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Epstein & Center: Key players in successful FAIRGRADE vote

Announced on: Wednesday, October 12, 2011

 FAIRGRADE emails demonstrate Louise Epstein and Brad Center

provided essential leadership to gather School Board votes.


Email summaries below demonstrate that FAIRGRADE co-founder Louise Epstein and School Board member Brad Center (Lee District) provided essential leadership to round up the votes to pass the motion that changed FCPS grading policies.  Strauss did not lead this effort, nor did she agree to support the crucial motion until one day before the final School Board vote on January 22, 2009.


The complete emails documenting this process are attached in a separate PDF file.  Go to the NEWS & PRESS category on the FAIRGRADE Homepage and click on USEFUL DOWNLOADS. 


For a detailed analysis of Strauss' misstatements during a September 27, 2011 public debate at McLean High School that she led the effort on the School Board to support FAIRGRADE, as well as the complete emails, see 



Here is a detailed timeline and summary of each email:




EMAIL 1:  Date:  1.13.09 at 10:55:24pm - Louise Epstein summarizes her dinner meeting with Brad Center for the FAIRGRADE team.   Epstein writes that Center stated Janie never believed anything was wrong with FCPS grading policies and she is finally coming on board for political reasons.  


EMAIL 2:  Date:  1.14.09 at 8:01pm - Center informs Epstein that he will shop options and scenarios around to certain School Board members. 


EMAIL 3:  Date:  1.14.09 at 8:06 pm - Center advises FAIRGRADE to focus just on grading scale charts as the next step towards getting support for the motion.


EMAIL 4:  Date:  1.15.09 at 06.55:16 pm  - Center clarifies his level of support for grading scale options, in response to Epstein’s question.


EMAIL 5:  Date:  1.15.09 at 10:41:42 pm  - Center sends his personal email address to Louise Epstein.


EMAIL 6:  Date:  1.16:09 at 14:37:04 pm - Center tells Louise to call him the next day and provides his home telephone number. 


EMAIL 7:  Date:  1.16.09 at 18:04:14 pm - Center asks Epstein for the FAIRGRADE 10-point scale.  Says he'll talk to Phil Neidzelski-Eichner, Dan Storck, Ilryong Moon, Kaye Kory and Liz Bradsher.  He does not mention Jane Strauss. 


EMAIL 8:  Date:  1.16.09 at 18:07:17 - Louise Epstein sends the FAIRGRADE team a summary of her phone conversation with Center.  In this call, Center advised FAIRGRADE not to talk to Jane Strauss, Stu Gibson, Tessie Wilson or Kathy Smith. 


EMAIL 9:  Date:  1.16.09 at 18:43:47 pm - Center thanks Louise for providing info on FAIRGRADE positions. 


EMAIL 10:  Date:  1.16.09 at 18:45:50 pm - Center informs Louise that his personal email account is subject to FOIA and says "don't put anything you don't want to see in Washington Post." 


EMAIL 11:  Date:  1.16.09 at 21:02:57 pm - Megan McLaughlin sends FAIRGRADE a summary of her phone conversation with Center.  In this call, Center reiterated his concerns to Megan about Jane Strauss. 


EMAIL 12:  Date:  1.17.09 at 13:04:04 pm - Center informs Louise that Liz Bradsher emailed him info about D bracket.


EMAIL 13:  Date:  1.17.09 at 14:54:46 pm - Center informs Louise he wants to secure commitments for a 10-point scale, and doesn't want to get into debates about A+ or F ranges. 


EMAIL 14:  Date:  1.17.09 at 19:42:25 pm - Center informs Louise that Tina Hone's father just died and she may not make the final vote. 


EMAIL 15: Date:  1.18.10 at 1:26:16pm - Louise Epstein sends an email to FAIRGRADE team summarizing her phone call with Brad Center, where Brad stated that on the grading scale issue, FAIRGRADE could not count on Janie or Jim Raney but they both might ultimately vote for it.


EMAIL 16:  Date:  1.18.09 at 6:51pm  - Center informs Louise he is working with Dan Storck on a motion and says Ilyrong Moon is missing in action. 


EMAIL 17:  Date:  1.18.09 at 20:36:14 pm - Center says Moon is in agreement. 


EMAIL 18:  Date:  1.18.09 at 21:26:03 pm - Center asks FAIRGRADE to call School Board member Kaye Kory and states Dan Storck will make the main motion specifying a 10 point system with pluses and minuses. 


EMAIL 19:  Date:  1.19.09 at 15.24:08 pm - Center describes which School Board members are on board with the FAIRGRADE motion.  Says in bullet 3 he does not know either way if Janie is supportive of the motion or not. 


EMAIL 20:  Date:  1.19.09 at 7:34:12 pm - Louise Epstein sends an email to FAIRGRADE team summarizing phone conversation with Brad.  Email states that Ilryong Moon called Brad to say he would support the tweaked motion but that he wanted Janie to make the motion so she could get the credit.  


EMAIL 21:  Date:  1.21.09 at 9:28am After days of emails and phone calls between Center and Epstein on the whip count and motion, Center informs Louise Epstein that Jane Strauss will propose the amendment changes on the night of the vote. 





EMAIL 22:   9.9.08 AT 10:53PM – FAIRGRADE co-founder Sara Pacque-Margolis expresses frustration about Jane Struass’ lack of involvement in the issue. “I am on a singular mission within Dranesville for citizens to go on the offensive with Janie Strauss.  She’s sugar and spice and making me ill - ... has Janie Strauss ever attended a FAIRGRADE presentation?  I don’t think she has.” 


EMAIL 23:  9.16.08 at 9:12:02am -  WUSA Channel 9 Reporter Peggy Fox is asked by FAIRGRADE to confirm if Strauss mentioned in a recent TV interview if she supported FAIRGRADE.  Fox replies:  “Jane said she is ‘not opposed’ to changing the grading policy.  Not the same thing as saying she ‘supports.’”


EMAIL 23:  9.16.08 at 9:14:38am -  WUSA Channel 9 Reporter Peggy Fox also  states:  “She and the other board members I spoke to, Jim Raney and Daniel Storck, said they wanted to wait for their own staff study before making decisions.”


EMAIL  24:  10.17.08 at 9:07pm – FAIRGRADE’s Director of Communications Catherine Lorenze sends an email to a Langley HS PTSA member thanking the LHS community for their support at a FAIRGRADE presentation and states, “I found it very interesting that in her remarks to Langley parents last night, Janie Strauss failed to mention where she personally stands on the issue.  She had the perfect opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership on behalf of her constituents – tell us all where she stands – and she did not do so.”