A while back, my edu-colleague Chad Ratliff asked me if I was interested in joining him in an effort to create a space for “independent” reporting and commentary on educational policy issues in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was a terrific idea, and soon the Virginia Education Report was born. We had lots of grand plans for VER, including working with eager interns from UVA and/or VCU to create a go-to, one-stop-shop for education news and analysis for the Commonwealth. We got off to a flying start, but, eventually, the realities of our “real,” full-time jobs kicked in. The space sat inactive for almost a year.
I’m happy to announce, though, that we are bringing VER back to life. We’ve given it a new look and some new (semi-automated) functionality. Right now, the main parts of the site are The Homeroom and The Lounge.
In our Homeroom section we publish syndicated news and analysis about school politics, policy, and research. These articles are mostly syndicated from select newspapers around the Commonwealth. Currently, there are 8 or 9 feeds populating that space, and those feeds cover a decent part of the Commonwealth. There are, however, significant parts of Virginia that are not yet included, especially Fairfax County. As we discover more feeds, we’ll add them.
The Faculty Lounge is our opinion and commentary section, and—like the op-ed section of a newspaper—is editorially separate from our news section. Here we’ll showcase the informed perspectives of leaders, teachers, parents, students, and other public school stakeholders. We aim to publish pieces that offer nuanced and personal insights into issues facing schools, teachers, families, and education policy.
To those sections, we have plans to add a page that syndicates feeds from blogs of Virginia-based educators. That will take some time to build, and we’ll need a clever name. Perhaps “The Auditorium?” “The Media Center?”
Also, we’ve added the great Rachel Levy to the VER team. She will help develop VER and will contribute semi-regularly to The Lounge.
If you have ideas and/or you want to contribute in some way to VER, please contact us through the site.