Goodspeed: Unifying Principles-Equality and Opportunity

By Scott Goodspeed, Leesburg

Recently, I was asked to consider serving on LCPS’s equity committee. The committee’s representatives provided background information and reading materials to catch me up on the committee’s progress. It was very informative. Unfortunately, it was clear there is little room here for diverse opinions and perspectives because the committee has already chosen a partisan, progressive path and policy prescription. In doing so, it fails to embrace true diversity and encourage freedom of thought to help LCPS arrive at sensible solutions for our county and the students we should be serving. I will not be joining this committee. 

In the initial welcome letter, the committee said, “The diversity of the group allows us to focus on the common goals of ensuring equitable outcomes.” This was the first red flag. Not everyone thinks that equity and outcome constitute the wisest approach. Many parents and people of goodwill believe equality and opportunity are the right, unifying principles that should be taught to our children to prepare and equip them to live in a world that does not guarantee equitable outcomes. Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, says, “Equity means treating Americans unequally to ensure that outcomes are equalized—the old tried (and failed) Marxian standard.” I don’t agree with everything that comes out of the Heritage Foundation, but I believe he’s right in this instance. Much ink has been spilled warning local, state, and national government officials against adopting a Marxist approach toward public policy in education that seeks to force a biased outcome. It would have been wise to heed that advice. Instead, LCPS has chosen to adopt an extreme equity and outcomes agenda based on Marxist values and not Main Street values. 

Embracing diverse opinions from LCPS parents and citizens would have greatly informed LCPS’s policy goal to improve how administrators pursue increased equality and opportunity for students in Loudoun County. Many LCPS parents do not think that dictating outcomes increases opportunities in fair and just ways. For example, LCPS has adopted dictating enrollment outcomes as a strategic goal in its LCPS Gifted Program. Every year, LCPS seeks to increase enrollment in the EDGE, Propel, and Level-Up programs by 10% and expand access to schools with the highest enrollment of so-called underrepresented groups in the LCPS Gifted Program; you seek to increase enrollment in gifted programs that do not limit any student from joining based on race. Currently, in the Academies of Loudoun, you report 47% Asian, 35% White, 20% Hispanic, and 5% Black students. These students should not be identified by race. Their exceptional talent should identify them. Making the goal to affect that statistic is precisely the kind of wrongheaded approach the voters in Loudoun County are growing tired of. How far is LCPS willing to go to impact statistics based solely on students’ racial makeups? Is LCPS ready to lower the standards and undermine grading practices to achieve the “outcome” they seek? 

We can all agree that we need to protect against all forms of prejudice, but equality and opportunity should be our goal. We’re not strangers to discrimination in our home because we happen to be White Americans living in Loudoun County. I’m Catholic, and during the founding of this country, Catholics were not allowed to hold elected office, vote, or serve as lawyers. As an Air Force ROTC student at the University of Oklahoma, I was spat on while walking in my uniform past an anti- war rally on our campus. My commander taught me the wisdom of walking away when I wanted to do the opposite. I’m raising two daughters whom I expect will experience discrimination and sexism in the workplace, but I’m teaching them not to adopt a victim mindset. Instead, I’m teaching them to adopt a warrior mindset to fight discrimination and never allow themselves to be defined by how people mistreat them. My wife and I are raising a child with special needs attending LCPS. We fight for resources for him and those like him who need therapy and care but were historically institutionalized and disenfranchised in this country. The outstanding administrators and teachers at Kenneth Culbert Elementary and throughout LCPS deserve a shoutout for their excellent work with special needs children, from our experience—when our schools are open. 

I’m not about to call for some “Kumbaya” moment where Democrats and Republicans come together. The current national leadership of both parties appears committed to doing nothing in that regard. However, more needs to be done at the state and local levels to break the cycle of political violence that reigns in our republic. We’ve got to stop the broad pendulum shifts that occur when one party gains power, seeks no meaningful consensus with their opposition counterparts, and then rams through an agenda that appeals to their special-interest handlers. We need leadership to stake out a position and work with the other side to reach consensus, with both walking away having compromised but gaining something meaningful in the collaboration process. It’s our only way back from the edge of this cliff. LCPS and its leadership are doing precisely the opposite. They seek no meaningful input from alternative perspectives on equity, equality, outcomes, and opportunities. Their only goal is submission to their equity and outcomes agenda. 

Discrimination exists everywhere humans do, in all forms. We cannot and should not lie to our children by telling them that we can reliably force equitable outcomes for them. We should instead combat prejudice in all its forms with our current laws while increasing our focus on the unifying principles of equality and opportunity for all students, regardless of their skin color. Leveling the playing field so children have equal opportunity is the wisest approach to ensuring our children enjoy security, liberty, and prosperity in Loudoun County, Virginia, and America. 

8 thoughts on “Goodspeed: Unifying Principles-Equality and Opportunity

  • 2021-02-05 at 3:18 pm

    EQUITY would be to give the students who live in the Plaza Street area (right next to the band new F. Douglas E.S.) the same right EVERY other part of Loudoun demands. Let the kids go to the school they can walk to! I understand the idea of fighting for a preference in hiring at LCPS as I heard those arguments for the 8 years I was on the board. I understand the idea of adjusting testing times and other less than competition building accommodations but over the 8 years I was on the school board nobody ever shared how such techniques could make up for a lack of parental support, lack of language support at home, economic disadvantage, cultural impediments and other issues LCPS could never control. How about the bureaucrats who sit on the school board stop talking about sweet nothings and stop discriminating against these downtown Leesburg kids. ACTION speaks louder than EMPTY words. 🙂

  • 2021-02-07 at 1:41 pm

    Mr. Goodspeed,

    After reading this I was moved to say thank you. Thank you for not accepting the position. It’s clear from your nonsensical ravings about Marxism and victim mentalities that you do not understand the fundamental issues surrounding equity work. Equating the the plight of White Catholics with the systemic racism that face minorities across our country to this day is utterly ridiculous on its face. Next you’re going to give us a stirring patriotic speech about the American dream and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. I encourage you to explore the perspectives of Black thinkers and activists. Take in their experiences, think critically about the beliefs you hold, and the bigotry you’re fed by right wing think tanks. I’m not asking you to embrace radically progressive ideals, just recognize that the platform you’re proselytizing from is built on privilege. Let that realization inform your perspective.

    • 2021-02-08 at 12:00 pm

      paleappalusian, I’ll reverse the ask and encourage you to explore the demonstrable systemic racism that does exist in this country. Go to any college or university in the US and search their scholarships. You won’t find one for straight white males or any combination thereof, but you will find many for females, people of color, LGBTQI folks, and any combination thereof. Yale openly discriminates against Asians and white people, as affirmed just last week by our Supreme Court. Systemic racism is approved at the highest levels. There is open and well publicized discrimination (called ‘preference’ in the language of obfuscation) in the awarding of government contracts to women owned companies and companies owned by people of color. You won’t find ANY mention of ‘preference’ given to white owned or male owned companies. Again, SYSTEMIC, provable racism. I’m not asking you to embrace the ideal of judging people based on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin (as a wise man once suggested), just recognize that the platform you’re proselytizing from is built on a racist victim mentality. Let that realization inform your perspective.

  • 2021-02-08 at 6:16 pm

    Scott –

    In this cancel-culture world, it is truly sad to watch Loudoun dissolve and become like Fairfax County (a sanctuary of stupid.) Those with conservative beliefs and morality are quickly being brushed to the side by those that wish to destroy the America we have known and loved. They stomp, pout, and chant ‘racist’ at anything that does not equate to their views, and they have a constant media-feed that only brainwashes them further down into their abyss. I am proud of you for not joining the board, as they would have found a way to destroy you (your family, your job, your relationships) and any others that did not believe/say/act as they do. It is the very form of prejudice they scream about, and then can’t see how the disease is their own. You have saved yourself a lot of aggravation, and while it is sad to not have TRUE DIVERSITY of thought on the board (progressives always seem to forget about that one), just walk away knowing that it must get worse before it gets better. And while saying “I told you so” might feel good eventually (when they wake up from their trance), proud folks like you and me will be waiting on the sideline to help bring Loudoun back from it’s cesspool status. You can’t fix stupid at this point.

  • 2021-02-09 at 6:41 am

    You are correct we need unity and so far President Biden has not shown us any unity. What happened to the days when both parties would work together? I am tired of the I am right you are wrong mentality. Our elected officials no longer want what is best for their constituents, they werk to push their own agenda. What happened to negotiating for the win win. Our elected officials need to understand the importance of everyone getting something and everyone giving something up at the same time.

  • 2021-02-09 at 11:50 am

    “Equitable outcomes” lead to lower standards for all. The best you can shoot for are “equitable opportunities.” But even that is impossible. Why do some people thrive and others fail under the same conditions? Just look at families with multiple children — they all have the same parents but respond in wildly different ways to their upbringing. I’m pulling my last child from the LCPS system. The handwriting is on the wall. If you want your children to be prepared for the pain that is coming to our nation under the current BidenHarris job-killing administration, then you’d better be raising tough, hardworking, resourceful kids who will be able to think for themselves and provide value for an employer. That’s NOT what they’ll be learning if “equitable outcomes” are the goal.

  • 2021-02-12 at 1:18 pm

    Great letter. Although I would have preferred you join and speak truth to the stupidity that is LCPS, I understand your reasoning.

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