Sen. Hunter Andrews (D-Hampton), the very proper Senate majority leader, was shocked when he uncovered what he thought was a hidden meaning in a proposed revision of the state's Standards of Quality for education.
"What does this mean?" bellowed Andrews during a Senate Education subcommittee meeting, reading aloud: Policies "shall be developed through a process which gives consideration to the views of teachers, parents and other concerned citizens: A system of two-way communication between employes and the local school board and its administrative staff . . . . "
"Don't worry," advised committee legal counsel Norma E. Szakal, "it doesn't mean collective bargaining."
Well, Andrews demanded, where did it come from?
All eyes shifted across the room to representatives of the Virginia Education Association, the teachers' lobby.
"Not I," said Suzanne Dandridge Kelly, the group's director of negotiations and organizing.
"We know what you're aiming at," Andrews said.
"It's not what you think," Kelly replied, smiling.
State Superintendent of Schools S. John Davis then questioned Ned Carr, lobbyist for the Virginia School Boards Association, recalling that his organization recommended the language.
It was merely a clarification of existing wording designed to permit discussions between school employes and school boards, said Carr.
Chairman Elmon T. Gray (D-Sussex) adjourned the meeting with the admonition that before the next meeting, Davis "clear up the intent" of that language, and another section that Andrews said gave the impression of weakened standards.