Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) has created a policy that fails to hold students accountable for late or missing work and promotes inconsistency by allowing for site-based grading practices. Teachers are now being discouraged from assigning zeros to students who turn in incomplete work or who turn nothing in at all. In addition, in some schools teachers cannot award a grade below a 50 regardless how poor the quality of the student work may be. Multiple test retakes are also being encouraged. These practices put students throughout the district on an un-level playing field, reinforcing the perception that deadlines do not matter. Such approaches are failing students because they will be ill-prepared to meet the far more stringent accountability standards in place in college, the military and the workforce. Therefore, such policies must be changed.
Recent VBCPS surveys reveal that teachers are dealing with an increasing number of student discipline problems. A safe and disciplined learning environment must be the highest priority of VBCPS and teachers need to be given the authority to enforce discipline in their classrooms. They also deserve more support from administration in resolving discipline problems.
Taxpayer dollars must be spent wisely and should be focused on the proper priorities such as lowering class size and improving teacher workload. Overhead administrative and facilities/building costs must be reduced.
School Board Reform
VB SPARK will review the School Board's bylaws and standing rules that govern the conduct of public meetings. We will offer reforms resulting in improved processes that make public engagement easier and offer citizens a valued and respected seat at the school board decision making process. Key to such reforms are our the citizen of Virginia Beach’s right to speak on each School Board agenda item at the time it is being discussed during the meeting. Also critical for facilitating meaningful civic engagement is ensuring the School Board and City Council conduct our public meetings on different days. Beach residents should not have to choose between speaking to our representatives at our City Council meetings or speaking to our representatives at our School Board meetings.