The Washington Post

Improve learning conditions


In her March 9 op-ed, “For a snapshot of the culture wars, watch a school board meeting,” Christine Emba wrote about how public comment at a Loudoun County School Board meeting showcases the multifacet­ed concerns of constituen­ts about conditions at our schools. As a 15-year Loudoun resident, Loudoun County Public Schools science teacher, Loudoun Education Associatio­n vice president and parent of three LCPS-EDUcated children, I’ve attended many of these meetings and wished that those of us working so hard for students inside the classroom could bring our firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing LCPS and our students to help craft solutions.

Though most people think of collective bargaining as dealing with salary and compensati­on, it also applies to working conditions. Teacher working conditions are student learning conditions. Smaller class sizes, less standardiz­ed testing and even protected planning time are things that educators want for the students as much as for themselves. Providing a comprehens­ive collective bargaining resolution that gives educators a real voice in policymaki­ng gives the people who have the most Facetime with students a chance to advocate for them and their needs — needs that are communicat­ed directly to them by parents, guidance counselors and education specialist­s.

Though collective bargaining won’t stop the culture war evident at school board meetings, it is a step we can take to help improve our schools, and that’s a start. Educators know students. We know their names, we know their needs and we will fight for them. Help us advance our schools by supporting collective bargaining movements across the state. Heather Binkley, Leesburg

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