Croll: A Busy Loudouner’s Education on … Loudoun Education

By Chris Croll

There has been a lot of noise in our community these past few months about public education. The volume of that noise has been amplified by the national news media who reward the loudest screamers with appearances on prime-time TV. So, why the kerfuffle, and what is really going on in our schools?

Spoiler alert—the issues actually have nothing to do with education, your kids, or our schools. These “campaigns of outrage” are orchestrated political moves to instill fear in parents in the hopes people will “vote for change” this November. This effort is ultimately an attempt to shift Loudoun from voting blue (Democratic) back to red (Republican). 

Fortunately, most Loudouners are politically savvy and are not easily duped by campaigns based on misinformation. But when you are busy living your life, and you hear these messages over and over again on local and national news, it is sometimes hard to differentiate fact from fiction.

As a political independent, and former School Board member, here is my take on what is really going on.

When you hear people say, “Get Critical Race Theory (CRT) out of our schools,” you are hearing an attempt to discredit the legitimate work LCPS, and other school divisions are doing to create less hostile, more inclusive academic environments for students of color. Some politicians are trying to turn “equity” into a dirty word synonymous with White oppression. This is simply not the case. Equity, as it relates to public education, is about giving all students opportunities to be successful in their academic careers.

I served on the first LCPS Equity Committee. I also personally received the foundational elements of the “Equity at The Center” training many of our LCPS teachers receive. I have also had in-depth conversations with the current and former LCPS Superintendents about the equity work the school division is undertaking. I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that CRT is not being mandated, taught, or otherwise applied in any of Loudoun’s public schools. 

When you hear people say, “Recall LCPS School Board members,” you should know that these efforts are being led by political operatives paid by well-funded political action committees. These people want your name, email address, mailing address, and other contact information so they can add you to their constituent database. If you sign a recall petition, expect your mailbox to be overflowing with political ads leading up to the November election. If you give your phone number on a recall sheet, you will likely receive texts and robocalls asking for your money, your vote or both. The School Board recall effort is not about holding elected officials accountable, it is about building a voter database.

When you hear people say, “Test scores are down so LCPS is failing our kids,” know that, because of the pandemic, some test scores are down in Loudoun, and across the country. This has less to do with ineffective teaching or a poorly run school division than it does with the inherent disadvantages of prolonged distance learning. Everyone took a hit from Covid. LCPS has shared plans with the public related to providing additional curricular and mental health supports for the 2021-2022 school year. I would expect any dips in student performance to be corrected in the coming years.

The latest battle cry of the conservative political machinery in our community appears to be, “Everyone is leaving Loudoun because our schools are so bad.” The people spreading this rhetoric hope that voters will panic at the perceived threat of decreasing home values and will vote in support of change candidates. The truth is that many home values in Loudoun have increased in the past two years, and some have experienced double-digit growth. Our public schools are a big part of the appeal of living in Loudoun County.

In summary, LCPS students are getting a world-class education in schools that are more inclusive than they ever have been before, teachers are working hard to fill in any learning gaps resulting from the pandemic, and there are more people who want to live in our community than there are homes to house them. My advice to busy Loudouners? Ignore the noise. Loudoun County is thriving. 

Chris Croll

Chris Croll is a writer, empathy activist and communications consultant. She sits on the Board of the Ryan Bartel Foundation, a youth suicide prevention nonprofit. Croll lives in Leesburg with her husband and two teenage boys.

14 thoughts on “Croll: A Busy Loudouner’s Education on … Loudoun Education

  • 2021-07-16 at 8:52 am

    Wow, this is straight out of the “Big Lie” handbook.

    When reasonable, rational people read garbage like this, they should be offended and outraged. Every week, we get fed a new round of LCPS gaslighting courtesy of their LoudonNow mouthpiece, Miss Croll.

  • 2021-07-16 at 11:52 am

    Croll is not a ‘political independent.’ She is a political opportunist.

    Croll never received a single vote for school board — she was appointed to the seat via the good ole’ boy network at Education Court.

    Croll believes you should consider a persons skin color, first and foremost, when making decisions; a practice defined as racism.

    Croll has threatened legal action against teachers if they use incorrect pro-nouns.

    Now, she is telling people to not believe their eyes, and anyone who thinks differently, is the problem.
    Croll’s writings are increasingly nonsensical. Given the vast diversity of life experiences among the people of Loudoun, surely there are more interesting stories to be told than her condescending leftist drivel.

  • 2021-07-16 at 1:49 pm

    Makes you wonder why they give her a column to spew her hate politely?

  • 2021-07-16 at 3:07 pm

    Please cite your sources to this defamatory statement, I hope Loudoun Now retracts this opinion piece. The inaccuracies are glaringly obvious as well as the lack of fact checking. And for the record, Fight for Schools is about SCHOOLS and accountability of leadership (inconsistencies have always been an issue within LCPS).

    People might not agree on their methods, but they still deserve respect. And it appears to be members of multiple political parties, not just one. I do hope listening to those that do not feel heard will happen, because last year was a demonstration of what locally elected leaders should NOT do. The high LCPS senior administration turnover shows that there are issues that were not addressed and there was a hostile climate that made a mass exodus happen. That wasn’t normal. Last year wasn’t normal. Let’s set aside our differences and start ACCEPTING one another as neighbors instead of judging one another as enemies. I was at the June 22nd school board meeting also.

    — Fake News — (please remove/recant this “article”)
    “When you hear people say, “Recall LCPS School Board members,” you should know that these efforts are being led by political operatives paid by well-funded political action committees. These people want your name, email address, mailing address, and other contact information so they can add you to their constituent database. If you sign a recall petition, expect your mailbox to be overflowing with political ads leading up to the November election. If you give your phone number on a recall sheet, you will likely receive texts and robocalls asking for your money, your vote or both. The School Board recall effort is not about holding elected officials accountable, it is about building a voter database.”

  • 2021-07-16 at 3:30 pm

    “To me, this is the last gasp of the old guard of Republicans in Virginia before they either move to Tennessee or die out or whatever,” said Croll, 50. “It’s almost like the cicadas. The cicadas got louder before they died.” If this is how Croll views her fellow Loudoun residents who happen to disagree with her, then what does it say about her impartiality and integrity in the first place? At least now we know where Loudoun Now stands…and I won’t be standing with them.

  • 2021-07-16 at 4:08 pm

    A citizen suppression piece. This is a new low.

    But, fear not, Loudouners. The recall campaign is going very well. People across the political spectrum are signing the petition, and the petitions will all get their day in court. Several School Board members will be recalled and there will a special election in January to fill their seats. We can then replace them with people that care about children and their education.

  • 2021-07-17 at 9:49 am

    Straight trash. News outlets are Democrat propagandists. Loudoun Now=communism.

  • 2021-07-18 at 7:59 am

    Chris the Marxist pushing out false propaganda…..why weren’t schools open like everywhere in the US? Why is a good teacher being sued for freely speaking his opinion? why were 6 school board members part of a facebook hate group targeting parents? why are students being asked to identify black vs. while in a classroom exercise? why are sexually explicit books being targeted to 8th graders? Why were parents told Marxist CRT was not being taught, but yet we see millions in the budget for teacher training on it…..what the heck t=did school administrators give themselves a bonus, for what? These are the many issues the school administration and board are being challenged with — taxpayers who fund this see wasteful spending, Marxist teaching in the classroom, and a school administration that lies to the people they are supposed to be serving — Chris is the useful idiot trying to right a ship we all know is a sinking dingy….

  • 2021-07-18 at 11:25 am

    I mean, didn’t Loudoun Now put out a story about the Fight for School’s fundraising report the same day? And that story said no one had been paid.

    Also, I have signed two petitions – there is no spot to put your phone number.

    Croll is basically accusing this org of fraud with baseless speculation and not a fact to be seen.

    Cannot believe Loudoun Now would publish this trash piece. It should offer Fight for Schools as much space to respond.

  • 2021-07-19 at 8:55 am

    How can Croll consider herself an “empathy activist” (whatever that is) when she clearly shows no empathy for anyone who disagrees with her? Seriously, she wishes Loudouners who disagree with her to die out or “move to Tennessee.” And they wonder why no one listens to progressives like her…

  • 2021-07-20 at 11:09 am

    Selected-not-elected former Loudoun County School Board member Chris Croll engages in selective amnesia regarding the implosion of a once-great school district. Croll was part of the School Board when the present rot began accelerating. This is a sad CYA maneuver to protect culpable colleagues and whitewash her own role in the collapse of leadership at LCPS.

    Croll’s assertion that the movement in Loudoun against the insane policies coming out of Ashburn is really just partisan posturing is a stunningly brazen assertion. This is a non-partisan movement of very concerned and increasingly angry parents who are tired of a school system abandoning education in favor of indoctrination in the latest fad du jour thinking coming out of the worst fringes of the academic class. Now there’s a concerted effort across Loudoun, from both the school board and the board of supervisors, to lecture parents that we’re not actually seeing what we are, in fact, seeing, in terms of racist “equity” ideology and the push for transgender access at the expense of young women and girls. I’ve seen Atoosa Reeser, Beth Barts, Juli Briskman (supervisor), Mike Turner (supervisor), and now unelected appointee Croll all push this lie in recent weeks. Shame on these failed Loudoun “leaders” who are themselves nothing but political operatives for lying directly to parents and constituents. Shame! Shame!

  • 2021-07-21 at 11:29 am

    “The people are always ahead of the “leaders” on the real issues.”

    Governor L. Douglas Wilder

  • 2021-07-21 at 9:09 pm

    Pure garbage.

    Croll won’t retract this piece but Loudoun Now ought to .

    Her hit piece is FULL of inaccurate accusations and an apology is due.

  • 2021-08-13 at 8:17 am

    Over my 8 years on the Loudoun School Board I heard lots of platitudes spoken out loud while firings, land deals, litigation strategies and other corrective maneuvers operated under the cover of confidential meetings. The open exchange of opinion even if anecdotal is healthy for a community to trust its elected officials. The go-along to get-along attitude is at least as destructive as the official pushing their own agenda. So here are a couple of questions that should be asked:
    If staff is carefully evaluated for performance then why isn’t parental input included in those evaluations? Why would only a handful out of thousands of staff members be let go each year if performance was diligently evaluated especially given there are over 8 times more qualified applicants for every LCPS job opening than are hired? If schools are as safe as claimed then why aren’t all bullying events and complaints reported publicly per school, per month? If efficiency is truly honored as required by state statute 22.1-79 then why aren’t lawyers, architects and consultants put through the competitive bidding process? If EQUITY is truly a priority then why didn’t this author and the other 8 members of the school board stop busing the Plaza Street students out of their neighborhood which just had a brand new school built (Frederick Douglas E.S.) which they could walk to? Loudoun has an excellent school system by comparison to the rest of the USA which could always be better but lately seems to be going the other direction. An honest exchange of open commentary would clarify the real status while reducing community input fosters suspicion especially when the Board of Supervisors has absconded from their role in monitoring how 70% of our property tax dollars are spent. 🙂

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