The Loudoun County NAACP applauds the recent effort by the Loudoun County Public Schools Administration and Dr. Eric Williams to include a personnel specialist, Diversity Recruitment and Consulting Services relating to creating a more diverse workforce in the LCPS budget. As many are aware, The Loudoun County NAACP has for many years repeatedly brought the issue of workforce diversity to the attention of LCPS. We believe our recent efforts, along with those of MSAAC and individuals both inside and outside LCPS have helped to move this process forward with regard to addressing the glaring disparity between the diversity in the teacher population and the diversity of the student population in Loudoun County.
However, the Loudoun County NAACP does not believe that funding a single position and providing diversity training is enough to substantively address this critical issue. The Loudoun County NAACP wants to be clear in stating that unless there is more diversity training and accountability, both from an individual and collective basis, on the individual school principals who have the greatest and in most cases the ultimate authority with regard to hiring decisions for teachers at their school; then the proposed efforts will still fall short of the desired goal of increasing diversity among the LCPS teacher workforce.
The Loudoun County NAACP believes that any attempt to mask this issue as student achievement is a complete misnomer. The issue here is an employment issue, not one of student achievement. Although the LCPS has claimed that their hiring efforts have resulted in the hiring of the best possible candidates, the Loudoun County NAACP has made numerous lawful requests for data from the LCPS to support this statement. To date, the LCPS has been unable or unwilling to provide that data. As we sit today, the Loudoun County NAACP believes that the LCPS’ current data could support a prima facia determination of possible employment discrimination. The Loudoun County NAACP believes that the only way to truly determine if systematic or historical bias has played a role in the LCPS’ lack of diversity is to have an outside agency such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or U.S. Department of Justice to come in and conduct an investigation into LCPS’ hiring practices.
Ultimately, the best and least costly way for LCPS to address this matter would be to admit its deficiencies, stop trying to color the issue as one of student achievement or pit the test scores of one racial minority against the other and to work with the community, community organizations and its own organization MSAAC, which has the expertise and knowledge to help LCPS successfully address this challenge. We also recommend that LCPS look at other large school systems in the area and see how they address diversity issue from a policy and staffing standpoint.
Insanity has been defined by some as doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. The taxpayers of Loudoun County pay for a first-class school system that complies with the law; educates our kids and does not discriminate against any group of people. The only way to ensure all three of these goals are met is by hiring good people and making them accountable for their results. The Loudoun County NAACP will continue to work to make sure accountability is shared across the board on this and other issues relating to all employees and all students of LCPS.
Phillip E. Thompson, President
Loudoun County NAACP