1. Everyone in Virginia, not just in Norfolk, needs to let their representatives in the General Assembly know that the Commonwealth is endangering its future by neglecting its duty to support public education. According to the Commonwealth Institute, the state’s financial contribution per pupil has decreased 17% since 2009, from $5687 to $4739 per year.
2. Norfolk citizens must demand greater accountability from their school leaders, both the administration and School Board. The needs of NPS are great, but in recent months our schools’ leaders have been embarrassingly ineffective in communicating their plans for improvement, carrying through well-considered reform, and demonstrating that they are responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. Norfolk GAINS would like to see NPS engage in a thorough program analysis (What works? What doesn’t? Is NPS using its funds in the most effective way?), as well as in effective strategic planning that outlines short- and long-range goals and objectives that are specifically tied to student outcomes.
3. Perhaps most importantly, we need greater support for teachers. This includes professional development, leadership opportunities, and more competitive compensation, particularly in hard-to-staff schools.