Free Press SOL article 'does a tremendous disservice' to RPS students
Letters to the Editor
8/30/2019, 6 a.m.
Re “Down again: Student achievement drops again for Richmond Public Schools, according to 2018-19 SOL test results,” Free Press Aug.15-17 edition:
The article published in the Free Press will likely lead many readers to believe that Richmond Public Schools’ Standards of Learning test scores decreased across the board last year. This simply isn’t true. RPS saw gains in three of the five SOL tests.
As Richmond School Board members, we are intimately aware of the challenges that RPS faces and we are the first to acknowledge that the division has a long way to go to ensure that all students are prepared for college, career or military service after graduating from RPS.
But this article fails to acknowledge the small but important strides that the district is making, and even more importantly, it continues to perpetuate a failure narrative. That does a tremendous disservice to our amazing students, staff and families.
We are all aware of the history of failure at RPS. Let’s start talking about what is improving, even if in small measures.
Here are the facts:
RPS scores increased in math, science and writing, and decreased in reading and history/social science.
Compared to Chesterfield County Public Schools and Henrico County Public Schools, RPS was the only one to see gains in three subject areas.
We are not celebrating the results of the SOL tests, nor are we satisfied with them. They are evidence of years of inequity and underfunding, and we know there is much more work to be done. However, it’s important that we acknowledge when gains are made — big and small — because these are the gains of our students. To misrepresent the facts means that we are misrepresenting our students and their achievements.
It is our hope that the media is fair in their reporting, especially as it relates to the students of Richmond Public Schools.
8th District representative and chairwoman, Richmond School Board
7th District representative, Richmond School Board