inadvertent omission,” and understandable given all that administrators have on their plate, and one should not rush to a “nefarious” motive when there is this simpler explanation.
I suggest that this “simple” explanation does not pass the smell test. In fact our schools, which appear to have healthy public relations departments, have generally not only notified students but have trumpeted academic successes like this to the world. The number of National Merit awards has been especially valued, and names of winners are published in various newspapers and online.
No, something has gone very wrong here, and the governor is right to try to use the law to put a stop to it before it goes any further.
-Sandra Levy, Alexandria